Thomas Hawke, McMaster University

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Associate Professor Pathology & Molecular Medicine Hamilton, Ontario hawke@mcmaster.ca Office: (905) 525-9140 ext. 22372

Bio/Research

Dr. Hawke’s research focus is on the role and regulation of muscle satellite cells, the stem cell population of skeletal muscle, in health and disease states such as diabetes mellitus and limb girdle muscular dystrophy.

Skeletal muscle has an amazing capacity to regenerate following inju...


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Bio/Research

Dr. Hawke’s research focus is on the role and regulation of muscle satellite cells, the stem cell population of skeletal muscle, in health and disease states such as diabetes mellitus and limb girdle muscular dystrophy.

Skeletal muscle has an amazing capacity to regenerate following injury. The injury may be induced by a number of factors including heavy exercise, trauma or disease. The regenerative capacity of skeletal muscle is due primarily to a rare population of progenitor cells called muscle satellite cells. These cells have many characteristics of stem cells, including the capacity divide numerous times, self-renew their population and enter a state of quiescence when they are not needed.

The potential of this cell population is tremendous, however, the use of these cells for cell transplantation into patients with myopathies has yielded disappointing results. This is mostly due to a lack of knowledge regarding the regulatory mechanisms controlling these cells. It is only through a more thorough understanding of this cell population that their therapeutic potential be realized.

Using molecular, cellular and physiological techniques, we are attempting to define the regulation of this cell population in health and disease.Techniques used in the lab include: histology, immunohistochemistry, protein and RNA expression assays, isolated single fibre and primary myoblast cultures, in situ muscle stimulation to assess contractile function, adenoviral mediated overexpression and/or silencing and metabolic enzyme assays.



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