Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences

Dr. Crystal Weyman

Crystal M. Weyman Professor & Chair
Ph.D., Purdue University
Office Phone: (216) 687-6971
Lab Phone: (216) 523-7556
COSHP Faculty Profile

Research Interests

The design of therapies to combat musculodegenerative diseases depends upon understanding the signaling pathways which control normal muscle development. This task is made tractable through the use of cell lines which can be pharmacologically and genetically manipulated. Myoblast cell lines are empirically induced to differentiate by switching the cells from media supplemented with serum to media without serum. While roughly 70% of these cells differentiate by exiting the cell cycle, expressing muscle specific genes, and fusing into multinucleated myotubes, the remainder go through the process of programmed cell death (apoptosis). Skeletal myoblast differentiation is known to be inhibited by treatment with certain growth factors (FGF-2, IGF-1 and TGFb) or by the expression of oncogenic Ras. We have recently discovered that these differentiation inhibitors also block apoptosis. Little, however, is known about the signaling pathways responsible for the induction or prevention of either differentiation or apoptosis. The immediate goal is, therefore, to delineate the signaling pathways which coordinately regulate the differentiation and apoptosis of skeletal myoblasts. The long term goal is to manipulate these pathways as treatments for musculodegenerative disease.