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Main Profile

Full Name and Degrees: 
Eric Olson, Ph.D.
Member Role: 
Affiliated Investigator
Institutional affiliation: 
UT Southwestern
Additional links: 
Hub Site: 
12-Jay Schneider
research focus: 

Dr. Olson’s research focuses on muscle cells as a model for understanding how embryonic cells adopt specific fates and how programs of cell differentiation and morphogenesis are controlled during development.

There are three major muscle cell types.

  • Cardiac
  • Skeletal
  • Smooth

Each expresses distinct sets of genes controlled by different combinations of transcription factors and extracellular signals. His lab focuses on discovering novel transcription factors that control development of these muscle cell types and remodeling in response to cardiovascular and neuromuscular diseases.

The processes involved in muscle development are evolutionarily ancient and conserved across diverse organisms. This conservation enables his lab to take a cross-species approach to dissect this problem by identifying myogenic regulatory genes in the fruit fly or in vertebrate embryos. They use these genes to perform gain and loss-of-function experiments in vivo and in vitro.

His lab’s long-term goal is to delineate the complete genetic pathways for the formation and function of each muscle cell type and to use this information to devise pharmacologic and genetic therapies for inherited and acquired muscle diseases in humans.

Recent publications: 
MicroRNAs add a new dimension to cardiovascular disease. Small EM, Frost RJ, Olson EN. Circulation. 2010 Mar 2; 121(8):1022-32. Review. [http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/extract/121/8/1022|Abstract]   Redundant control of adipogenesis by histone deacetylases 1 and 2. Haberland M, Carrer M, Mokalled MH, Montgomery RL, Olson EN. J Biol Chem. 2010 Feb 26. [http://www.jbc.org/content/early/2010/02/26/jbc.M109.081679.abstract|Abstract]   Regulation of PI3-kinase/Akt signaling by muscle-enriched microRNA-486. Small EM, O'Rourke JR, Moresi V, Sutherland LB, McAnally J, Gerard RD, Richardson JA, Olson EN. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Mar 2; 107(9):4218-23. [http://www.pnas.org/content/107/9/4218.abstract|Abstract]   HDAC4 represses matrix metalloproteinase-13 transcription in osteoblastic cells, and parathyroid hormone controls this repression. Shimizu E, Selvamurugan N, Westendorf JJ, Olson EN, Partridge NC. J Biol Chem. 2010 Mar 26; 285(13):9616-26. [http://www.jbc.org/content/285/13/9616.abstract|Abstract]   Myozap, a novel intercalated disc protein, activates serum response factor-dependent signaling and is required to maintain cardiac function in vivo. Seeger TS, Frank D, Rohr C, Will R, Just S, Grund C, Lyon R, Luedde M, Koegl M, Sheikh F, Rottbauer W, Franke WW, Katus HA, Olson EN, Frey N. Circ Res. 2010 Mar 19; 106(5):880-90. [http://circres.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/short/106/5/880|Abstract]
6000 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, TX 75390-9148
(214) 648-1187
(214) 648-1196
Profile Page Photo: 
Eric Olson, Ph.D.

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