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Researcher | Research Background

Jeff joined the Kunkel Lab in 2013 after completing an undergraduate degree from State University of New York at Cortland, a master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a doctorate in Exercise Physiology at the Human Performance Laboratory at Ball State University. Jeff did post-doctoral training in muscle physiology in the Department of Biology at Marquette University with support from a NASA Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. His early work consisted of studying the detrimental effect of non-weight bearing actions on muscle function paired with the development of the exercise-based interventions. Within the Kunkel Lab, Jeff’s interest is focused on understanding how dystrophies and myopathies impact muscle contractility, looking at how contractile function can be improved or restored by novel therapeutic interventions. Jeff approaches his work across several levels of biological organization, from small zebrafish larvae to human muscle biopsies. By providing a physiological perspective with focus on muscle strength and performance, Jeff is able to translate functional assays that are typically performed on rodent muscles to the Kunkel lab zebrafish model.

Selected Publications

  1. Lambert MR, Spinazzola JM, Widrick JJ, Pakula A, Conner JR, Chin JE, Owens JM, Kunkel LM. PDE10A inhibition reduces the manifestation of pathology in DMD zebrafish and represses the genetic modifier PITPNA. Mol Ther 29: 1086–1101, 2021. View Abstract
  2. Tabebordbar M, Lagerborg KA, Stanton A, King EM, Ye S, Tellez L, Krunnfusz A, Tavakoli S, Widrick JJ, Messemer KA, Troiano EC, Moghadaszadeh B, Peacker BL, Leacock KA, Horwitz N, Beggs AH, Wagers AJ, Sabeti PC. Directed evolution of a family of AAV capsid variants enabling potent muscle-directed gene delivery across species. Cell 184: 4919–4938, 2021. View Abstract
  3. Hall A, Fontelonga T, Wright A, Bugda Gwilt K, Widrick J, Pasut A, Villa F, Miranti CK, Gibbs D, Jiang E, Meng H, Lawlor MW, Gussoni E. Tetraspanin CD82 is necessary for muscle stem cell activation and supports dystrophic muscle function. Skelet Muscle 10: 34, 2020. View Abstract
  4. Widrick JJ, Kawahara G, Alexander MS, Beggs AH, Kunkel LM. Discovery of novel therapeutics for muscular dystrophies using zebrafish phenotypic screens. J Neuromuscul Dis 6: 271–287, 2019. View Abstract

Researcher | Publications