Professor Penney Gilbert

Penney Gilbert

Associate Professor & Canada Research Chair, Endogenous Repair


St. George (downtown)

CSB Appointment


Research Areas

Cell Biology


Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania 2006
BSc, Haverford College 1999

Primary Undergraduate Department

Institute of Biomedical Engineering

Graduate Programs

Cell and Systems Biology
Institute of Biomedical Engineering

Academic or Administrative Appointments

Advisor, Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Research Description

The native stem cell niche is a three-dimensional entity. While conceptually it is accepted that dimensionality is a critical feature of tissues that defines the location and timing of cellular events, understanding how dimensionality exerts such a powerful influence on stem cell biology is not well understood. Our research tackles this quandary by defining the interactions between muscle stem cells and their dynamic extracellular milieu that serve to orchestrate the elegant process by which a muscle stem cell switches between states of quiescence, activation, proliferation, differentiation, and self-renewal in health and in disease. Our specific emphasis is on evaluating how biomechanical stresses of the niche, like compressive forces, shear stress, or extracellular matrix stiffness, synergize with niche proteins to drive stem cell behavior. By quantifying in vivo biomechanical stresses presiding over the quiescent and regenerating adult skeletal muscle niche, and engineering three-dimensional culture models of skeletal muscle regeneration to deconstruct and reconstruct the 3D niche, we uncover new insights into how the native three-dimensional tissue exerts spatiotemporal control over muscle stem cell fate.

Contact Information

Office Phone: 416-978-2501
Office: CCBR 1116
Lab: CCBR 1140
Lab Phone: 416-978-2507

Mailing Address

164 College Street,
Rosebrugh Building Rm. 407,
Toronto, Ontario,

Visit lab’s website



MEndR: An In Vitro Functional Assay to Predict In Vivo Muscle Stem Cell‐Mediated Repair

Davoudi S, Xu B, Jacques E, Cadavid JL, McFee M, Chin C, Meysami A, Ebrahimi M, Bakooshli MA, Tung K, Ahn H, Ginsberg HJ, McGuigan AP, Gilbert PM
2021, Advanced Functional Materials, 10.1002/adfm.202106548

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A 96-well culture platform enables longitudinal analyses of engineered human skeletal muscle microtissue strength

Afshar ME, Abraha HY, Bakooshli MA, Davoudi S, Thavandiran N, Tung K, Ahn H, Ginsberg HJ, Zandstra PW, Gilbert PM
2020, Scientific Reports, 10.1038/s41598-020-62837-8

Functional arrays of human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiac microtissues

Thavandiran N, Hale C, Blit P, Sandberg ML, McElvain ME, Gagliardi M, Sun B, Witty A, Graham G, Do V, Bakooshli MA, Le H, Ostblom J, McEwen S, Chau E, Prowse A, Fernandes I, Norman A, Gilbert PM, Keller G, Tagari P, Xu H, Radisic M, Zandstra PW
2020, Scientific Reports, 10.1038/s41598-020-62955-3

Engineering the next generation of human skeletal muscle models: From cellular complexity to disease modeling

Moyle LA, Jacques E, Gilbert PM
2020, Current Opinion in Biomedical Engineering, 10.1016/j.cobme.2020.05.006

Three-dimensional niche stiffness synergizes with Wnt7a to modulate the extent of satellite cell symmetric self-renewal divisions

Moyle LA, Cheng RY, Liu H, Davoudi S, Ferreira SA, Nissar AA, Sun Y, Gentleman E, Simmons CA, Gilbert PM, Discher D
2020, Molecular Biology of the Cell, 10.1091/mbc.E20-01-0078

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A 3D culture model of innervated human skeletal muscle enables studies of the adult neuromuscular junction

Afshar Bakooshli M, Lippmann ES, Mulcahy B, Iyer N, Nguyen CT, Tung K, Stewart BA, van den Dorpel H, Fuehrmann T, Shoichet M, Bigot A, Pegoraro E, Ahn H, Ginsberg H, Zhen M, Ashton RS, Gilbert PM
2019, eLife, 10.7554/eLife.44530

A rapid in vitro methodology for simultaneous target discovery and antibody generation against functional cell subpopulations

Nixon AML, Duque A, Yelle N, McLaughlin M, Davoudi S, Pedley NM, Haynes J, Brown KR, Pan J, Hart T, Gilbert PM, Singh SK, O’Brien CA, Sidhu SS, Moffat J
2019, Scientific Reports, 10.1038/s41598-018-37462-1

Cored in the act: the use of models to understand core myopathies

Fusto A, Moyle LA, Gilbert PM, Pegoraro E
2019, Disease Models & Mechanisms, 10.1242/dmm.041368

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Muscle stem cell intramuscular delivery within hyaluronan methylcellulose improves engraftment efficiency and dispersion

Davoudi S, Chin C, Cooke MJ, Tam RY, Shoichet MS, Gilbert PM
2018, Biomaterials, 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2018.04.048

Cellular Biomechanics in Skeletal Muscle Regeneration

Li EW, McKee-Muir OC, Gilbert PM
2018, , 10.1016/bs.ctdb.2017.08.007

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Optimization of Satellite Cell Culture Through Biomaterials

Davoudi S, Gilbert PM
2017, , 10.1007/978-1-4939-6771-1_18

Stage-specific differences in secretory profile of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) subjected to early- vs late-stage OA synovial fluid

Gómez-Aristizábal A, Sharma A, Bakooshli M, Kapoor M, Gilbert P, Viswanathan S, Gandhi R
2017, Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, 10.1016/j.joca.2016.11.010

Cellular adaptation to biomechanical stress across length scales in tissue homeostasis and disease

Gilbert PM, Weaver VM
2017, Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology, 10.1016/j.semcdb.2016.09.004

Cellular adaptation to biomechanical stress across length scales in tissue homeostasis and disease

Gilbert PM, Weaver VM
2017, Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology, 10.1016/j.semcdb.2016.09.004

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Biomechanical Origins of Muscle Stem Cell Signal Transduction

Morrissey JB, Cheng RY, Davoudi S, Gilbert PM
2016, Journal of Molecular Biology, 10.1016/j.jmb.2015.05.004

Targeting the stem cell niche with regenerative biomaterials

Nissar AA, Martowirogo A, Gilbert PM
2016, Current Opinion in Solid State and Materials Science, 10.1016/j.cossms.2016.03.003

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Muscling in on the third dimension

Afshar Bakooshli M, Gilbert PM
2015, eLife, 10.7554/eLife.06430

Global Linking of Cell Tracks Using the Viterbi Algorithm

Magnusson KEG, Jalden J, Gilbert PM, Blau HM
2015, IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging, 10.1109/TMI.2014.2370951

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Tissue mechanics modulate microRNA-dependent PTEN expression to regulate malignant progression

Mouw JK, Yui Y, Damiano L, Bainer RO, Lakins JN, Acerbi I, Ou G, Wijekoon AC, Levental KR, Gilbert PM, Hwang ES, Chen Y, Weaver VM
2014, Nature Medicine, 10.1038/nm.3497

Rejuvenation of the muscle stem cell population restores strength to injured aged muscles

Cosgrove BD, Gilbert PM, Porpiglia E, Mourkioti F, Lee SP, Corbel SY, Llewellyn ME, Delp SL, Blau HM
2014, Nature Medicine, 10.1038/nm.3464

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Protein-Engineered Biomaterials to Generate Human Skeletal Muscle Mimics

Sengupta D, Gilbert PM, Johnson KJ, Blau HM, Heilshorn SC
2012, Advanced Healthcare Materials, 10.1002/adhm.201200195

A single cell bioengineering approach to elucidate mechanisms of adult stem cell self-renewal

Gilbert PM, Corbel S, Doyonnas R, Havenstrite K, Magnusson KEG, Blau HM
2012, Integrative Biology, 10.1039/c2ib00148a

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Single-cell phospho-specific flow cytometric analysis demonstrates biochemical and functional heterogeneity in human hematopoietic stem and progenitor compartments

Gibbs KD, Gilbert PM, Sachs K, Zhao F, Blau HM, Weissman IL, Nolan GP, Majeti R
2011, Blood, 10.1182/blood-2010-07-298232

Engineering a stem cell house into a home

Gilbert PM, Blau HM
2011, Stem Cell Research & Therapy, 10.1186/scrt44

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Substrate Elasticity Regulates Skeletal Muscle Stem Cell Self-Renewal in Culture

Gilbert PM, Havenstrite KL, Magnusson KEG, Sacco A, Leonardi NA, Kraft P, Nguyen NK, Thrun S, Lutolf MP, Blau HM
2010, Science, 10.1126/science.1191035

HOXA9 regulates BRCA1 expression to modulate human breast tumor phenotype

Gilbert PM, Mouw JK, Unger MA, Lakins JN, Gbegnon MK, Clemmer VB, Benezra M, Licht JD, Boudreau NJ, Tsai KK, Welm AL, Feldman MD, Weber BL, Weaver VM
2010, Journal of Clinical Investigation, 10.1172/JCI39534

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Designing materials to direct stem-cell fate

Lutolf MP, Gilbert PM, Blau HM
2009, Nature, 10.1038/nature08602

A home away from home: Challenges and opportunities in engineering in vitro muscle satellite cell niches

Cosgrove BD, Sacco A, Gilbert PM, Blau HM
2009, Differentiation, 10.1016/j.diff.2009.08.004

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Saccharomyces cerevisiae Rab-GDI Displacement Factor Ortholog Yip3p Forms Distinct Complexes with the Ypt1 Rab GTPase and the Reticulon Rtn1p

Geng J, Shin ME, Gilbert PM, Collins RN, Burd CG
2005, Eukaryotic Cell, 10.1128/EC.4.7.1166-1174.2005

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Watch thy neighbor: cancer is a communal affair

Weaver VM
2004, Journal of Cell Science, 10.1242/jcs.01137

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Dual Prenylation Is Required for Rab Protein Localization and Function

Calero M, Chen CZ, Zhu W, Winand N, Havas KA, Gilbert PM, Burd CG, Collins RN
2003, Molecular Biology of the Cell, 10.1091/mbc.e02-11-0707

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FYVE Domain Targets Pib1p Ubiquitin Ligase to Endosome and Vacuolar Membranes

Shin ME, Ogburn KD, Varban OA, Gilbert PM, Burd CG
2001, Journal of Biological Chemistry, 10.1074/jbc.M105665200

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GDP Dissociation Inhibitor Domain II Required for Rab GTPase Recycling

Gilbert PM, Burd CG
2000, Journal of Biological Chemistry, 10.1074/jbc.M008845200

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