Krauss Lab

Krauss Lab

Krauss Lab

Krauss Lab


The Krauss lab is interested in how cell-cell adhesion and signal transduction pathways interact to regulate cell fate during embryonic developmental and adult tissue regeneration. We take a multidisciplinary approach that includes mouse and human genetics, cell biology, and biochemistry to address these broad questions with several model systems. One major focus is the role of cadherins as niche factors for skeletal muscle stem cells. We also study Hedgehog pathway signaling in early midline patterning and how defects in this process result in the common birth defect holoprosencephaly.

Robert S Krauss, PhD
Professor, Cell, Developmental, and Regenerative Biology

Current Projects

The skeletal muscle stem cell niche

Satellite cells (SCs) are adult skeletal muscle stem cells located between the myofiber and its surrounding basal lamina, and they are the source of skeletal muscle’s remarkable regenerative properties. SCs exist in a largely quiescent state in adult mice. However, upon muscle injury they are activated to proliferate and produce the myoblasts that will ultimately differentiate to form new myofibers; they also self-renew to replenish the muscle stem cell compartment. Quiescence is promoted by the SC niche, including the myofiber itself. Using a combination of conditional mouse mutants and cell biological analyses, we have shown that classical cadherins are components of the niche, required cell-autonomously by both the fiber and SC. We are continuing these studies with additional components of cadherin-based cell-cell junctions. We are also interested in the fundamental question of how the myofiber constructs and maintains a niche for SCs, as SCs are small, polarized, and mononuclear cells, whereas myofibers are large, non-polarized, and multinucleated cells. SCs and myofibers are in direct cell-cell contact (with cadherins present precisely where the two cells touch) but this junction represents a very small amount of the total myofiber cell surface. We are studying this question with a combination of in vivo and ex vivo approaches.

Modeling holoprosencephaly in the mouse

Holoprosencephaly (HPE) is a common developmental defect caused by failure to define the midline of the forebrain and/or midface. HPE is associated with heterozygous mutations in Nodal and Hedgehog (Hh) pathway components, but clinical presentation is highly variable, and many mutation carriers are unaffected. It is therefore thought that such mutations interact with more common modifiers, genetic and/or environmental, to produce severe patterning defects. Modifiers are difficult to identify, as their effects are context-dependent and occur within the complex genetic and environmental landscapes that characterize human populations. This has made a full understanding of HPE etiology challenging. We have developed mouse models for HPE that shed light on its complex etiology. Our studies with mouse lines carrying Hh pathway mutations on appropriate genetic backgrounds have led to identification of both genetic and environmental modifiers that synergize with the mutations to produce a spectrum of HPE phenotypes. These models favor a scenario in which multiple modifying influences—both genetic and environmental, sensitizing and protective—interact with bona fide HPE mutations to grade phenotypic outcomes. Despite the complex interplay of HPE risk factors, our findings have helped establish some clear concepts in HPE etiology.

Featured Recent Publications

Krauss, R.S., M.D. Shapiro, P.L. Koch, G. Kardon, and D.D.W. Cornelison. (2019). Science at Sundance. Science, 363:1270-1274.

Goel, A.J., M.K. Rieder, H.H. Arnold, G.L. Radice, and R.S. Krauss. (2017). Niche cadherins control the quiescence-to-activation transition in muscle stem cells. Cell Reports, 21:2236-2250.

Hong, M., K. Srivastava, S. Kim, B.L. Allen, D.J. Leahy, P. Hu, E. Roessler, R.S. Krauss* and M. Muenke*. (2017). BOC is a modifier gene in holoprosencephaly. Hum Mutat., 38:1464-1470.

Meet the Team

Robert Krauss


Rob is interested in how cell adhesion and signal transduction interact to make stuff happen in developing embryos and regenerating tissues. His students and postdocs have been making him look good for a long time.

Allison Kann

Ph.D. Student

Allison is a third-year PhD student interested in understanding how the muscle stem cell niche is constructed and maintained. When she isn’t in lab, she spends her time enjoying the best parts of NYC – the food, the parks, and the Broadway shows.

Mingi Hong

Research Assistant Professor

Mingi is a Research Assistant Professor interested in gene-environment interactions during development and how they contribute to the etiology of birth defects. Living things thrive around her, including the plants in the lab and her wonderful cat.

Vivian Lo

Postdoctoral Fellow

Vivian is a postdoc interested in regulation of Shh signaling during early central nervous system development. Outside the lab, her favorite pastime is watching live sporting events in NYC, especially the US Open.

Margaret Hung

Ph.D. Student

Maggie is a second-year PhD student studying how various catenin proteins regulate satellite cells in quiescence and in response to muscle injury. When not in lab, she enjoys sampling the great culinary treats in New York City, drinking too much coffee, and admiring all the dogs playing in central park.

Zoe Fresquez

Research Coordinator

Zoë is a research assistant working on the Hedgehog coreceptor Boc. She plans to obtain a PhD in Biochemistry. Outside the lab she is a special effects makeup artist for film and stage, and a baker.


Gyu-un Bae Associate ProfessorSookmyung Womens UniversitySeoul, Republic of Korea

Francesca Cole Associate Professor Molecular CarcinogenesisMD Anderson Cancer Center • Smithville, TX

Iris Cheng City Research ScientistNew York City Department of Health

Daisuke Chihara Postdoctoral FellowSkirball InstituteNew York UniversityNew York, NY

Jessica Feinleib Assistant ProfessorAnesthesiologyYale School of MedicineNew Haven, CT

Aviva Goel • Maternity break

Guoying Jiang Senior Staff ScientistPharma Technical DevelopmentGenentechSouth San Francisco, CA

Giselle Joseph Postdoctoral FellowNovartis Institute for Biomedical ResearchCambridge, MA

Jong-Sun Kang ProfessorSamsung Biomedical Research InstituteSungkyunkwan University School of MedicineSuwon, Republic of Korea

Sarah Knox Associate ProfessorCell and Tissue BiologyUC San Francisco

Youl-Nam Lee BioGemex Ltd.Sung Nam, Republic of Korea

Min Lu Senior ScientistAgios, Inc.Cambridge, MA

Philip Mulieri Danbury OrthopedicsDanbury, CT

Marysia-Kolbe Rieder MS in Genetic Counseling studentIcahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew York, NY

Anthony Romer ScientistSigilon TherapeuticsCambridge, MA

Karen Schachter ScientistStem Cell DevelopmentNovo NordiskDenmark

Dario Sirabella Associate Research ScientistStem Cell Core Columbia University Medical CenterNew York, NY

Giichi Takaesu Associate ProfessorUniversity of the RyukyusOkinawa, Japan

Jaw-Ji Yang ProfessorChung Shan Medical University Taichung, Taiwan

Wei Zhang Postdoctoral FellowSkirball InstituteNew York UniversityNew York, NY

Lab News

Krauss lab at the 2018 departmental retreat
Krauss lab at the 2018 departmental retreat

Giselle’s defense party!
Giselle’s defense party!

Rob attends the Sundance Film Festival and reviews films for Science
Rob attends the Sundance Film Festival and reviews films for Science

Aviva’s defense party!
Aviva’s defense party!

The secret is out
The secret is out

Allison and Maggie take some time out from the 2018 Muscle Stem Cell Conference
Allison and Maggie take some time out from the 2018 Muscle Stem Cell Conference

Krauss lab at the March for Science
Krauss lab at the March for Science

The chick lab with an egg
The chick lab with an egg

RK and ST - separated at birth?
RK and ST – separated at birth?

Contact Us

Krauss Laboratory
Professor, Cell, Developmental, and Regenerative Biology

Annenberg 25-70
Office: 212.241.2177
Lab: 212.241.9794

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