Maves Lab

The Maves lab investigates skeletal muscle and heart development, with the goal of making discoveries that lead to new understanding of, and treatments for, muscular dystrophy and heart disorders. We primarily use the zebrafish as an animal model because of its advantages for genetic manipulations, in vivo imaging, and drug screening. By using the power of genetics and embryo development, we can gain insights into the origins of heart and muscle disease.

We currently have three main projects.

1) We are using a zebrafish model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (the dmd mutant strain) to investigate the developmental biology and epigenetics of DMD as well as to identify new drug therapies for DMD. We also work closely with Dr. David Mack’s lab ( to take advantage of human iPSC and rat models of DMD.

2) We are investigating the mechanisms of skeletal muscle fiber-type differentiation. This work will eventually help us understand why certain types of muscle fibers are more susceptible to muscular dystrophy.

3) We are using CRISPR genome screening and precision editing in zebrafish to engineer mutations in genes that have been implicated in human congenital heart defects. Recently our screening has identified several new genes required for heart development. Our goal is to gain insight into the complex genetics of congenital heart defects.

Contact Lisa Maves directly at lmaves (at)