Principal Investigator

Vittorio Sartorelli, M.D.

Vittorio Sartorelli, M.D., is leading a team of scientists who are working to better understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating specification, differentiation, and regeneration of skeletal muscle cells.

We study the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating specification, differentiation, and regeneration of skeletal muscle cells. We pursue these studies by combining genomic and proteomic-based approaches complemented by bioinformatics and animal models.

Specific areas of interest include:

  • Transcriptional Regulation of Skeletal Muscle Differentiation. Biochemical and molecular characterization of individual transcription factors, chromatin regulators, and epigenetic marks during skeletal muscle specification and development. Genetic manipulation of the individual components is obtained by whole-body and conditional gene ablation in developing embryos and adult mice.
  • Regulatory Circuitry in Skeletal Muscle Cells. Integration of signaling pathways and logics of transcription factors and chromatin regulators. General operating principles and gene network modeling are developed based on genome-wide experimental data.
  • Regeneration of Adult Skeletal Muscle. Following injury, skeletal muscle vigorously regenerates. The cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying regeneration are investigated in animals in which individual genetic components have been ablated by homologous recombination.
  • Metabolic Regulation of Epigenetics. Exit from quiescence of satellite cells during muscle regeneration is accompanied by changes in their metabolic state. We investigate the molecular connection between metabolism and epigenetic modification of chromatin that accompanies the transition from quiescence to proliferation and differentiation of muscle precursors.

The ultimate goal of our studies is to provide a conceptual and practical framework contributing to the diagnosis and treatment of human diseases affecting skeletal muscles.


Deputy Scientific Director
Group Leader
Earl Stadtman Tenure Track Investigator
Unit Leader
Principal Investigator
Visiting Fellow
Visiting Fellow
Special Volunteer
Postbaccalaureate Fellow
Research Fellow
Visiting Fellow
Research Fellow
Staff Scientist
Research Fellow
Postdoctoral Fellow
Postdoctoral Fellow
Postdoctoral Fellow
Research Fellow
Special Volunteer
Research Fellow
Special Volunteer
301 827 9301
Post Baccalaureate IRTA

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Scientific Publications

Wang AH, Juan AH, Ko KD, Tsai PF, Zare H, Dell'Orso S, Sartorelli V. The Elongation Factor Spt6 Maintains ESC Pluripotency by Controlling Super-Enhancers and Counteracting Polycomb Proteins. Mol Cell. 2017 Oct 19;68(2):398-413.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2017.09.016. Epub 2017 Oct 12. [PubMed]

Jullien J, Vodnala M, Pasque V, Oikawa M, Miyamoto K, Allen G, David SA, Brochard V, Wang S, Bradshaw C, Koseki H, Sartorelli V, Beaujean N, Gurdon J. Gene Resistance to Transcriptional Reprogramming following Nuclear Transfer Is Directly Mediated by Multiple Chromatin-Repressive Pathways. Mol Cell. 2017 Mar 2;65(5):873-884.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2017.01.030. [PubMed]

Juan AH, Wang S, Ko KD, Zare H, Tsai PF, Feng X, Vivanco KO, Ascoli AM, Gutierrez-Cruz G, Krebs J, Sidoli S, Knight AL, Pedersen RA, Garcia BA, Casellas R, Zou J, Sartorelli V. Roles of H3K27me2 and H3K27me3 Examined during Fate Specification of Embryonic StemCells. Cell Rep. 2016 Oct 25;17(5):1369-1382. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.09.087. [PubMed]

Dell'Orso S, Wang AH, Shih HY, Saso K, Berghella L, Gutierrez-Cruz G, Ladurner AG, O'Shea JJ, Sartorelli V, Zare H. The Histone Variant MacroH2A1.2 Is Necessary for the Activation of Muscle Enhancers and Recruitment of the Transcription Factor Pbx1. Cell Rep. 2016 Feb 9;14(5):1156-68. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.12.103. Epub 2016 Jan 28. [PubMed]

Ryall JG, Dell'Orso S, Derfoul A, Juan A, Zare H, Feng X, Clermont D, Koulnis M, Gutierrez-Cruz G, Fulco M, Sartorelli V. The NAD(+)-Dependent SIRT1 Deacetylase Translates a Metabolic Switch into Regulatory Epigenetics in Skeletal Muscle Stem Cells.Cell Stem Cell. 2015 Feb 5;16(2):171-83. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2014.12.004. Epub 2015 Jan 15. [PubMed]

Mousavi K, Zare H, Dell'orso S, Grontved L, Gutierrez-Cruz G, Derfoul A, Hager GL, Sartorelli V. eRNAs Promote Transcription by Establishing Chromatin Accessibility at Defined Genomic Loci. Mol Cell. 2013 Aug 27. pii: S1097-2765(13)00548-0. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2013.07.022. [Epub ahead of print][PubMed]

Latest News

Spotlight on Research | September 15, 2015

NIAMS Interns Share Their 2015 Summer Experiences

Our 2015 summer interns received career mentoring from NIAMS researchers, attended lectures and symposia, engaged in basic and clinical research, and gained notable experience that will help them pursue their career goals. It is our pleasure to share with you their summer experiences.
Spotlight on Research | May 15, 2015

Protein Linked to Dermatomyositis Found to Have Role in Regenerating Muscle

Many people with a rare muscle disease called dermatomyositis carry antibodies to a protein called T1F1γ, but the protein’s role in normal and diseased muscle has been elusive. Now, a study led by investigators at the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) provides some insight by showing that T1F1γ has a role in muscle regeneration.
Press Release | February 17, 2015

NIH researchers reveal link between powerful gene regulatory elements and autoimmune diseases

Investigators with the National Institutes of Health have discovered the genomic switches of a blood cell key to regulating the human immune system.
Spotlight on Research | September 15, 2014

NIAMS Interns Reflect on Their 2014 Summer Experience

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) offers a Summer Research Program that provides outstanding opportunities for high school, undergraduate, graduate, and medical students contemplating a career in biomedical research or academic medicine.
Roundtable Discussion | March 5, 2014

From GWAS to ENCODE and Beyond — Recognizing DNA Functional Elements with Direct Relevance to Rheumatic, Skin, and Musculoskeletal Diseases

The overall goal of all NIAMS roundtables is to discuss scientific and clinical needs, and to listen to the concerns and challenges facing the scientific community. These sessions provide a valuable source of input for the NIAMS planning process. This specific roundtable explored the potential value of genome-wide data to define functional elements of the genome for research in NIAMS mission areas.
Spotlight on Research | September 1, 2013

Muscle Stem Cells Can Be Turned Into Energy-Burning Brown Fat Cells in Mice

Adult muscle stem cells in mice can be turned into brown fat—an energy-burning type of fat—by altering the presence o

Last Reviewed: 02/17/2017