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Faculty Profile

Riyasat AliRadbod Darabi

Associate Professor of Pharmacology
Department of Pharmacological and Pharmaceutical Sciences

University of Houston College of Pharmacy
Health 2, Room 5025
4349 Martin Luther King Boulevard
Houston, TX 77204-5037

Contact: - 713-743-3868


The main interest of Dr. Darabi's lab is to use pluripotent stem cells for skeletal muscle regeneration in muscular dystrophies and muscle injuries. During the last several years, his lab has developed novel methods for multi-lineage differentiation of pluripotent stem cells for cell therapy in mice models of muscular dystrophies and injuries. These include generation of knock-in reporter stem cell lines to study myogenic differentiation, CRISPR/Cas9 gene targeting methods to correct mutated genes in muscular dystrophies, and using bioscaffolds, seeded with stem cells, to treat skeletal muscle injuries.

Ongoing Research Projects:

1- Differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells (ESCs/iPSCs) toward myogenic progenitors using knock-in reporters

2- iPSC disease modeling and CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene correction in LGMDR21

3- Using bio-scaffolds/stem cells to treat volumetric muscle loss (VML)

4- Study of cellular interaction of iPSC-derived myogenic (MPCs) and endothelial cells (ECs) in vitro and in vivo

5- gRNA genome wide activation library screen to identify upstream activators of myogenic program (for PAX7 and MYF5 genes)

6- Differentiation of iPSCs into cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells for disease modeling and screening.

  • M.D. (Doctor of Medicine), Zahedan University of Medical Sciences, Iran
  • Ph.D. (Pharmacology), Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  • Postdoctoral Fellow (Stem Cell Biology), University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, USA

PubMed Profile

Research and Review Articles

  • Ortiz-Vitali JL, Wu J, Xu N, Shieh AW, Niknejad N, Takeuchi M, Paradas C, Lin C, Jafar-Nejad H, Haltiwanger RS, Wang SH, Darabi R. Disease modeling and gene correction of LGMDR21 iPSCs elucidates the role of POGLUT1 in skeletal muscle maintenance, regeneration, and the satellite cell niche. Mol Ther Nucleic Acids. Aug 2;33:683-697, 2023.
  • Wu J, Matthias N, Bhalla S, Darabi R. Evaluation of the Therapeutic Potential of Human iPSCs in a Murine Model of VML. Molecular Therapy. Jan 6;29(1):121-131, 2021.
  • Wu J, Matthias N, Lo J, Ortiz-Vitali JL, Shieh AW, Wang SH, Darabi R. A Myogenic Double-Reporter Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Line Allows Prospective Isolation of Skeletal Muscle Progenitors. Cell Reports. Nov. 25/7:1966-1981. 2018.
  • Matthias N, Hunt SD, Wu J, Lo J, Smith Callahan LA, Li Y, Huard J, Darabi R. Volumetric muscle loss injury repair using in situ fibrin gel cast seeded with muscle-derived stem cells (MDSCs). Stem Cell Res. Mar;27:65-73, 2018.
  • Wu J, Hunt SD, Matthias N, Servián-Morilla E, Lo J, Jafar-Nejad H, Paradas C, Darabi R. Generation of an induced pluripotent stem cell line (CSCRMi001-A) from a patient with a new type of limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD) due to a missense mutation in POGLUT1 (Rumi). Stem Cell Res. Oct;24:102-105, 2017.
  • Wu J, Hunt SD, Xue H, Liu Y, Darabi R. Generation and Validation of PAX7 Reporter Lines from Human iPS Cells Using CRISPR/Cas9 Technology. Stem Cell Research. 2016 Jan 13;16(2):220-228.
  • Wu J, Hunt SD, Xue H, Liu Y, Darabi R. Generation and Characterization of a MYF5 Reporter Human iPS Cell Line Using CRISPR/Cas9 Mediated Homologous Recombination. Scientific Reports. 2016 Jan 5;6:18759. doi: 10.1038/srep18759.
  • Matthias N, Hunt SD, Wu J, Darabi R. Skeletal muscle perfusion and stem cell delivery in muscle disorders using intra-femoral artery canulation in mice. Experimental Cell Research. 2015 Nov 15;339(1):103-11.
  • Darabi R, Perlingeiro RC. Derivation of Skeletal Myogenic Precursors from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells Using Conditional Expression of PAX7. Methods in Molecular Biology. 2014 Nov 18.
  • Skoglund G, Lainé J, Darabi R, Fournier E, Perlingeiro R, Tabti N. Physiological and ultrastructural features of human induced pluripotent and embryonic stem cell-derived skeletal myocytes in vitro. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS). 2014 Jun 3;111(22):8275-80.
  • Darabi R, Arpke RW, Irion S, Dimos JT, Grskovic M, Kyba M, Perlingeiro RC. Human ES and iPS-Derived Myogenic Progenitors Restore Dystrophin and Improve Contractility upon Transplantation in Dystrophic Mice. Cell Stem Cell. 2012 May; 10 (5), 610-619.
  • Darabi R, Santos FN, Filareto A, Pan W, Koene R, Rudnicki MA, Kyba M, Perlingeiro RC. Assessment of the myogenic stem cell compartment following transplantation of pax3/pax7-induced embryonic stem cell-derived progenitors. Stem Cells. 2011 May; 29(5):777-90.
  • Ramos AL, Darabi R (equal contribution), Akbarloo N, Borges L, Catanese J, Dineen SP, Brekken RA, Perlingeiro RC. Clonal Analysis Reveals a Common Progenitor for Endothelial, Myeloid, and Lymphoid Precursors in Umbilical Cord Blood. Circulation Research. 2010 Dec 10; 107(12):1460-9.
  • Darabi R, Gehlbach K, Bachoo MR, Kamath S, Osawa M, Kam KE, Kyba M, Perlingeiro RC. Functional skeletal muscle regeneration from differentiating embryonic stem cells. Nature Medicine. 2008; 14 (2): 134-143. 

Awards & Honors

  • Jerold B. Katz Distinguished Professorship in Stem Cell Research, UTHealth, 2019-2023
  • Dr. Marvin and Hadassah Bacaner’s Faculty Award in Research Excellence, Minnesota Medical Foundation, University of Minnesota, 2012
  • Basic Science Research Award, University of Minnesota, 2009 and 2010
  • Highlighted original research article in Nature Medicine journal (cover picture and news release), 2008
  • Top graduate of Ph.D. program, 2005
  • Iran’s Ministry of Health Ph.D. Scholarship Award, 2000-2005
  • First Ranked in Pharmacology Board Exam, 2003
  • Top graduate of medical school (First ranked among M.D. degree graduates), 1997