44668-Welc, Steven

Steven S. Welc, PhD

Assistant Professor of Anatomy, Cell Biology, and Physiology

MS 332
Indianapolis, IN


Research in the Welc lab is directed toward understanding the molecular mechanisms affecting muscle homeostasis. We have a specific interest in the central role that the immune system plays in regulating muscle health. Although immune cell populations in muscle can be complex, they are dominated by macrophages, which are present in low concentrations in healthy tissue but can rapidly accumulate in response to injury or disease (exceeding 107 cells per pound of muscle!). These are motile cells capable of highly-specific targeting to areas of pathology. There they can secrete an array of soluble factors that act directly on muscle stem cells and myofibers to promote regeneration and growth. Macrophages are required for normal muscle repair, but can be misapplied in disease to orchestrate devastating pathological interactions with fibro/adipogenic progenitor cells, the principal effectors of muscle fibrosis.  A major goal of our lab is to identify the mechanisms that promote or dysregulate the reparative processes of muscle and then build on that knowledge to develop novel therapeutics with translational implications in conditions of aging, acute trauma, modified-use and myopathy.

We recently reported a novel therapeutic strategy by which immune cells can be exploited as natural vectors to deliver therapeutic transgenes for the treatment of muscular dystrophy. Welc SS… Tidball JG et al. Targeting a therapeutic LIF transgene to muscle via the immune system ameliorates muscular dystrophy. Nat Comm, 10(1): 2788 (2019).

Key Publications

Welc S.S. Wehling-Henricks M. Kuro-o M. Thomas K.A. & Tidball J.G. (2020). Modulation of Klotho expression in injured muscle perturbs Wnt signaling and influence the rate of muscle growth. Exp Physiol, 105, 132-147.

Welc S.S. Flores I. Wehling-Henricks M. Ramos J. Wang Y. Bertoni C. & Tidball J.G. (2019). Targeting a therapeutic LIF transgene to muscle via the immune system ameliorates muscular dystrophy. Nat Commun, 10(1), 2788.

Wang Y. Welc S.S. Wehling-Henricks M. & Tidball J.G. (2018). Myeloid cell-derived tumor necrosis factor-alpha promotes sarcopenia and regulated muscle cell fusion with aging muscle fibers. Aging Cell, 17(6), e12828.

Wehling-Henricks* M. Welc* S.S. Samengo G. Rinaldi C. Lindsey C. Wang Y. Lee J. Kuro-o M. & Tidball J.G. (2018). Macrophages escape Klotho gene silencing in the mdx model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy and promote muscle growth and increase satellite cell numbers through a Klotho-mediated pathway. Hum Mol Genet, 27(1), 14-29. * Co-First Authors.

Tidball J.G., Welc S.S. & Wehling-Henricks M. (2018). Immunobiology of inherited muscular dystrophies. Compr Physiol, 8(4), 1313-56.

Titles & Appointments

  • Assistant Professor of Anatomy, Cell Biology, and Physiology

Research Labs

Faculty research at IU School of Medicine is transforming health. Details about the medical research being conducted in faculty labs throughout IU School of Medicine are available in the Research section of this site.

Faculty Labs