Dawn Lowe

Director of Graduate Studies



Skeletal muscle biology in aging, health and disease

Professional Associations

  • Fellow, American College of Sports Medicine
  • Member, American Physiological Society
  • Member, Institute on the Biology of Aging and Metabolism (iBAM), UMN
  • Member, Paul and Sheila Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Center, UMN

Research Summary

Dr. Lowe's laboratory investigates cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying skeletal muscle deterioration that occur with age, injury, and disease. We are particularly interested in how the loss of estradiol causes muscle weakness and impaired regeneration of injured muscles. Our studies point toward the deterioration of myosin function and satellite cells as two of the culprits. We are highly collaborative in muscular dystrophy research having published with eight other UMN muscle biologists. Our studies often have a flavor of exercise science and preventative medicine as well as rehabilitation. Trainee research experiences are enriched by the collaborative nature of our work that intersects muscle research from fields of biochemistry, physiology, biophysics, engineering, molecular and stem cell biology, pathology, endocrinology, immunology, and bone biology.

Research Funding Grants

  • NIH, R01 AG031743-12
    Interaction of Estrogen, Age and Activity on Musculoskeletal Strength in Females
    02/01/2009 - 01/31/2024
  • NIH, R01 AG062899-2 (MPI with Michael Kyba)
    Dissecting Effects of Estrogen Deficiency on Satellite Cells on Muscle Regeneration in Females and Males
    10/01/2019 - 09/30/2024



Arpke, R.W., B.C. Collins, N. Lu, D.A. Lowe, and M. Kyba. Assessment of satellite cell self-renewal reveals minimal decline with aging but strong evidence for competition within the stem cell compartment. Aging Cell. In Press, April 2020.

Bosnakovski, D., A.S. Shams, C. Yuan, M.T. da Silva, E.T. Ener, C.W. Baumann, A.J. Lindsay, M. Verma, A. Asakura, D.A. Lowe, and M. Kyba. Transcriptional and cytopathological hallmarks of FSHD in chronic DUX4-expressing mice. J. Clin. Invest. 2020. https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI133303.

Lindsay, A., C.W. Baumann, R.T. Rebbeck, S.L. Yuen, W.M. Southern, J.S. Hodges, R.L. Cornea, D.D. Thomas, J.M. Ervasti, and D.A. Lowe. Mechanical factors tune the sensitivity of mdx muscle to eccentric strength loss and its protection by antioxidant and calcium modulators. Skelet. Muscle 10:3, 2020. PMID 32007101. PMC6995146.

Baumann, C.W., G.L. Warren, and D.A. Lowe. Plasmalemma function is rapidly restored in mdx muscle after eccentric contractions. Med. Sci. Sport Exerc.52: 354-361, 2020. PMID 31415447. PMC6962540.


Iñigo, M.R., A.J. Amorese, M.D. Tarpey, N.P. Balestrieri, K.G. Jones, D.J. Patteson, K.C. Jackson, M.J. Torres, C.T. Lin, C.D. Smith, T.D. Heden, S.L. McMillin, L.A. Weyrauch, E.C. Stanley, C.A Schmidt, B.B. Kilburg-Basnyat, S.W. Reece, C.E. Psaltis, L.A. Leinwand, K. Funai, J.M. McClung, K.M. Gowdy, C.A. Witczak, D.A. Lowe, P.D. Neufer, and E.E. Spangenburg. Estrogen receptor-? in female skeletal muscle is not required for regulation of muscle insulin sensitivity and mitochondrial regulation. Mol. Metab. 34: 1-15, 2019. PMID 32180550. PMC6994285.

Collins, B.C., R.W. Arpke, A.A. Larson, C.W. Baumann, N. Xie, C.A. Cabelka, N.L. Nash, H.K. Juppi, E.K. Laakkonen, S. Sipilä, V. Kovanen, E.E. Spangenburg, M. Kyba, and D.A. Lowe. Estrogen regulates the satellite cell compartment in females. Cell Reports 29: 368-381, 2019. PMID 31291574. PMC6655560.

Collins, B.C., E.K. Laakkonen, and D.A. Lowe. Aging of the musculoskeletal system: How the loss of estrogen impacts muscle strength. BONE Special Issue: Musculoskeletal Aging123: 137-144, 2019. PMID 30930293. PMC6491229.

Rajaganapathy, S., J. McCourt, S. Ghosal, A.Lindsay, P.McCourt, D.A. Lowe, J.M. Ervasti, and M. Salapaka. Distinct mechanical properties in homologous spectrin-like repeats of utrophin. Scientific Reports 9(1): 5210, 2019. PMID 30914715. PMC6435810.

Lindsay, A., W.M. Southern, P. McCourt, A. Larson, J. Hodges, D.A. Lowe, and J.M. Ervasti. Variable cytoplasmic actin expression impacts the sensitivity of different dystrophin-deficient mdx skeletal muscles to eccentric contraction. FEBS J. 286: 2562-2576, 2019. PMID 30942954. PMC6613979.

Lindsay, A., A. Larson, M. Verma, J.M. Ervasti, and D.A. Lowe. Isometric resistance training increases strength and alters histopathology of dystrophin-deficient mouse skeletal muscle. J. Appl. Physiol.126:363-375, 2019. PMID 30571283. PMC6397410.

Cabelka, C.A., C.W. Baumann, B.C. Collins, N. Nash, G. Le, A. Lindsay, E.E. Spangenburg, and D.A. Lowe. Effects of ovarian hormones and estrogen receptor ? on physical activity and skeletal muscle fatigue in female mice. Exp. Gerontol. 115:155-164, 2019. PMID 30415069. PMC6331238.

Lindsay, A., C.M. Chamberlain, B. Witthelm, D.A. Lowe, and J.M. Ervasti. Dystrophinopathy-associated dysfunction of Krebs cycle metabolism. Hum. Mol. Genet. 28:942-951, 2019. PMID 30476171. PMC6400043.


Nelson, D.M., A. Lindsay, L.M. Judge, K. Duan, J.S. Chamberlain, D.A. Lowe, and J.M. Ervasti. Variable rescue of microtubule and physiological phenotypes in mdx muscle expressing different miniaturized dystrophins. Hum. Mol. Genet. 27:2090-2100, 2018. PMID 29901725. PMC6049009.

Lindsay, A., McCourt, P., P. Karachunski, D.A. Lowe, and J.M. Ervasti. Xanthine oxidase is hyper-active in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Free Rad. Biol. Med. 129:364-371, 2018. PMID 30312761. PMC6269445.

Olthoff, J.T., A. Lindsay, R. Abo-Zahrah, K.A. Baltgalvis, X. Patrinostro, J.J. Belanto, D. Yu, B.J. Perrin, D.J. Garry, G.G. Rodney, D.A. Lowe, and J.M. Ervasti. Loss of peroxiredoxin-2 exacerbates ROS-mediated force loss in dystrophin-deficient muscle. Nat. Commun. 30;9(1):5104, 2018. PMID 30504831. PMC6269445.

Levy, Y., J.A. Ross, M. Niglas, V.A. Snetkov, S. Lynham, C. Liao, M.J. Puckelwartz, Y. Hsu, E.M. McNally, M. Alsheimer, S.D.R. Harridge, S.G. Young, L.G. Fong, Y. Español, C. Lopez-Otin, B.K. Kennedy, D.A. Lowe, and J. Ochala. Prelamin A causes aberrant myonuclear arrangement and results in muscle fiber weakness. J. Clin. Invest. Insight 3(19): e120920, 2018. PMID30282816. PMC6237469.

Phung, L.A., S.M. Karvinen, B.A. Colson, D.D. Thomas, and D.A. Lowe. Age affects myosin relaxation states in skeletal muscle fibers of female but not male mice. PLoS ONE 13(9): e0199062, 2018. PMID 30226869. PMC6143227

Le, G., S.A. Novotny, T.L. Mader, S.M. Greising, S.K. Chen, M. Kyba, D.A. Lowe, and G.L. Warren. A moderate estradiol level enhances neutrophil number and activity in muscle after traumatic injury but strength recovery is accelerated. J. Physiol. 596(19): 4665-4680, 2018.PMID 30035314. PMC6166067.

Lindsay, A., A. Schmiechen, C.M. Chamberlain, J.M. Ervasti, and D.A. Lowe. Neopterin/7,8-dihydroneopterin is elevated in Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients and protects mdx skeletal muscle function. Exp. Physiol. 103 (7): 995-109, 2018. PMID 29791760. PMC6026059.

Collins, B.C., T.L. Mader, C.A. Cabelka, M.R. Iñigo, E.E. Spangenburg, and D.A. Lowe. Deletion of estrogen receptor alpha in skeletal muscle results in impaired contractility in female mice. J. Appl. Physiol. 124: 980-992, 2018. PMID 29345963. PMC5972463

O'Rourke, A.R., A. Lindsay, M.D. Tarpey, S. Yuen, P. McCourt, D.M. Nelson, B.J. Perrin, D.D. Thomas, E.E. Spangenburg, D.A. Lowe, and J.M. Ervasti.Impaired muscle relaxation and mitochondrial fission associated with genetic ablation of cytoplasmic actin isoforms. FEBS J. 285: 481-500, 2018. PMID 29265728. PMC5799018

McCourt, J.L., D.M. Talsness, A. Lindsay, R.W. Arpke, P.D. Chatterton, D.M. Nelson, C.M. Chamberlain, J.T. Olthoff, J.J. Belanto, P.M. McCourt, M. Kyba, D.A Lowe, and J.M. Ervasti. Mouse models of two missense mutations in actin-binding domain 1 of dystrophin associated with Duchenne or Becker muscular dystrophy.Hum. Mol. Genet. 27(3): 451-462, 2018. PMID 29194514. PMC5886145.

Torres, M.J., K.A. Kew, T.E. Ryan, E.R. Pennington, C.T. Lin, K.A. Buddo, A.M. Fix, C.A. Smith, L.A. Gilliam, S. Karvinen, D.A. Lowe, E.E. Spangenburg, T.N. Zeczycki, S.R. Shaikh, and P.D. Neufer.17?-Estradiol Directly Lowers Mitochondrial Membrane Microviscosity and Improves Bioenergetic Function in Skeletal Muscle. Cell Metab. 27(1):167-179.e7, 2018. PMID 29103922. PMC5762397.

Teaching Summary

Grant Writing: RSC 8206




Rm 7-106 MCB
420 Washington Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455