Metzger Lab

Joseph Metzger

We seek mechanistic insights into normal and diseased cardiac muscle function. Our overarching goal is to translate basic science discoveries into potential therapeutic strategies to combat inherited and acquired forms of heart disease. Lab projects embrace individuality, emphasize cooperation and collaboration, and encompass a standard of excellence to all that we do as individual researchers and as a laboratory. Our guiding principles are to treat others with respect and courtesy, to maintain the lab in a collegial, safe and professional environment, and to work each day to fullest of our capabilities.

Joseph Metzger faculty profile

Current Lab Projects

Targeted membrane integrity in cardiac ischemia and reperfusion
Metzger, JM, Bartos, JA, Bates, FS & Sham, YY
NIH Nat'l Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute | 7/15/19 → 6/30/23

Copolymer-based sarcolemma stabilization for protecting
Metzger, JM, Bates, FS & Hackel, BJ
NIH NIAMS Nat'l Inst of Arthritis | 5/1/18 → 4/30/23

Dystrophin and Heart Disease
Metzger, JM
National Institutes of Health | 7/1/17 → 4/30/21

Myofilaments as regulators of heart function in disease
Metzger, JM & Sham, YY
NIH Nat'l Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute | 4/1/17 → 3/31/21

Recent Publications

View a complete list of Dr. Metzger's articles at Experts@Minnesota

  1. Vetter AD, Martin AA, Thompson BR, Thomas DD, Metzger JM. Sarcomere integrated biosensor detects myofilament-activating ligands in real time during twitch contractions in live cardiac muscle. J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2020 Oct;147:49-61. doi: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2020.07.012. Epub 2020 Aug 11. PMID: 32791214; PMCID: PMC7584764.
  2. Bez Batti Angulski A, Bauer J, Cohen H, Kobuke K, Campbell KP, Metzger JM. Investigations of an inducible intact dystrophin gene excision system in cardiac and skeletal muscle in vivo. Sci Rep. 2020 Jul 3;10(1):10967. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-67372-0. PMID: 32620803; PMCID: PMC7335168.
  3. Wheelwright M, Mikkila J, Bedada FB, Mandegar MA, Thompson BR, Metzger JM. Advancing physiological maturation in human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiac muscle by gene editing an inducible adult troponin isoform switch. Stem Cells. 2020 Oct 1;38(10):1254-1266. doi: 10.1002/stem.3235. Epub 2020 Jun 16. PMID: 32497296; PMCID: PMC7529900.
  4. Metzger JM, Lopez MS, Schmidt JK, Murphy ME, Vemuganti R, Emborg ME. Effects of Cardiac Sympathetic Neurodegeneration and PPARγ Activation on Rhesus Macaque Whole Blood miRNA and mRNA Expression Profiles. Biomed Res Int. 2020 May 2;2020:9426204. doi: 10.1155/2020/9426204. PMID: 32462037; PMCID: PMC7212295.
  5. Razzoli M, Lindsay A, Law ML, Chamberlain CM, Southern WM, Berg M, Osborn J, Engeland WC, Metzger JM, Ervasti JM, Bartolomucci A. Social stress is lethal in the mdx model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. EBioMedicine. 2020 May;55:102700. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2020.102700. Epub 2020 Mar 16. PMID: 32192914; PMCID: PMC7251247.
  6. Zhang W, Metzger JM, Hackel BJ, Bates FS, Lodge TP. Influence of the Headgroup on the Interaction of Poly(ethylene oxide)-Poly(propylene oxide) Block Copolymers with Lipid Bilayers. J Phys Chem B. 2020 Mar 26;124(12):2417-2424. doi: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.0c00553. Epub 2020 Mar 16. PMID: 32175743; PMCID: PMC7302449.
  7. Law ML, Cohen H, Martin AA, Angulski ABB, Metzger JM. Dysregulation of Calcium Handling in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy-Associated Dilated Cardiomyopathy: Mechanisms and Experimental Therapeutic Strategies. J Clin Med. 2020 Feb 14;9(2):520. doi: 10.3390/jcm9020520. PMID: 32075145; PMCID: PMC7074327.
  8. Metzger JM, Matsoff HN, Zinnen AD, Fleddermann RA, Bondarenko V, Simmons HA, Mejia A, Moore CF, Emborg ME. Post mortem evaluation of inflammation, oxidative stress, and PPARγ activation in a nonhuman primate model of cardiac sympathetic neurodegeneration. PLoS One. 2020 Jan 7;15(1):e0226999. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0226999. PMID: 31910209; PMCID: PMC6946159.
  9. Zhang W, Coughlin ML, Metzger JM, Hackel BJ, Bates FS, Lodge TP. Influence of Cholesterol and Bilayer Curvature on the Interaction of PPO-PEO Block Copolymers with Liposomes. Langmuir. 2019 Jun 4;35(22):7231-7241. doi: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.9b00572. Epub 2019 May 22. PMID: 31117745; PMCID: PMC7050598.
  10. Houang EM, Bartos J, Hackel BJ, Lodge TP, Yannopoulos D, Bates FS, Metzger JM. Cardiac Muscle Membrane Stabilization in Myocardial Reperfusion Injury. JACC Basic Transl Sci. 2019 Apr 29;4(2):275-287. doi: 10.1016/j.jacbts.2019.01.009. PMID: 31061929; PMCID: PMC6488758.

Full list of publications at Experts@Minnesota.

Lab Members

Lab Coordinator

Brian Thompson

Brian Thompson, Ph.D.
Ph.D. Biochemistry, Univ. of Minnesota
Projects: Molecular and integrative biology and physiology of heart and muscle function in health and disease




Post-Doctoral Associates

Nora Ahmed, Ph.D.
Ph.D., University of Minnesota.
Assistant Lecturer of Medical Biochemistry & Molecular Biology,
Faculty of Medicine, Suez Canal University, Egypt
Research: CRISPR editing


Addeli Spies

Addeli Bez Batti Angulski Spies, Ph.D.
Ph.D. Biosciences and Biotechnology, Carlos Chagas Institute, Brazil.
Project: DMD/dystrophin




Dongwoo Hahn, Ph.D.
Ph.D., University of Florida.
Research: Effect of copolymer P188 as a membrane stabilizer in the contraction, calcium handling, and membrane potential from the isolated mdx skeletal muscle


Ashley Martin, Ph.D.
Ph.D., University of Chicago.
Research: Regulation of the C. elegans nicotinic acetylcholine receptor ACR-16


Graduate Student

Houda Cohen

Houda Cohen, M.D.
M.D., University of Hassan II Medical School, Casablanca, Morocco
Project: cardiac reprogramming/cachexia




Research Scientists

Jack Bauer
B.S., University of Minnesota
Project: dystrophin structure-function


Brianna Hiukka
University of Minnesota, anticipated graduation 12/2021
Project: Cardiac cachexia


Jeff Schreifels

Jeff Schreifels
B.S., B.S., Biotechnology & Biology minor in Chemistry, St. Cloud State Univ.
Project: gene editing




Undergraduate Students

Courtney Rix
Noelle Yang
Alexia Yang