Dr. Vahab Soleimani

Dr. Vahab Soleimani
Dr. Vahab Soleimani
Associate Professor

BSc University of Ottawa
PhD, University of Ottawa

Roger Guindon Hall, 4113 (office), 4253 (lab)
(613) 562-5800 x7771


Dr. Soleimani received his BSc (biology, biotechnology) from the University of Ottawa in 1998 and, in 2005, obtained his PhD from the University of Ottawa, where he studied the effect of mobile DNA elements on the evolution of genome. He then did a postdoctoral fellowship at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) where he studied the molecular basis of myogenic differentiation and muscle stem cell function. In 2014 he joined the Department of Human Genetic at McGill University as an Assistant Professor and established a research laboratory at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research until 2023. In 2023 he joined the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Immunology at the University of Ottawa as an Associate Professor where he conducts research in regenerative medicine and muscle stem cell biology.

Major research activities

Muscle stem cells, also called satellite cells are undifferentiated cells that reside within our skeletal muscle tissues and are critical for the repair and maintenance of muscle throughout our adult life. However, during aging and under various muscles wasting diseases such as muscular dystrophies and cachexia their ability to repair and maintain muscle tissue is dramatically compromised either because of their depletion or because of the loss of their regenerative function. Although muscle stem cell-based therapies hold great promise for the treatment of muscle wasting diseases, their clinical applications are limited because of our knowledge gap on how their function is regulated. The focus of our laboratory is to explore novel molecular networks and epigenetic regulators that maintain the regenerative capacity of muscle stem cells. Key areas of interest in our laboratory are:

  1. Genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of muscle stem cell self-renewal and differentiation.
  2. Exploring molecular interactions between muscle stem and niche cells and how diseases impact such interactions.
  3. Exploring novel compounds and pathways that can rejuvenate muscle stem cells in aging.

Selected publications

  • Lazure F, Farouni R, Sahinyan K, Blackburn DM, Hernández-Corchado A, Perron G, Lu T, Osakwe A, Ragoussis J, Crist C, Perkins TJ, Jahani-Asl A, Najafabadi HS, Soleimani VD. (2023) Transcriptional reprogramming of skeletal muscle stem cells by the niche environment. Nature Communications
  • Korin Sahinyan, Darren M. Blackburn, Marie-Michelle Simon, Felicia Lazure, Tony, Guillaume Bourque, Vahab D. Soleimani (2022) Application of ATAC-Seq for genome-wide analysis of the chromatin state at single myofiber resolution. eLife.
  • Felicia Lazure, Duy Nguyen, Darren M. Blackburn, Korin Sahinyan1, Nabila Karam, Aldo H.  Corchado, Arezu Jahani-Asl, Hamed S. Najafabadi, Christoph Lepper, Theodore J. Perkins, and Vahab D. Soleimani (2020). Myf6/MRF4 is a Myogenic Niche Regulator Required for Maintenance of Muscle Stem Cell Pool. EMBO Reports
  • Darren M. Blackburn, Felicia Lazure, Theodore J. Perkins and Vahab D. Soleimani(2019). High Resolution Genome Wide Analysis of Single Myofibers using SMART-Seq. Journal of Biological Chemistry.
  • Vahab D Soleimani, Duy Nguyen, Parameswaran Ramachandran, Hang Yin, Gareth A Palidwor, Christopher J Porter, Theodore J Perkins and Michael A. Rudnicki. (2018). Cis-Regulatory Determinants of MyoD Function. Nucleic Acid Research
  • Vahab D. Soleimani, Hang Yin, Arezu jahani-Asl, Christel E.M. Kockx Wilfred F.J. van IJcken Frank Grosveld and Michael A. Rudnicki. (2012). Snail regulates MyoD binding-site occupancy to direct enhancer switching and differentiation-specific transcription in myogenesis. Molecular Cell.