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Eric Olson, PhD

Professor & Chairman
Department of Molecular Biology
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
5323 Harry Hines Blvd
Dallas, Texas, United States

Eric received a B.A. in Chemistry and Biology and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry.  After postdoctoral training at Washington University School of Medicine, he joined the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at MD Anderson Cancer Center in 1984 and became chairman of the department in 1991.  In 1996, he founded the Department of Molecular Biology at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

In 2014, Dr. Olson founded the Center for Regenerative Science and Medicine at UT Southwestern, which is advancing new strategies for organ regeneration, and has been supported by a special appropriation from the state of Texas.  Olson also directs the Wellstone Center for Muscular Dystrophy Research at UT Southwestern, which connects clinicians and scientists with the common goal of curing muscular dystrophy.  He holds the Robert A. Welch Distinguished Chair, the Pogue Chair Distinguished Chair in Cardiac Birth Defects and the Annie and Willie Nelson Professorship in Stem Cell Research.

Eric and his trainees discovered many of the key transcription factors and mechanisms responsible for development of the heart and other muscles.  His laboratory also unveiled the signaling pathways responsible for pathological cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure.  Olson’s discoveries at the interface of developmental biology and medicine have illuminated the fundamental principles of organ formation and have provided new concepts in the quest for cardiovascular therapeutics.

He has co-founded multiple biotechnology companies to design new therapies for heart muscle disease.  The technology underlying Exonics Therapeutics’ gene editing approach is licensed from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and is based on research from the laboratory of Olson, Exonics’ founder and chief science advisor.


Representative Publications:

Genome Editing of Monogenic Neuromuscular Diseases: A Systematic Review

Postnatal genome editing partially restores dystrophin expression in a mouse model of muscular dystrophy

A peptide encoded by a transcript annotated as long noncoding RNA enhances SERCA activity in muscle

A micropeptide encoded by a putative long noncoding RNA regulates muscle performance

Prevention of muscular dystrophy in mice by CRISPR/Cas9-mediated editing of germline DNA