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Kathryn R. Wagner, M.D., Ph.D.
Kennedy Krieger Institute
801 N. Broadway
Baltimore, MD 21205
Phone: (443) 923-9525
Dr. Kathryn Wagner is the director of the Center for Genetic Muscle Disorders at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and an associate professor of neurology and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
Dr. Wagner obtained her undergraduate degree from Yale University, graduating summa cum laude with honors in biology. She participated in the NIH-funded medical scientist training program and obtained her medical and doctoral degrees at Johns Hopkins. Her thesis work in the laboratory of Richard Huganir, Ph.D., included the original cloning and characterization of the dystrophin-associated protein, dystrobrevin.
She completed her internship in internal medicine and residency in neurology at Johns Hopkins. She went on to complete a neuromuscular fellowship at Hopkins and a clinical neurogenetics fellowship with Kenneth Fischbeck, M.D., at the National Institutes of Health. With Dr. Fischbeck, she conducted the first clinical trial attempting to suppress nonsense mutations in Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients. In 2000, Dr. Wagner joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins, and in June 2009, joined the Kennedy Krieger Institute to allow her patients with muscular dystrophy to benefit from the institute's historical strengths in rehabilitation and neurogenetics.
Dr. Wagner focuses her laboratory and clinical research on developing methods to promote muscle regeneration. A major emphasis has been on modulating myostatin, a potent regulator of muscle growth. Dr. Wagner and her colleagues have shown that myostatin inhibition improves several of the features of the dystrophic mdx mouse model and that loss of myostatin in humans is associated with increased muscle mass. Furthermore, Dr. Wagner’s laboratory has shown that inhibition of myostatin stimulates muscle stem cells, dramatically improving muscle regeneration while reducing fibrosis. Her work, as well as others in the field, has led to development of myostatin inhibitors by several pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Wagner was the principal investigator of a clinical trial of one such inhibitor of myostatin, MYO-029 developed by Wyeth, in adults with muscular dystrophy. Myostatin inhibition with novel pharmacologic agents is a current goal of Dr. Wagner’s research for Duchenne and Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy.