Louis M. Kunkel, PhD, is internationally recognized in the field of human genetics and the genetics of muscular dystrophy in particular. Over the past three decades, Lew has devoted his career to understanding the molecular basis and developing a therapy for neuromuscular disorders and muscular dystrophy.
His major accomplishments include the discovery of the gene that causes Duchenne muscular dystrophy (1986) and being the first to pinpoint that gene’s importance in producing the critically needed muscle protein, dystrophin (1987). In the 1990s, Lou demonstrated that injection of either blood stem cells or muscle stem cells can partially restore dystrophin in affected skeletal muscles—a finding that may lead to treatments for many types of muscle diseases.
Lou has authored over 200 journal articles and 20 book chapters, and received more than 20 awards and honors for scientific leadership and achievement, including memberships in prestigious academies. He holds various director and chairman roles and is a professor of pediatrics and genetics at Harvard Medical School.