Brett Colson, PhD

Assistant Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (Tenure-track)

University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Molecular Biology (BS), May 2004          
Mentor: Walt R. Stevenson, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Physiology (MS), August 2006
Mentor: Richard L. Moss, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Physiology (PhD), December 2009
Mentor: Richard L. Moss, Ph.D.
Doctoral Dissertation: “Regulation of Myocardial Cross-bridge Cycling Kinetics by Myosin Binding Protein-C: Structural Insights from X-Ray Diffraction Studies.”
Dissertation Advisor: Richard L. Moss, Ph.D.
External Advisor: Thomas C. Irving, Ph.D. (Illinois Institute of Technology)
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Post-doctoral Fellow: Biochemistry & Biophysics, December 2012
Mentor: David D. Thomas, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Research Associate: Biochemistry & Biophysics, August 2015
Mentor: David D. Thomas, Ph.D.
Additional Education/Certifications:
National School on Neutron and X-ray Scattering, Argonne National Laboratories.
Argonne, IL (July, 2006)
Selected to attend this one-week program on the ANL campus, designed to provide intensive training for graduate students with a research focus in the use of major neutron and X-ray facilities (synchrotron). 1 of 40 students accepted annually out of 275 applicants.
Eureka Institute for Translational Medicine, Certificate Program
Siracusa, Italy (April, 2016)
Selected to participate in this one-week ‘boot-camp’ style certificate program for intensive training in translational medicine.


Honors and Awards: 

2006     Graduated from the National School on Neutron and X-ray Scattering, Argonne National Laboratories. 1 of 40 students accepted annually out of 275 applicants.

2007     Press release, “Deconstructing Heart Muscle.” Appeared in the Advanced Photon Source (APS) Annual Report. Article was written by J. R. Minkel, a contributing journalist to Scientific American, based on my J Mol Biol 2007 publication, recognized as one of the outstanding research results from the Biophysics Collaborative Access Team (BioCAT) X-ray facility located at the APS.

2008     Cover Figure for August 1, 2008 issue of Circulation Research (103, 244-251). This figure was also used as the cover image for large format posters to advertise journal at national scientific meetings, such as American Heart Association meetings.

2016     First author manuscript selected for editorial commentary in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

2016    Selected to attend/graduated from Eureka Institute for Translational Medicine Certificate Program, Sicily, Italy

Major Areas of Research Interest: 

The research goal of my laboratory is to understand the molecular motions of muscle proteins that finely-tune the heart’s contractile performance. We then use these insights from our mechanistic studies to design novel molecular therapies for heart failure and cardiovascular disease. Using site-directed spectroscopy, with high resolution in both space and time, we decipher the molecular dynamics in these proteins involved with controlling the strength and speed of cardiac muscle contraction. We attach fluorescent probes to track protein motions and myosin cross-bridge orientation in muscle fibers, and assess the associated functional characteristics including protein binding and force development in the muscle cell. The primary focus of our current research is to understand the relationship between the structural and biochemical transitions in cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying dysfunction in muscle disease. Specifically, how genetic mutations in myosin binding protein-C (MyBP-C) cause the development of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, leading to arrhythmias, heart failure, and sudden cardiac death. Current research projects in my lab also include spectroscopic studies of actin and myosin structural dynamics related to other human physiology and disease phenomena, such as post-translational modifications in the fight-or-flight stress response (beta-adrenergic signaling) and roles of sex hormones in aging (muscle weakness and metabolism).

Selected Publications: 

Palumbo S, Shin Y, Ahmad K, Desai A, Quijada H, Mohamed M, Knox A, Colson B, Sammani S, Wang T, Garcia JGN, and Hecker L. 2017. Dysregulated Nox4 ubiquitination contributes to redox imbalance and age-related severity of acute lung injury.  American Journal of Physiology – Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology. 312(3):297-308. PubMed ID: 28062482

Lai S, Collins BC, Colson BA, Kararigas G, Lowe DA. 2016. Estradiol Modulates Myosin Regulatory Light Chain Phosphorylation and Contractility in Skeletal Muscle of Female Mice. American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism. 310(9):724-733. PubMed ID: 26956186

Colson, BA, Thompson AR, Espinoza-Fonseca LM, Thomas DD. 2016. Site-directed Spectroscopy of Cardiac Myosin Binding Protein-C Reveals Effects of Phosphorylation on Protein Structural Dynamics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 113(12):3233-3238. PubMed ID: 126908877

Colson BA, Petersen KJ, Collins BC, Lowe DA, Thomas DD. 2015. The Myosin Super-Relaxed State is Disrupted by Estradiol Deficiency. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 456(1):151-155. PubMed ID: 25446114

Espinoza-Fonseca LM, Colson BA, Thomas DD. 2014. Effects of Pseudophosphorylation Mutants on the Structural Dynamics of Smooth Muscle Myosin Regulatory Light Chain. Molecular Biosystems. 10(10): 2693-2698. PubMed ID: 25091814

Colson BA, Rybakova IN, Prochniewicz E, Moss RL, Thomas DD. 2012. Cardiac Myosin Binding Protein-C Restricts Intrafilament Torsional Dynamics of Actin in a Phosphorylation-dependent Manner. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 109(5):20437-42. PubMed ID: 23169656

Colson BA, Gruber SJ, Thomas DD. 2012. Structural Dynamics of Muscle Protein Phosphorylation. Journal of Muscle Research and Cellular Motility. 33(6): 419-429. PubMed ID: 22930331

Colson BA, Patel JR, Chen PP, Bekyarova T, Abdalla MI, Tong CW, Fitzsimons DP, Irving TC, Moss RL. 2012. Myosin Binding Protein-C Phosphorylation is the Principal Mediator of Protein Kinase A Effects on Thick Filament Structure in Myocardium. Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology. 53(5):609-616. PubMed ID: 22850286


NIH High School Student Research Program: 

Harun Abdi, Desert View High School, 2017

Tuesday, August 29, 2017