Melissa J. Spencer

Melissa J Spencer

Professor, Neurology, University of California Los Angeles


Office Address:
635 Charles Young Dr. So
mail code 703422
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Fax Number:

Work Address:
635 Charles E. Young Dr. So
mail code 733422
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Lab Number:
(310) 267-4582

Research Interests

The Spencer lab is focused on understanding mechanisms and identifying treatments for the genetically inherited muscular dystrophies.


Dr. Melissa Spencer is Professor of Neurology and Neuromuscular Program Director in the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. She obtained her PhD from UCLA and established her independent lab in 1999. Her lab utilizes advanced genetic engineering technology to develop new treatments for Duchenne muscular dystrophy and limb girdle muscular dystrophy.  These approaches include CRISPR based gene editing platforms as well as gene replacement therapies.  The lab is interested in both non-viral and viral delivery approaches for delivering these therapies. In collaboration with Drs. Courtney Young and April Pyle, they developed a CRISPR based therapy that is being translated through their startup MyoGene Bio. The Spencer lab is also interested in defining how the immune system promotes muscular dystrophy and as a separate line of inquiry, how immune cells respond to AAV exposure. Understanding this interaction can lead to new therapeutic targets to improve the safety and efficacy of gene therapies that rely on AAV as a delivery vehicle. Dr. Spencer serves on the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy and the Coalition to Cure Calpain 3.  She was awarded a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2001.