Department Chairs

Stephen C. Cannon, MD, PhD · Chair
Yousang Gwack, PhD · Executive Vice Chair
Laura DeNardo, PhD · Vice Chair for JEDI

Stephen C. Cannon, MD, PhD

Our laboratory studies how ion channels regulate the electrical excitability of cells and how defects in these channels lead to human disease. We have focused on a group of inherited conditions that alter the electrical excitability of skeletal muscle, including periodic paralysis and myotonia. Techniques applied toward this work include cellular electrophysiology , mathematical modeling, and genetically engineered mouse models.

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Yousang Gwack, PhD

Receptor stimulation triggers Ca2+ entry via Ca2-release-activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channels. CRAC channels are crucial for the immune response. Recently, we identified the pore subunit of the CRAC channels, Orai1. Presently we are trying to identify novel regulators of Orai1 and to understand the physiological role of the CRAC channel using animal models.

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Laura DeNardo, PhD

Our lab seeks to understand the organization of cortical circuits underlying adaptive behaviors. Toward this end, we use innovative genetic tools and imaging technologies to define the connectivity and function of cells in the medial prefrontal cortex that contribute to behavior, and to identify the molecular cues that wire these circuits during development.

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Fayal Abderemane-Ali, PhD

Our laboratory investigates how ion channels work and are regulated by their partner proteins, in health and disease. We are also interested in developing new pharmacological tools that can effectively and specifically modulate these microscopic electrical generators crucial to human physiology. To perform this work, we utilize electrophysiological, biochemical, structural, and pharmacological approaches.

Jeffrey S. Abramson, PhD

Our lab uses x-ray crystallography and a number of biochemical techniques to probe mechanisms of transport for several types of channels and transporters. The lab is an ideal format for hands-on learning with many interdepartmental collaborations.

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Ambre Bertholet, PhD

Our lab explores how mitochondria distribute energy between ATP and heat, and thus define the metabolic homeostasis of the cell. Our lab will explore the mechanisms of bioenergetics using the novel mitochondrial patch-clamp assay combined with modern cellular and molecular techniques with the goal of providing a fundamental understanding of how energy production and basal metabolism control physiology.

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Lindsay De Biase, Ph.D.

Our lab studies how microglial cells impact normal and pathological circuit function. We focus on the basal ganglia, circuits that are involved in reward and motivation, and where microglia show highly specialized phenotypes across distinct nuclei. Techniques used include electrophysiology, advanced imaging, and molecular biology.

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Marino DiFranco, PhD

My research focuses on skeletal muscle physiology and pathophysiology, including electrophysiology and calcium homeostasis, regulation of the sodium-potassium pump, and optogenetic control of muscle excitability. To this end I use electrophysiological, optical, molecular biology and optogenetic tools.

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Tamir Gonen, PhD

Our laboratory studies the structures of membrane proteins important in homeostasis and signaling. We develop new tools in structural biology, namely MicroED as a new method for cryo EM, to facilitate the study of such membrane proteins to atomic resolution from vanishingly small crystals.

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Baljit S. Khakh, PhD

We seek to understand the role of ATP signaling and glia in the operations of neural circuits. To this end, we utilize a number of methods including engineered receptors and proteins, imaging, mouse genetics and electrophysiology. The mouse, the microscope and the electrode are the core tools of the lab.

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Thomas J. O'Dell, PhD
We are interested in learning and memory as well as synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus. The laboratory uses a range of methods such as biochemistry, electrophysiology, behavioral analysis and designer mice carrying modified receptors and proteins.

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Sonal Srikanth, Ph.D

Our lab is interested in understanding the role of store-operated Ca2+ entry components in regulation of innate and adaptive immune cell functions and in immune deficiencies in humans. We and others have identified Orai and STIM proteins as critical sub units of store-operated Ca2+ channels in various cell types including T cells. To this end, we utilize various tools including, cutting-edge microscopy, primary immune cells from genetically-engineered animals and animal models for autoimmune and infectious diseases.

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Peipei Ping, PhD

My current current research focuses on understanding of proteome biology in cardiovascular medicine, with interest on alterations of subproteomes encoding signaling pathways and cellular organelles during cardiac pathogenesis. Specifically: Mitochondrial and Proteasome Biology in the Heart, and Cardiac Organellar Protein atlas Knowledgebase (COPaKB).

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Hui Sun, PhD

Receptors belong to the most successful therapeutic targets in medicine. The long-term goal of the Sun lab is to develop innovative techniques to discover and study membrane receptors that play critical roles in physiology and diseases and to identify small molecules that modulate their activities.

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Secondary Appointments

Gregory Brent, MD

We focus on understanding the mechanism of thyroid hormone and retinoic acid regulation of metabolism and neural development. We also study approaches to augment the expression of the sodium/iodide symporter (NIS) in models of thyroid and breast cancer to permit treatment with systemic radioactive iodide. We utilize cellular and mouse models.

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Linda Demer, MD, PhD

We are uncovering the mechanism of artery wall calcification in atherosclerosis, providing evidence that it involves inflammatory cytokines triggering differentiation of vascular stem cells into osteogenic cells and recapitulating the mechanism of biomineralization in skeletal bone.

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Jared Diamond, PhD*
*primary appointment in Department of Geography


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Eduardo Marban, MD, PhD*
*primary appointment at Cedars-Sinai
As director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, my research focuses upon the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in heart disease using multidisciplinary approaches including gene therapy, stem cells and drug treatments for heart attack, heart failure and stroke.

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Holly Middlekauff, MD

We are investigating decreased exercise capacity in humans with heart failure. We are focusing on their: 1) abnormal reflex control of the sympathetic nervous system during exercise, and 2) abnormal excitation-contraction coupling in the skeletal muscle.

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Istvan Mody, PhD

Our laboratory is currently studying the pathophysiology of a genocopy model of ADNFLE, investigating hormonally-mediated alterations related to catamenial epilepsy, determining the contribution of specific cell types in organizing and maintaining network oscillations in the hippocampus, and the role of extrasynaptic inhibition in temporal lobe epilepsy.

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Riccardo Olcese, PhD

Ion channels and cellular excitability are central themes of the research programs developed in the Olcese laboratory, which integrates molecular-level biophysical studies with organ-wide phenomena of clinical significance, such as cardiac arrhythmias. The quantitative tools of biophysics are used in a translational context in combination with protein biochemistry, molecular biology, fluorescence spectroscopy, and electrophysiology, to understand the role of ion channels and their mechanisms of electrical and chemical sensing in health and disease.

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Rene R.S. Packard, MD, PhD

Tamer I. Sallam, MD, PhD

Research Interest: Inspired by common real-world mysteries and taking a “gene regulation centric” approach, our lab investigates the physiologic contributions and mechanisms of Regulatory RNAs in cardiometabolic diseases. Our ongoing efforts are focused on 1) noncoding RNAs and their binding partners in metabolism and atherosclerosis, 2)Epigenetic and transcriptional control mechanisms in metabolism, and 3) RNA modifications in metabolic regulation.

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Yin Tintut, PhD

Research Interest: Using in vitro cell culture and mouse models, we investigate the role of inflammation on biomineralization in artery wall, aortic valve and bone.

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Thomas Vondriska, PhD

My lab uses a systems biology approach to study chromatin structure. We examine the role of histones, non-nucleosomal chromatin structural proteins and chromatin remodeling enzymes on complex phenotypes,particularly heart disease. We also have several collaborative projects using proteomics to address various questions in signal transduction and chromatin

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Shimon Weiss, DSc

Our group develops and applies ultrahigh-resolution, ultrahigh-sensitivity fluorescence imaging and spectroscopy tools. The ability to watch one molecule at a time obtains unique information on distribution functions of relevant observables, resolve subpopulations in heterogeneous samples, and record hidden asynchronous time trajectories of observables.

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Francisco J. Bezanilla, PhD  (emeritus)
Allan J. Brady, PhD  (emeritus)
Jennifer S. Buchwald(-Baerwald), PhD (emeritus)
Christopher Cooper, MD (emeritus)

Joy S. Frank, PhD  (emeritus)


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Alan D. Grinnell, PhD  (emeritus)
Earl Homsher, PhD  (emeritus)

Sally J. Krasne, PhD (emeritus)

Michael S. Letinsky, PhD  (emeritus)
Emeran Mayer, MD
Diane M. Papazian, PhD

Kenneth D. Philipson, PhD   (emeritus)

Bernard Ribalet, PhD (emeritus)
Kenneth P. Roos, PhD   (emeritus)

Eduardo H. Rubinstein MD, PhD  (emeritus)
Enrico Stefani, MD, PhD   (emeritus)

Julio M. Vergara, PhD
Yibin Wang, PhD
Nancy L. Wayne, PhD
James Weiss, MD

Ernest M. Wright, DSc