Department of Physiology & Biophysics

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Students researching in the lab within the Department of Physiology & Biophysics

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Department of Physiology & Biophysics seminar series - Physiology Conference Room

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The Department of Physiology & Biophysics consists of world-class scientists and teachers. We are dedicated to excellence in research, training and education as we push the frontiers of scientific discovery. Join us in the joy of discovery.

We take pride in training medical, nursing and graduate students who will implement and fulfill that future. Our department provides a warm, collegial, and welcoming environment for budding scientists and established investigators alike. We work side by side investigating the physiological processes that underlie both normal and pathological human body functions.

Our internationally recognized research applies innovative experimental approaches to define fundamental molecular mechanisms within these processes as both putative points of pathological failure and potential targets for new therapeutic interventions.

Department of Physiology & Biophysics in the News

Carolina Figueroa, PhD
Faculty Accomplishments
Congratulations to Carolina Figueroa, PhD
Carolina Figueroa, PhD is now an assistant professor. Congratulations on her promotion!
Carlo Manno, PhD
Faculty Accomplishments
Congratulations to Carlo Manno, PhD
Carlo Manno, PhD is now an assistant professor. Congratulations on his promotion!
Lothar A. Blatter, MD, Dr.med.
Faculty Accomplishments

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute awarded Lothar A. Blatter, MD, Dr.med. (Physiology & Biophysics) and Kathrin Banach, PhD (Cardiology/Internal Medicine) a $2.7 million grant to research of calcium regulation in the atria that controls activity and contraction, but also arrhythmic activity and atrial fibrillation. In the heart contraction is controlled by calcium ions that are released from intracellular calcium stores. This calcium release occurs through two different ion channels, termed the ryanodine receptor and the IP3 receptor. The importance of the IP3 receptor is controversial, however there is growing evidence, established by the PIs of this study, that IP3 receptor dysfunction causes atrial rhythm disorders. In this study the PIs will investigate the novel hypothesis that atrial IP3 receptors are co-regulated by the cellular messenger IP3 and reactive oxygen species in defined cellular signaling domains. The understanding of the IP3 receptor regulatory mechanisms will provide the basis for the development of novel strategies for prevention and treatment of atrial fibrillation.

Rush Announcement - Read More…

Grant on NIH Reporter - Read More…

Josefina Ramos-Franco, MD, PhD
Faculty Accomplishments
Congratulations to Josefina Ramos-Franco, MD, PhD
Josefina Ramos-Franco, MD, PhD is now an associate professor. Congratulations on her promotion!
Lothar A. Blatter, M.D., Dr.med.
Faculty Accomplishments
Lothar A. Blatter, M.D., Dr.med. Named John H. and Margaret V. Krehbiel Professor of Cardiology
Lothar A. Blatter, M.D., Dr.med., was named the John H. and Margaret V. Krehbiel Professor of Cardiology, effective December 1, 2021.
Xun Ai, MD
Faculty Accomplishments

Xun Ai, MD, was named the John H. and Margaret V. Krehbiel Professor of Cardiology, effective July 1, 2021.  Read More…

Basic Science PPE Donation
Department News
Our department’s Dr. Xun Ai led a Basic Science PPE donation drive to help support Rush’s front line heroes during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Through the philanthropy of the faculty & staff of the Rush basic science departments, this drive ultimately collected $2,755 and donated about 3,000 surgical masks (FDA approved) and 3,000 gloves to the Rush supply chain on April 24, 2020.
Xun Ai, MD
Faculty Accomplishments

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute awarded Xun Ai, MD, associate professor, physiology and biophysics, Rush Medical College, a five-year, $2.4 million grant to research the link between atrial fibrillation and thrombogenesis. Xun Ai, MD, associate professor, physiology and biophysics, Rush Medical College, and her team seek to establish a previously unrecognized crosstalk between heart and platelets and uncover the role of cardiac JNK2 in the development of both atrial fibrillation and thrombogenesis. Researchers will use results of the study, Heart-platelet Crosstalk: JNK, AF, and Thrombogenesis, to form a foundation toward developing novel therapies to treat and prevent atrial fibrillation and stroke.

2018 JACC Editor Top Picks
Faculty Accomplishments
The article “Role of Stress Kinase JNK in Binge Alcohol-Evoked Atrial Arrhythmia” of Jiajie Yan, PhD at the research laboratory of Xun Ai, MD, was selected as “Editor-in-Chief’s Top Picks from 2018” in Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
tom-decoursey-lab-physiology
Faculty News
Thomas DeCoursey, PhD, Vladimir Cherny, PhD, Deri Morgan, PhD, and collaborators from Georgia recently identified the first proton channel gene from a snail.  Read more…
Tom Shannon, PhD
Faculty Accomplishments
Thomas Shannon, DVM, PhD, associate professor, received a Brainard Award for teaching excellence in 2017.
Yuriana Aguilar, PhD
Faculty News
Yuriana Aguilar, PhD is Following Her DREAM.
Brought to the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant when she was five, Yuriana earned a PhD and became a heart researcher – and an unexpected spokesperson for other immigrants…
Learn More
Tom Shannon, PhD
Faculty Accomplishments
Thomas Shannon, DVM, PhD, associate professor, recently received a SCORE Positive Learning Environment Award and a Brainard Award for teaching excellence in 2016.
Robert Eisenberg, PhD, discusses his most significant contributions to physiology and his most influential career mentors.
Faculty News
Life Glimpsed through Ion Channels A Super Short Scientific Biography
In this installment of the American Physiological Society (APS) Living History of Physiology series, Robert S. Eisenberg, PhD, discusses how he became interested in science, his most significant contributions to physiology and his most influential career mentors. He also offers advice to students starting out in science today. Dr. Eisenberg was interviewed by Martin Frank, PhD, at Rush Medical College in Chicago.

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