Selected News Articles
8th Cardiovascular Symposium Receives Inaugural School of Medicine Impact Symposia Award
Congratulations to Drs. Don Bers, Ele Grandi and Manuel Navedo for receiving School of Medicine’s Inaugural Impact Symposia Award for support towards the 2025 UC Davis Cardiovascular Symposium! This School of Medicine funding initiative was implemented to help departments within the School of Medicine to host high quality symposia that advance its research mission and bring thought leaders to campus and raise awareness of its research excellence. To this purpose, the team was awarded $15,000 in funds which will help to enhance the 2025 symposium. Drs. Bers, Grandi and Navedo are also preparing to submit an NIH-R13 proposal which, if funded, will further ensure this to be a successful event.
The 8th UC Davis Cardiovascular Symposium will be held February 20 and 21, 2025 at the UC Davis Conference Center and will feature local and international experts and trainees. More details can be found HERE.
Department Faculty Re-appointed as Chair of Grad Groups
We are proud to announce the re-appointments of Dr. Elva Diaz as Chair of the Neuroscience Graduate Group and Dr. Manuel F. Navedo as Chair of the Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Physiology Graduate Group. Dr. Diaz re-appointment was highlighted by “uniformly laudatory comments received, as well as your record of direct mentorship over an extended period of time in multiple Graduate Groups”. Dr. Navedo re-appointment was highlighted by “prodigious service on campus and advanced degree committees while producing a commendable record of research… dedication to DEI efforts”. The leadership shown by our departmental Faculty in chairing graduate programs highlight our commitment to graduate education and the development of a diverse graduate student body. We are proud and thankful for their efforts in these graduate groups. Congratulations to all!
Software developed at UC Davis analyzes calcium ‘sparks’ that can contribute to arrhythmia
A new study by a team of UC Davis and University of Oxford researchers has developed an innovative tool: SparkMaster 2. The open-source software allows scientists to analyze normal and abnormal calcium signals in cells automatically. The study was published in the prestigious journal Circulation Research. The software was developed by Drs. Jakub Tomek, Chris Ko and Donald Bers, with contributions from Drs. Madeline Nieves-Cintron and Manuel Navedo in our department.
"SparkMaster 2 is even easier to use and is much more powerful in the variety of event types it can analyze quantitatively — sparks, waves, mini-waves and latencies. And it has higher accuracy and sensitivity, resulting in fewer missed events and fewer erroneous positives," Bers said.
"It was great to present SparkMaster 2 at recent conferences and see the enthusiastic response. I felt it would be an outlier and that few people would care. But many people were excited about having a new analysis tool that overcomes many of the limitations they have experienced with prior tools," Tomek said.
Pharm Faculty Receives Mentoring/Advising Award
We are proud to announce that Department Faculty Dr. Madeline Nieves Cintron and Dr. Stefano Morotti have received the 2023 Graduate Program Advising and Mentoring Award. Dr. Nieves-Cintron received her award for her work with students in the Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology Graduate Group, and Dr. Morotti received his award for his work with students in the Biophysics Graduate Group. This award recognizes the dedication and passion shown by Drs. Nieves-Cintron and Morotti in guiding, advising and mentoring graduate students. We are proud and thank them for all they do to provide a nurturing and stimulating environment for our graduate students.
Please see the official announcement here.
Elva Diaz wins ADVANCE Award
We are proud to announce that Dr. Elva Diaz has been selected to receive the 2023 ADVANCE Scholar Award. This award is given to two investigators each year in recognition for their outstanding commitment to diversity and equity in STEMM fields through research, teaching, and service and aims to celebrate the contributions to mentorship these investigators make to under-represented students within their field. Dr. Diaz has shown through great dedication in her mentorship and teaching practices as well as her involvement and leadership in Neuroscience Grad Group and Pharmacology Department DEI Committees to be well-deserving of this honor. Dr. Diaz will be honored at the ADVANCE Award Symposium in spring 2024 and is also provided the opportunity of participating on the ADVANCE selection committee for the 2024 awards.
Visit the ADVANCE Announcement page to read more about this outstanding recognition.
Donald Bers Wins Prestigious Mentorship Award
The Department of Pharmacology is proud to announce that Distinguished Professor Donald M. Bers, Chair of the Department, is the recipient of this year’s Eric N. Olson Mentorship Award (ENOMA) of the International Society for Heart Research North American Section (ISHR NAS).
The ENOMA is a distinguished award that recognizes investigators in the field with a clear dedication to mentorship and support for trainees and young scientists. Dr. Bers was competitively selected from a prestigious pool of nominees. His personalized mentoring style, founded upon a philosophy of generosity, was a major highlight in the nomination package collectively prepared by more than 10 current and former mentees across career stages from around the world.
Dr. Bers has now mentored >120 Ph.D. students, postdocs, and junior faculty, and a similar number of undergrads and specialists in his lab, many of whom have gone on to highly successful careers in academia, industry, grant administration, regulatory offices, publishing, and healthcare. His team of scientists and trainees has always consisted of a diverse group of international researchers, many coming from under-represented or under-resourced backgrounds, and nearly 50% of mentees have been female scientists at any given time.
Congratulations to Dr. Bers for this well-deserving recognition!
Visit the UC Davis Health news page to read more about this outstanding recognition.
Chen-Izu receives prestigious NHLBI Outstanding Investigator Award
We are proud to announce that Dr. Ye Chen-Izu was the recipient of a highly regarded NHLBI Outstanding Investigator Award. These awards are given for a 7-year period in recognition of the applicant’s potential to perform transformative work. The award provides extended support and flexibility to explore different aspects that advanced research in heart, lung and blood research. Dr. Chen-Izu will be using this award to continue her impactful research on the Mechano-chemo-electrical transduction in the heart in health and disease. To learn more about this accomplishment, please check out this news release.
New mouse study reveals a key process in how the brain forms memories
A new mouse study led by Dr. Xiang and his lab, has identified an intricate molecular process involving gene expression in the neurons that appears to play a critical role in memory consolidation. The research was published in Science Signaling.
“This is an exciting mechanism. It shows that an enzyme like phosphodiesterase is key in controlling gene expression necessary for memory consolidation,” said Yang K. Xiang, a professor in the Department of Pharmacology and senior author of the paper.
Xiang’s research focuses on understanding how dysregulation or impairment of cellular and molecular mechanisms in the heart and brain can lead to diseases like heart failure and Alzheimer’s.
New mouse study utilizing a new type of imaging technique shows cardiac reactions to ‘fight or flight’ hormone
We are proud to announce the recently published journal article by Pharmacology’s Drs. Crystal Ripplinger, Don Bers, Kevin Xiang, Manuel Navedo, Julie Bossuyt, Lianguo Wang, Jessica Caldwell, Rita Xu, and students Eric Lee, Lena Ngo and Sherif Bahriz. This incredibly significant paper details a new fluorescence imaging system developed by the team which allows for viewing cardiac reactions to ‘fight or flight’ hormone within male and female mice. This new imaging system could help to pin-point factors contributing to irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias), and ultimately lead to new therapies for treating heart diseases.
Visit the UC Davis Health news page to read more about this outstanding accomplishment by the group.
I-DARE Kick-off Event and Award Certificate Presentation for 2021-22
|Click on the images to enlarge.|
I-DARE challenge awardees: Jessica Caldwell, Chao-Yin Chen, Elva Diaz, Bence Hegyi, Mary Horne, Igor Vorobyov, Heike Wulff
Honorable mention (participated in more than half of the activities): Hai Nguyen, Madeline Nieves-Cintron, Daisuke Sato
Special thanks to the I-DARE taskforce members that led the I-DARE activities: Chao-Yin Chen, Elva Diaz, Ele Grandi, Mary Horne, Stefano Morotti, Madeline Nieves-Cintron, Dave Speca, Igor Vorobyov
UC Davis CVRI Retreat and Heart Day 2022
When: Friday, October 28, 2022 - 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Program Organizers: Drs. Donald Bers, Javier López, Martin Cadeiras, Uma Srivatsa and Nipavan Chiamvimonvat
Prestigious NIH grant helps UC Davis train researchers in drug discovery and development
The Department of Pharmacology has received a renewal of the prestigious NIH T32 training program grant. The funding will help educate the next generation of biomedical researchers in the concepts of drug discovery and development, inclusive of a clinical perspective.
Spearheaded by Johannes W. Hell and Donald M. Bers of the Department of Pharmacology at UC Davis Health, the program includes diverse faculty members from 14 departments in six UC Davis colleges, where extensive collaboration already exists.
Ele Grandi awarded the Graduate Program Advising and Mentoring Award
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Ele Grandi, who has been awarded the Graduate Program Advising and Mentoring Award! Dr. Grandi was awarded with this honor as recognition of her outstanding commitment to serving as an advisor and mentor for the Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology (MCIP) graduate group, as well as her important and positive impact she has had on all members of the MCIP group – students and fellow mentors alike.
Elva Diaz Selected as Director of the Grass Fellowship Program
Dr. Don Bers and the Department of Pharmacology would like to congratulate Dr. Elva Diaz who was selected as Director of the Grass Fellowship Program! As part of this honor, Dr. Diaz will be taking a Sabbatical Leave in the Summer of 2022, 2023 and 2024. During this time, Dr. Diaz will mentor the Grass Fellows, promising early-stage neuroscientists from across the world selected to conduct independent research projects. In addition, Dr. Diaz will be conducting her own research utilizing the resources and equipment of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
Dr. Diaz’ appointment as Director of the Grass Fellowship Foundation is truly a recognition of Dr. Diaz’s reputation and expertise in the neuroscience field, as well as represents outstanding recognition for UC Davis. Her research program will be greatly enhanced by the networking opportunities and resources available during the summer at MBL.
2021 AAAS Fellow
Congratulations to Dr. Johannes Hell who has just been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for 2021! Dr. Hell is one of nine UC Davis faculty who have been granted this great distinction. This honor is awarded to those who stand-out from their peers for their efforts in the advancement and applications of science, for which Dr. Hell has excelled in the area of Neuroscience along with his mentoring and training of students and junior scientists. Details on Dr. Hell’s achievement and the other UC Davis faculty can be found on the UC Davis Newsfeed.
2021-22 Chancellor’s Fellowships for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
We are excited and proud to announce that Dr. Elva Diaz in our department has been awarded the Chancellor's Fellowship for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This award is given to Academic Senate or Academic Federation members with a demonstrated and significant track record of abiding commitment to reducing opportunity gaps for underrepresented students and/or students from underserved communities. Dr. Diaz has stand out for her many contributions to DEI within the Department and throughout the main Campus. Dr. Diaz is also the Chair of the Department I-DARE Program. Congratulations!
New model translates heart research findings from animals to humans
We are proud to announce the recently published journal article by Pharmacology’s Drs. Stefano Morotti, Crystal Ripplinger, Andy Edwards, Ele Grandi, Donald Bers, Bence Hegyi, Haibo Ni, and Lianguo Wang. This incredibly significant paper details a new predictive model developed by the team which translates cardiac research findings across different animal species into human-specific insights. This model could help accelerate the drug development process, leading to new therapies for heart diseases, such as irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).
Visit the UC Davis Health news page to read more about this outstanding accomplishment by the group.
M&M Lab wins School of Medicine Safety Award
We are proud to announce that the M&M Lab, directed by Dr. Manuel F. Navedo and Dr. Madeline Nieves-Cintron, was awarded the UC Davis School of Medicine Safety Award. For the team, this Lab Safety Award recognizes the years-long safety efforts put forth by current and past members.
Expertscape World Expert in Potassium
Congratulations to Dr. Wulff who was placed in the top 0.1% of scholars writing about Potassium over the past 10 years by Expertscape! In recognition of Dr. Wulff’s achievement, Expertscape plans to tweet the following as part of our regular "Daily Experts" announcements on Wednesday, October 20, 2021:
As part of Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month (October 2021), we congratulate Dr. Heike Wulff of the University of California, Davis -- Recognized as an Expertscape World Expert in Potassium.
Elva Diaz awarded the 2020-2021 Chancellor’s Fellowship for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Congratulations to Dr. Elva Diaz who has just been awarded the 2020-2021 Chancellor’s Fellowship for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion! This fellowship is in recognition of her incredible contributions in supporting, tutoring, mentoring and advising underrepresented students and students from underserved communities. This is truly a well-deserved honor for Dr. Diaz. Dr. Diaz is currently serving as Chair of the I-DARE Taskforce Community for the Department of Pharmacology.
Gelli and Navedo elected to Faculty Executive Committee
We are proud to announce that Dr. Angie Gelli and Dr. Manuel F. Navedo have been elected to the UC Davis School of Medicine Faculty Executive Committee (FEC). Election to this committee is a tremendous responsibility and privilege. The committee contributes to the shared governance of the School of Medicine within UC Davis. Their election to FEC adds to the meaningful and extensive service that the Pharmacology Faculty provides to the Schools and UC Davis.
Turning tarantula venom into pain relief
Researchers at UC Davis are developing a new type of pain medication from an unusual source — tarantula venom.
The project is part of the NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-Term (HEAL) Initiative, aimed at ending opioid addiction and creating non-addictive therapies to treat pain.
Vladimir Yarov-Yarovoy, a professor of physiology and membrane biology, and Heike Wulff, a professor of pharmacology, are leading the 20-person team using computational biology to turn a poisonous peptide into one that can relieve pain. Peptides are smaller versions of proteins.
Dr. Ele Grandi is appointed as Chair of the Biophysics Graduate Group
Congratulations to Dr. Ele Grandi, who has just been appointed Chair of the Biophysics Graduate Group from July 2021 to June 2024 by Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Mary Croughan. As the Graduate Group Chair, Dr. Grandi will provide key leadership for both the students and faculty members associated with this graduate group as well as for prospective students that may be recruited in coming years. Dr. Grandi’s major commitment to this important role is greatly valued.
Ele joins two other Pharmacology faculty member who have selflessly taken Grad Group Chair roles in recent years (Drs. Julie Bossuyt and Elva Diaz as Chairs of MCIP and Neuroscience, respectively).
Dr. Nieves-Cintron awarded prestigious AHA grant
We are proud to announce that Dr. Madeline Nieves-Cintron was recently awarded a highly competitive American Heart Association Career Development Award. Dr. Nieves-Cintron will be examining signal transduction mechanisms in vascular smooth muscle cells. This recognition reflects Dr. Nieves-Cintron's exciting and highly innovative research program.
Department Chair Dr. Don Bers was appointed as an Executive Editor
We are proud to announce that our Department Chair Dr. Don Bers was appointed as an Executive Editor for the recently founded journal of the American Physiological Society called FUNCTION. This appointment is a reflection of Dr. Bers’ standing amongst his peers and many contributions to the scientific community. Congratulations to Dr. Bers on this accomplishment!
2021 Graduate Studies Distinguished Graduate and Postdoctoral Mentoring Award
Congratulations to Dr. Ele Grandi who has been awarded with 2021 Graduate Studies Distinguished Graduate and Postdoctoral Mentoring Award! This award is given to faculty who have been recognized as providing an outstanding mentoring role to graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.
Dr. Wulff Awarded the 2021 C. John Tupper Prize for Excellence in Teaching
We are extremely excited to announce that Dr. Heike Wulff has been honored with the 2021 C. John Tupper Prize for Excellence in Teaching Award! This distinguished award is given to one faculty member each year who has been recognized for their exceptional work and accomplishments in the area of teaching; this is the highest award for teaching which the School of Medicine can bestow. Dr. Wulff’s dedication to her students, lab members, and peers is extraordinary, and thus this honor is more than well-deserved.
Pharm Pre/Postdoc students excelling in acquiring AHA funding
We are excited for all our pre and postdoctoral students who received highly competitive AHA Pre and Postdoctoral Fellowships. These awards reflect the passion, dedication, initiative, effort and commitment of our trainees. They also highlight the high relevant projects that are conceive, develop and perform by our trainees. We are very proud to celebrate these major accomplishments of our junior colleagues!
- Xianwei Zhang (predoc) from Grandi Lab
- Haibo Ni (postdoc) from Grandi Lab
- Miguel A. Martin Aragon Baudel (postdoc) from Navedo Lab
- Jessica Caldwell (postdoc) from Ripplinger Lab
- Ying Wang (postdoc) from Xiang Lab
- Chaoqun Zhu (postdoc) from Xiang Lab
Molecular Pharmacology Highlighted Trainee Author, January 2021
Congratulations to Brandon Pressly, Postdoctoral Scholar in Dr. Heike Wulff’s lab. He was recently recognized as the Molecular Pharmacology Highlighted Trainee Author for their January 2021 Issue.
You can view the official announcement on the ASPET site here »
Eleven UC Davis Researchers Are Highly Cited
Once again, our very own Heike Wulff has made the annual list of Highly Cited Researchers! This ranking lists scientists who have published multiple papers ranking in the top 1% by citations in a particular field over a 10-year period. Congratulations Heike!
Can a drug developed for sickle cell anemia mitigate lung damage in patients with COVID-19?
Scientists around the globe are working to identify approved and investigational drugs that can be repurposed to treat COVID-19.
UC Davis Health researchers provided one of those repurposed drugs, senicapoc, to launch a clinical trial at Aarhus University in Denmark. The study will assess whether the drug can mitigate lung damage in patients with COVID-19.
Senicapoc was developed as a treatment for sickle cell anemia. Although it was found safe in clinical trials, it did not reduce the number of sickle-cell crises and was shelved.
John Olichney, the clinical core director for the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Heike Wulff, a professor of pharmacology, and other UC Davis researchers have been evaluating senicapoc as a potential treatment for stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.
Keck Foundation grant will help scientists see small proteins
A team of UC Davis Health scientists that include Dr. Johannes Hell and Dr. Manuel Navedo, has been awarded a $1 million grant from the Keck Foundation to develop a tool for visualizing proteins that so far have been hard to study due to size.
The tool involves using fluorescent-tagged peptides to bind and illuminate proteins of interest, even those smaller than 5 nanometers. Current options do not work well with proteins smaller than 20 nanometers.
Meet the 20th Class of Chancellor’s Fellows
UC Davis has named its new class of Chancellor’s Fellows, that included Dr. Ele Grandi, marking the 20th anniversary of the program that provides philanthropic support to exceptional early career faculty members.
The fellowships come with cash awards — $25,000 this year — for research or other scholarly work.
Four from UC Davis Health selected for UC Women’s Initiative for Professional Development program
Dr. Crystal Ripplinger is one among the four women from UC Davis Health – along with eight women from the Davis campus – who have been selected to participate in the 2020 UC Women’s Initiative for Professional Development (UC WI) program.
Sex, drugs and arrhythmia: Modeling approaches to enable precision cardiac pharmacology
One of the leading causes for drug development discontinuation is the risk of cardiovascular toxicity — damage to the heart due to harmful chemicals. It constitutes a common critical side effect of new drugs and accounts for 40% of all drugs withdrawn due to health safety concerns.
Dr. Ele Grandi and her team of researchers at the Grandi Laboratory develop mathematical models of cardiac electrical activity that integrate large sets of experimental and clinical data. They use simulation to understand disease processes (such as arrhythmia), identify therapeutic targets and predict the outcome of treatment strategies.
UC Davis Researchers Are Highly Cited
Congratulations to Dr. Heike Wulff, recognized with other UC Davis researchers as the top cited researchers in the annual Highly Cited Researchers 2019 list released by the Web of Science Group.
Newton-Abraham Professor Don Bers' talk: Calcium is at the Coeur of Normal Heart Function and Disease
Professor and Department Chair Dr. Donald Bers recently participated in a six-month Sabbatical with University of Oxford as their “Newton-Abraham Professor”. The end of his term was marked by a seminar, presented on Wednesday, September 25th at the Oxford University Natural History Museum.
Video of Dr. Bers’ presentation is given below.
Designing a new class of drugs to treat chronic pain
Congratulations to Dr. Heike Wulff and the UC Davis Research Team for receiving the HEAL Award from NIH! This grant was awarded to aid in the research and development of a new form of pain medication that would not carry the same side-effects of opioids. Dr. Wulff is joined by Faculty members: Vladimir Yarov-Yarovoy, Bruce Hammock, Karen Wagner, Dan Tancredi, and Jon Sack.
Dr. Madeline Nieves-Cintron named a 2019 CAMPOS Faculty Scholar
We are excited to announce that Dr. Madeline Nieves-Cintron was named a 2019 CAMPOS Faculty Scholar!
The mission of CAMPOS is to support discovery of knowledge through an inclusive environment that is diversity driven, mentorship grounded, and career success focused. Scholars are selected based on overall excellence and contributions to diversity through research, teaching and service. An induction ceremony will be held for the honorees on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 from 5:30 - 8:00pm at the Manetti Shrem Museum (RSVP required for this event).
Discovering how diabetes leads to vascular disease
We are excited to announce an exciting new research from the Navedo and Nieves-Cintron Labs identify how elevations in glucose and diabetes increase the risks of vascular complications that may contribute to cardiovascular diseases such as heart diseases and stroke
Learn more about this exciting research from here.
Dr. Navedo elected Fellow of the American Heart Association
We are proud to announce that Dr. Manuel F. Navedo was recently elected Fellow of the American Heart Association, a distinction that was conferred by the Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences. Fellows are recognized for excellence, innovative and sustained contributions in the areas of scholarship, practice, education and volunteer service within the mission of the American Heart Association.
Visit Dr. Navedo’s website to learn more about his exciting research.
UC Davis Chancellor’s Innovator of the Year for 2019
Congratulations to Dr. Michael Rogawski, who was just named a UC Davis Chancellor’s Innovator of the Year for 2019. Dr. Rogawski was recognized for his work on Postpartum Depression and a new drug that will aid in treating it. A ceremony was held on May 30th to honor Dr. Rogawski for his innovative research and the positive and lasting effects it will hold on the community.
2019 Editorial Board Fellow
Congratulations to Dr. Ele Grandi who was just selected to serve as an Editorial Board Fellow for the Journal of Physiology! Dr. Grandi was carefully chosen for this honor from a competitive pool of highly-qualified applicants.
2018 Dean's Team Award for Excellence in Research
Congratulations to the SPARC team who was recently awarded the 2018 Deans’ Team Award for Excellence!
Deborah Ward, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, Interim Dean of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, and Lars F. Berglund, M.D., Ph.D., Interim Dean of the School of Medicine, recognized the SPARC team for outstanding multi-disciplinary team contributions to research.
Several Pharmacology Faculty are SPARC team members. The group includes: Colleen Clancy, Ph.D., Team lead; Eleonora Grandi, Ph.D., multi-PI; Luis F. Santana, Ph.D., multi-PI; Crystal Ripplinger, Co-I; Ph.D., Igor Vorobyov, Ph.D., Co-I; Chao Chen, Co-I; Jay Chen, Co-I; Timothy Lewis, Ph.D., Co-I; Andrew McCulloch, Ph.D. (UC San Diego), Co-I.
Featured in the Leaders in Cardiovascular Science Series
We are excited to announce that Dr. Donald Bers, Distinguished Professor and Chair, has been featured in the Leaders in Cardiovascular Science series published by the journal Circulation Research. As the premier journal for basic cardiovascular science, Circulation Research highlights those scientists who have made a significant and lasting impact on the field through the Leaders in Cardiovascular Science series. In the article, Dr. Bers reflects on his journey into science, the importance of mentorship, and his family and personal life. Congratulations to Dr. Bers!
Department Team found a remarkable link between secondhand tobacco smoke and cardiac arrhythmia
We are proud to announce an exciting new research from the Ripplinger and Chen Labs in our Department highlighting the consequences of indoor secondhand smoke on cardiac function and in particular the increase incidence of cardiac alternans that may lead to cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death.
Read more about this exciting research at the UC Davis Newsroom.
19 From UC Davis on Global List of Most-Cited Researchers
Congratulations to Dr. Heike Wulff, Professor for being one among the nineteen researchers from the University of California, Davis, who have been named in the annual Highly Cited Researchers 2018 list released by Clarivate Analytics. The list identifies exceptional scientists and social scientists who have demonstrated significant influence by publishing multiple papers that rank in the top 1 percent by citations in a particular field and year, over a 10-year period.
Digitizing interactions between the brain and the heart
UC Davis Health researchers including Dr. Eleonora Grandi, Associate Professor, have been awarded $5.2 million over four years from the National Institutes of Health to develop the first computerized model of the relationship between the nervous system and cardiovascular disease.
The tool is expected to lead to new understanding of conditions such as hypertension, arrhythmia, heart failure and stroke, along with how those conditions change in response to treatment.
Dr. Grandi Awarded Precision Medicine Fellowship
We are excited to announce Dr. Eleonora Grandi’s receipt of the Precision Medicine Fellowship! This award will allow Dr. Grandi the opportunity to further her research using mathematical models and statistical approaches to understand the mechanisms of safety and toxicity antiarrhythmic therapies in male and female patients.
Manuscript from Dr. Hariharan’s lab published in Stem Cells
We are excited to announce that the manuscript "Short Telomeres Induce p53 and Autophagy and Modulate Age-Associated Changes in Cardiac Progenitor Cell Fate" from Dr. Nirmala Hariharan’s lab, has been accepted for publication in Stem Cells. Collin Matsumoto, Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology graduate student, is first author of the study. This study demonstrates that aged cardiac stem/progenitor cells have a different fate than young cells and establishes a signaling mechanism that causes exhaustion of these aged cardiac stem cells. Congratulations to all that contributed to this important study!
Dr. Vikrant Singh's publication of the biosensor journals and recent acknowledgment by the Hindu Business Line
Congratulations to Dr. Vikrant Singh, Assistant Project Scientist, for the publication of his biosensor journals and recent acknowledgment by the Hindu Business Line! His American Chemical Society publication which discusses a biosensor for malaria, was highlighted in one of the most popular and important newspapers in India, The Hindu Business Line.
Professor Wulff has accepted the Chief Field Editor position for the Frontiers in Pharmacology Journal
Professor Wulff has accepted the Chief Field Editor position for the Frontiers in Pharmacology Journal, the most-cited open access journal in the field. We congratulate and thank Professor Wulff for her service!
Dr. Navedo named Co-Chair of the organizing committee for the 2020 International Symposium on Resistance Arteries
We are proud to announce that at the recently concluded 2017 International Symposium on Resistance Arteries (ISRA) in Manchester, United Kingdom, Dr. Manuel F. Navedo was selected by his peers as the next co-organizer of the 2020 ISRA meeting. During this meeting, Dr. Navedo delivered a well-received talk on "Purinergic signaling in diabetic vascular complications", and Dr. Madeline Nieves-Cintrón received a Best Poster Presentation Award for her work on "Ion channels in vascular smooth muscle from patients with diabetes".
Chair forms Executive Advisory Group (EAG) to help guide department
The Department of Pharmacology EAG was formed to advise the Chair on departmental strategic direction, administration and prioritizing initiatives, and was formalized at a faculty meeting in May. Starting July 1, 2017 (for 3-yr terms). The EAG will meet quarterly (or as needs arise) and is comprised of:
- Donald Bers, Ph.D., Chair
- Johannes W. Hell, Ph.D., Vice-Chair for Academic Development
- Crystal M. Ripplinger, Ph.D., Vice-Chair for Research and Administration
- Heike Wulff, Ph.D., Vice-Chair for Education
Pharmacology Faculty at FASEB Ion Channel Meeting
Congratulations to the Pharmacology Department Faculty, Drs. Heike Wulff, Johannes W. Hell and Manuel F. Navedo on their well-received invited presentations at the 2017 Federation of American Societies For Experimental Biology (FASEB) Meeting on Ion Channel Regulation. Representation of our faculty was among the largest for a single Department, we are proud of the strength and influence of our faculty in this field!
Hell and Navedo Labs
We are proud to announce the publication of back-to-back papers in Science Signaling from the Hell and Navedo Labs describing how adrenaline activates L-type CaV1.2 channels and how sugar makes arteries constrict.
To learn more about their exciting research, listen to this Science Signaling podcast.
How insulin harms the heart
Congratulations and thank you to Professor Xiang and his lab members for their latest findings!
Their research results are featured online at UC Davis Health - How insulin harms the heart.
Clancy appointed associate vice chancellor for academic personnel
Congratulations to Professor Colleen Clancy! She has been appointed to a 5 year term as the associate vice chancellor for academic personnel for UC Davis School of Medicine. We are very proud of her and her accomplishments and know that her skills and enthusiasm will be of great value to the faculty at UC Davis School of Medicine.
Manuel F. Navedo, Ph.D. was selected to VCMB Study Section
We are proud to announce that Associate Professor Manuel F. Navedo was selected as a permanent member of the Vascular, Cellular and Molecular Biology (VCMB) Study Section in the Center for Scientific Review. This represents a major recognition of Dr. Navedo’s scientific accomplishments and standing in the field. Members are selected on the basis of their demonstrated competence and achievements in their scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publication in scientific journals and other significant scientific activities, accomplishments and honors. His contributions to VCMB and Center for Scientific Review will be of great value to medical and allied research in the country. Congratulations to Dr. Navedo for this honor!
Peter Harris Distinguished Scientist Award
We are proud to announce that Professor Donald Bers was awarded the 2016 Peter Harris Distinguished Scientist Award of the International Society for Heart Research (ISHR)! This award recognizes an established investigator with lifetime contributions of major discoveries in cardiovascular science. As the recipient of the honor, he presented an Award Lecture on his research (“Calmodulin and CaMKII in heart failure and arrhythmias”) at the ISHR XXII World Congress, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, April 18-21, 2016. The mission of the ISHR is to promote the discovery and dissemination of knowledge in the cardiovascular sciences on a world-wide basis.
F1000 Faculty Member of the Year Award 2015 for the Neuroscience Faculty
Professor Johannes Hell has received the F1000 Faculty Member of the Year Award for 2015 for Neuroscience Faculty. This is the third year in a row that he’s received this award. This award recognizes Faculty Members who have made a significant contribution to the F1000Prime Article Recommendation service over the past year, as judged by the F1000 editorial team and on the popularity of their recommendations with users of the service. Congratulations to Dr. Hell for this honor!
Pharmaceutical Veteran Richard Horuk Teaches Insights About Drug Development
Spring 2016 UCD Faculty Newsletter article showcasing Professor Horuk’s experience and perspective on drug development, as well as his work with Professors Rogawski, and Wulff on the Pharmacology course: Drug Discovery and Development (PHA 207). Learn More... (PDF).
Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring at Early to Mid-Career Level
We are proud to announce that Assistant Professor, Eleonora Grandi, has received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in recognition of her contributions in the UC Davis Health’s core mission areas of research, education, clinical care and community engagement. This is to reward her for her outstanding performance and to acknowledge her contribution as a transformative leader. Awardees will be honored at a recognition reception on March 16.
Learn more about this award (PDF).
Clancy accepted as fellow in national executive leadership program
We are proud to announce that Professor Clancy has been accepted as a fellow into the 2015-16 Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine® (ELAM) Program for Women at Drexel University. The program is dedicated to developing the professional and personal skills required to lead and manage in today’s complex health care environment, with special attention to the unique challenges facing women in leadership positions.
2014 Dean’s Excellence in Mentoring Award
We are proud to announce that Dr. Colleen Clancy, Professor, was selected for the 2014 Dean’s Excellence in Mentoring Award in the Research area. She was recognized for this honor at the Dean’s Recognition Reception on March 18, 2015. Multi-departmental Junior faculty nominated her for this award for the special role that she has played in their academic, research, and career development. We congratulate her for her outstanding efforts at improving her faculty colleagues’ professional development!
F1000 Faculty Member of the Year Award for 2014
Professor Johannes Hell, has received the F1000 Faculty Member of the Year Award for 2014 for the Neuroscience Faculty. This is the second year in a row that he’s received this award. The award recognizes Faculty Members who have made the most significant contribution to the F1000 Recommendation service over the past year. The recipient of the award is selected based on the viewing figures for all F1000 evaluations of the faculty member and quality of the evaluations as judged by the editorial office. We congratulate Dr. Hell for this honor!
Nerve regeneration therapy has potential to prevent arrhythmias, sudden cardiac death after heart attack
Drs. Crystal Ripplinger and Lianguo Wang are co-authors on a new study, Targeting protein tyrosine phosphatase σ after myocardial infarction restores cardiac sympathetic innervation and prevents arrhythmias, published in the journal Nature Communications by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), Case Western Reserve University and UC Davis. The study investigates a therapy developed for spinal cord injuries on nerve regeneration in the heart and found that this novel treatment provides resistance to arrhythmias following a heart attack, and may lead to further development of therapeutics for post-heart attack care.
Farmworkers’ son active in UC Davis research wins prestigious NIH scholarship
Dr. Elva Diaz, Associate Professor, received notification that one of her undergraduate students, Abraham Corrales, received the competitive and prestigious NIH Undergraduate Scholarship.
To learn more about Abraham and this honor, go to UC Davis News and Information.
Invasion of the central nervous system by Cryptococcus neoformans requires a secreted fungal metalloprotease
Dr. Angie Gelli, Associate Professor, lead UC Davis investigators (Kiem Vu, Juhn Uhrig, Sarisa Na Pombejra, Mantana Jamklang, George Thompson III, Jennifer Bautos, and Rick Tham) in a remarkable series of experiments on Cryptococcus neoformans – the cause of a deadly meningitis -- to isolate a metalloprotease that appears to be responsible for the fungus’ ability to cross from the bloodstream into the brain. The findings were published in the journal mBio, issued by the American Society for Microbiology, in an article titled "Invasion of the central nervous system by Cryptococcus neoformans requires a secreted fungal metalloprotease". The discovery has important implications for developing a more effective treatment for C. neoformans and other brain infections, as well as for brain cancers that are difficult to treat with conventional medications.
UC Davis researchers discover how high blood pressure damages the heart
Dr. Ye Chen-Izu, Assistant Professor in Pharmacology, pulled together an interdisciplinary team of biophysicists, chemists, engineers, physiologists and cardiologists for a study of the biological system that controls contractility of the heart under mechanical stress such as that caused by high blood pressure. Read about their recent study — "Mechanochemotransduction During Cardiomyocyte Contraction is Mediated by Localized Nitric Oxide Signaling" — published in the March 18 issue of the journal Science Signaling.
Debrecen Award for Molecular Medicine
Dr. Donald Bers, the Department’s Distinguished Professor and Chair, was awarded the “2013 Debrecen Award for Molecular Medicine” from The Medical and Health Science Center of the University of Debrecen, Hungary. This international annual prize is offered to encourage and recognize extraordinary and sustained contributions to biomedical research. This prestigious prize is awarded to a scientist, or group, whose work has lead to significant advances in the fields of molecular medicine with demonstrated benefits applied to improved patient care.
For more information about this award, please visit the Debrecen Award for Molecular Medicine’s website.
34 from UC elected fellows of AAAS
Distinguished Professor and Chair, Don Bers, was elected as fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is 1 of 10 elected fellows for AAAS from the University of California at Davis. This honor is bestowed for scientifically distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. Dr. Bers is being recognized for his innovative approaches in calcium signaling and integrative quantitative analysis that have built the modern framework of regulation of cardiac contractions and electrical activity.
To read the full article, please go to AAAS’ News.
UC Davis researchers discover a biological link between diabetes and heart disease
Dr. Don Bers (Professor and Chair) and colleagues identified a novel molecular pathway between diabetic hyperglycemia and cardiac arrhythmias (online publication in Nature (PDF)). Hyperglycemia chronically activates the key signaling kinase CaMKII by direct attachment of a sugar, causing CaMKII-dependent ion channel effects and arrhythmias (and potential effects on many systems.
A second amyloid may play a role in Alzheimer's disease, UC Davis researchers find
Dr. Florin Despa and colleagues found that amylin accumulates in the blood vessels and and brain of patients with diabetes and dementia. Additional study authors are Kaleena Jackson, Gustavo A. Barisone, Elva Diaz and Lee-Way Jin, all of UC Davis.
Structural protein α-actinin anchors CaV1.2 at the plasma membrane and especially in spines in neurons
Professor Johannes Hell and colleagues discovered that the structural protein α-actinin anchors CaV1.2 at the plasma membrane and especially in spines in neurons.
Basic Sciences Kaiser Teaching Award
Dr. Heike Wulff, Associate Professor, was awarded the 2013 Basic Sciences Kaiser Teaching Award. The three recipients of this award were selected following requested nominations from students, residents and regular faculty of the School of Medicine and meet specified criteria, one of which is having a record of sustained excellence for at least three years.
Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award and designation as a Hartwell Investigator
Dr. Angela Gelli, Associate Professor, was awarded the 2012 Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award and designation as a Hartwell Investigator. Dr. Gelli’s winning research proposal represents innovative and cutting edge research that aims to develop a novel drug delivery system targeting the blood-brain barrier for the treatment of childhood brain tumors.
To learn more about this honor, Please go to the Hartwell Foundation's website.
UC Davis researcher recognized as distinguished scientist by the American Heart Association
Dr. Donald M. Bers, the Department’s Distinguished Professor and Chair, was awarded the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Distinguished Scientist designation in November 2012, for his contribution to cardiovascular research.
To learn more about this honor, please view the American Heart Association’s website.
Pancreatic hormone linked with severe heart disease in obese and diabetic patients
Severe heart damage in people who are obese and diabetic is linked with a pancreatic hormone called amylin, UC Davis researchers that include departmental faculty member, Florin Despa, Ph.D., have found.
In the failing hearts of patients who were obese and diabetic, the scientists discovered strings of proteins, small fibers and plaques made of amylin, the hormone that produces the feeling of being full after eating. They also showed in an animal model that amylin accumulation in the heart leads to heart muscle destruction and failure.
UC Davis study eliminates a possible culprit in heart arrhythmia
A protein thought to play a role in heart-rhythm irregularities actually has no significant effect on heart function, according to new research from UC Davis Health. The outcome puts to rest an ongoing controversy about the effects of the protein in cardiac arrhythmia — abnormally timed heart beats that can indicate heart disease and, in some instances, lead to cardiac arrest.
"We went back to fundamentals to finally answer this question," said Donald Bers, chair of the UC Davis Department of Pharmacology and the principal investigator of the study, published in the June issue of Circulation Research. "Because of our findings, investigators can now focus on exploring other aspects of heart physiology to define the cellular foundations of arrhythmia."
UC Davis researchers identify brain protein for synapse development: Discovery could expand understanding of autism and schizophrenia
A new study from UC Davis Health identifies for the first time a brain protein called SynDIG1 that plays a critical role in creating and sustaining synapses, the complex chemical signaling system responsible for communication between neurons. The research, published in the Jan.14 issue of the journal Neuron, fills a major gap in understanding the molecular foundations of higher cognitive abilities as well as some brain disorders.
"We know that synapses are essential for learning, memory and perception and suspect that imbalances in synapse formation impact disorders of the brain such as autism and schizophrenia," said Elva Diaz, professor of pharmacology and senior author of the study. "Our study is the first to identify SynDIG1 as a critical regulator of these important brain connections."
Elva Diaz receives NIH New Innovator funding
The National Institutes of Health has announced that two UC Davis Health System researchers will receive NIH Director's New Innovator Awards to support their work on pediatric brain cancer and tuberculosis.
Elva Diaz, a professor of pharmacology, will receive $1.5 million over five years to develop novel therapies for childhood brain cancer.
Innovative, collaborative projects recognized with 2009 CTSC pilot grants
David Segal, Ph.D. and Heike Wulff, Ph.D. are among the seven UC Davis researchers, who received pilot grant awards from the UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC) to conduct innovative and collaborative research. The awards support studies ranging from work on a more effective epilepsy drug to an improved computer interface for controlling a wheelchair, room lights and a computer mouse.
Professor and Pharmacology Chairman Donald Bers is recipient of the Joseph Silva Dean's Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Research
Donald Bers, Ph.D. is the new holder of the Dean’s Chair in Cardiovascular Research in Honor of Joseph Silva. UC Davis has 113 chairs and professorships. Donor funding provides continuing support for research, teaching and public service.
Collaboration between Peggy Farnham and Janine LaSalle results in published study on Rett's Syndrome.
The current study, which appeared in the December 4 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is a result of a collaboration between LaSalle and Peggy Farnham, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the UC Davis School of Medicine and at the UC Davis Genome Center. Farnham is a specialist in the emerging field of epigenomics, which applies microarray technology to study changes in gene expression that are not dependent on changes in the DNA sequence of the gene. Epigenomics, for example, includes the study of where proteins bind along a chromosome.
UC Davis appoints renowned cardiovascular researcher as Pharmacology Department Chair
Donald M. Bers, an internationally renowned expert in cardiovascular research at the cellular and molecular levels, including dysfunctions that occur in heart failure and arrhythmias, has joined UC Davis School of Medicine as chair of the Department of Pharmacology.
A team led by Peggy Farnham, professor at the Genome Center and the Department of Pharmacology at UC Davis, looked for sites where factors bind on to DNA to turn genes on or off. These "transcription factors" play a key role in deciding what cells do and when, and play an important role in stem cell development and cancer.
New drugs aimed at T cells successfully treat arthritis and diabetes in rats
Heike Wulff, a UC Davis assistant professor of medical pharmacology and toxicology and co-author of the study, originally identified the molecules from the rue plant used to develop the drugs.
"Previously, the Kv1.3 channel was widely believed to be a good target for treating autoimmune diseases, but until now, scientists had not established that it is," said Wulff. "This study really confirms it."