Jon Horvath, graduate student from Eamonn Dickson's lab earns academic All-America honor

Jon HorvathJon Horvath

Jon Horvath, graduate student from Eamonn Dickson's lab makes the 2017-2018 Google Cloud Academic All-America Division I Cross Country/Track and Field Team with first-team status, as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) on Thursday afternoon.

Horvath, a neurobiology, physiology, and behavior major with a perfect 4.0 GPA, has become the second cross-country runner in the past five years to make the first-team list. The first of the two was UC Davis alumni Trevor Halsted, who received this honor in both the 2014 and 2015 seasons.


University Medalist Emily Eijansantos Learned Value of Perseverance in Lab

Emily Eijansantos from Dr. Aldrin Gomes's labEmily Eijansantos, a graduating senior from Dr. Aldrin Gomes's lab, recently received the University Medal, UC Davis' top graduating senior award. In Dr. Gomes's lab, she studied the effects of ibuprofen on heart cells and the immunoproteasome.

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A study from the Borodinsky lab is highlighted in the Journal of Neuroscience

JNeurosci-BorodinskyClick to enlarge

The brain and spinal cord begin as a group of cells in the embryo that folds in on itself to form the neural tube. Some of the most common birth defects, such as spina bifida, are caused by a neural tube that fails to close completely. Against the prevailing view that the side effects of antiepileptic (AED) drugs contribute to the prevalence of neural tube defects among children of epileptic mothers, a study led by a former postdoctoral fellow, Eduardo Sequerra and a current UC Davis graduate student, Raman Goyal, from Dr. Laura Borodinsky's lab discovers that in frog embryos the neurotransmitter glutamate and N-methyl-aspartate (NMDA) receptors play an important part in the proliferation and migration of the cells that form the neural tube, which were compromised in embryos treated with the widely-used AED valproic acid and led to neural tube defects. Understanding the mechanisms of neurotransmitter signaling during neural tube formation may contribute to identifying and developing antiepileptic drugs that are safer during pregnancy.

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Yu-Fung Lin, Ph.D.

Dr. Yu-Fung Lin’s “Physiology of Cannabis” (HPH 115) course was highlighted in a segment of the CBS Sunday Morning Show about medicinal and recreational cannabis use.

Watch the show here »

American Physiological Society (APS) Fellow

Martha E. O'Donnell, Ph.D.

Departmental faculty member Martha E. O'Donnell, Ph.D. has been approved as a Fellow of the American Physiological Society. The rank of Fellow is designed to honor distinguished members who have demonstrated excellence in science, contributed to the physiological sciences and served the Society. Fellows are considered to be in the top tier of all eligible members. Congratulations!!


TRPV4 in the battle of the sexes

Luis Fernando Santana, Ph.D.

The recent paper by the departmental chair and faculty member Luis Fernando Santana, Ph.D., along with Sendoa Tajada, Ph.D., a researcher from his lab, has been accepted for publication in the Journal of General Physiology.

This article has been recommended in F1000Prime as being of special significance in its field by F1000 Faculty Member Mark Dell’Acqua. Read more about this recommendation from here »

Abstract: New JGP paper explains sexual dimorphism and tissue-specific activity of TRPV4.

The broadly expressed transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 (TRPV4) calcium channel allows an enormous amount of calcium into the cell (up to 100-fold greater calcium flux than those produced by voltage-gated Cav1.2 calcium channels; 1). In vascular smooth muscle, TRPV4 channels help regulate vascular tone. In this month’s JGP, Tajada et al. provide surprising new insights about how TRPV4 activity is regulated.

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Structural Insights into the Atomistic Mechanisms of Action of Small Molecule Inhibitors Targeting the KCa3.1 Channel Pore

Vladimir Yarov-Yarovoy, Ph.D.

The recent paper by the department faculty member, Vladimir Yarov-Yarovoy, Ph.D., has been featured on the cover of April 2017 issue of Molecular Pharmacology.

Read more about this paper at the following links:


Undergraduate course on the 'Physiology of Cannabis' offered this spring at UC Davis

Physiology of Cannabis

A new undergraduate course on “Physiology of Cannabis” (HPH 115) will be offered at UC Davis this spring to raise awareness and understanding of how cannabis and cannabinoids affect the body.

Read more on The Davis Enterprise.


Dr. Aldrin Gomes, named 2017 Chancellor's Fellow

Aldrin Gomes, Ph.D.Dr. Aldrin Gomes, was among the Chancellor's Fellows named this year. This year’s class of Chancellor’s Fellows comprises 11 associate professors or recently promoted full professors — rising stars in their fields who have now received one of the university’s highest honors and will retain the title for five years.

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Keith Baar, Ph.D.

A new study suggests that consuming a gelatin supplement, plus a burst of intensive exercise, can help build ligaments, tendons and bones.

The study, from departmental faculty member Keith Baar, Ph.D. and his Functional Molecular Biology Laboratory, is published in the January issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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Keith Baar, Ph.D.

The National Institutes of Health announced a six-year, $170 million nationwide project to dig deep into the molecular changes that come from physical activity, and how they influence health. Departmental faculty member, Keith Baar, Ph.D., is taking part in the effort.

Read more on UC Davis News page and SacBee.


Aldrin Gomes, Ph.D.

Departmental faculty member Aldrin Gomes, Ph.D., has been selected as 2016-2017 Chancellor's Fellow. The Chancellor's Fellows Program was established in 2000 to honor the achievements of outstanding faculty members for the quality and significance of their research and teaching.


Luis Fernando Santana, Ph.D.

Voltage-gated calcium channels open in unison, rather than independently, to allow calcium ions into and activate excitable cells such as neurons and muscle cells, departmental chair and faculty member Luis Fernando Santana, Ph.D., along with researchers from his lab and the researchers from the University of Washington have found.

The research defies earlier electrophysiology canon and undermines the previously held belief that calcium channels function independently. The study is published online in the journal eLIFE.



Humans love Sriracha sauce, and the pleasurable, painful sensation that makes us want to slather tacos, rice and barbecue with it and other spicy condiments comes down to one molecule: capsaicin. Departmental faculty members Jie Zheng, Ph.D. and Vladimir Yarov-Yarovoy, Ph.D., in collaboration with researchers in China, recently got an unprecedented, close-up view of this molecule, as well as what happens inside our bodies when we eat the spicy foods that contain it. Read more about this article here.



Departmental faculty member Jie Zheng, along with researchers from his lab, have identified the molecular interactions that allow capsaicin to activate the body’s primary receptor for sensing heat and pain, paving the way for the design of more selective and effective drugs to relieve pain. Their study appeared online June 8, 2015 in the journal, Nature Chemical Biology.


Fitz-Roy Curry, Ph.D.

Departmental faculty member Fitz-Roy Curry, Ph.D., was elected as a foreign member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in March, 2015. Dr. Curry was introduced into the Academy on May 4, 2015 at the annual meeting in Oslo. He joins the Medical Sciences Group in the Division of Natural Sciences, which has 12 other foreign members worldwide. Dr. Curry is recognized for his research on the microcirculation, particularly the mechanisms that regulate exchange of substances between circulating blood and the body tissues. His recent work has focused on recovery of normal function after exposure to inflammatory conditions. Dr. Curry has had an active collaboration with faculty and research fellows from the Department of Biomedicine at the University of Bergen, Norway since 2005. Further details of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters can be found at

Dr. Curry will receive the Nishimaru-Tsuchiya Award during the 10th World Congress for Microcirculation in Kyoto, Japan September 25-27, 2015. The World Congress is held every 4-5 years. There have been 6 Awards since 1984. On the occasion of the World Congress for Microcirculation, this important award is given by the Japanese Society for Microcirculation to researchers in any country with outstanding achievements in the field of microcirculation research, who have thereby greatly contributed to the development of the Japanese Society for Microcirculation. Further details of this award can be found  at


Barbara Horwitz, Ph.D.

Departmental faculty member Barbara Horwitz, Ph.D. was honored with AAAs Lifetime Mentor Award for making significant contributions towards increasing diversity in Physiology.

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Barbara Horwitz, Ph.D. Departmental faculty member Barbara Horwitz, Ph.D. is a recipient of The 2014 Chancellor's Achievement Awards for Diversity and Community in the category of Academic Senate.

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