Department News

Dr. Erkan Karakas joins the MPB faculty

Dr. Erkan Karakas has signed on to join us as an Assistant Professor on the tenure-track some time before January 1, 2017. Erkan will develop a program focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms and regulation of calcium signaling by inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate receptors (IP3Rs) and the mitochondrial calcium uniporter. During postdoctoral training with Dr. Hiro Furukawa at Cold Spring Harbor, Dr. Karakas published several papers in very high profile journals (e.g., Nature, Science, EMBO Journal) focused on structural analyses of the NMDA-type glutamate receptor, the major initiator of synaptic plasticity mechanisms underlying learning and memory in the CNS.

MPB lends a hand to the AHA's Hands on Heart

American Heart Association (AHA)-funded Alyssa Hasty, Leslie Roteta, Christian Marks, and Reid Bolus participated in the Rutherford County “Hands on Heart” AHA event.  They shared their work with various AHA fund raisers and donors, representing AHA-related topics such as fatty liver disease, stroke, and obesity-related cardiometabolic disease.  

Linda Sealy given the Joseph A. Johnson Distinguished Leadership Professor Award

Linda Sealy is the first recipient of the Joseph A. Johnson Jr. Distinguished Leadership Professor Award. Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos announced the award at the Spring Faculty Assembly. Linda was awarded this honor for contributions to the university that have enhanced equity, diversity, and inclusion in the university’s academic endeavors.

Sachin Patel receives Presidential Early Career Award

Associate Professor Sachin Patel of both Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and Psychiatry, is one of 106 researchers named today by President Obama as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. The Presidential Early Career Award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. More information.

The American Heart Association awards 4 MPB students with pre-doctoral fellowships.

Four of our MPB students received word this week that the American Heart Association intends to fund their pre-doctoral fellowships.  The Greater Southeast chapter of the AHA is only funding 24 fellowships this cycle, and 4 of them will go to our students!  Congratulations to Christian Marks (Colbran Lab), Kim Montaniel (Harrison Lab), Allison Norlander (Harrison/Madhur Lab), and Reid Bolus (Hasty Lab)! 

6th Annual Tennessee Physiological Society Meeting

The 6th Annual Tennessee Physiological Society Meeting will be held on January 23, 2015.  There are still a number of openings for posters.  If you are interested in presenting a poster, please email Carrie Grueter ( your title.  No abstract is necessary. The most up-to-date program is attached.  Directions including a map and parking information will be sent to attendees a few days before to the meeting.


To register, go to:

Registration is only $10 for students, $15 for post-docs, and $25 for faculty. 

Breakfast and lunch are provided.

Two monetary awards will be presented to the top poster presentations.