J. Kevin Foskett, PhD

Isaac Ott Professor

Chair of Physiology

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From Our Chair


Welcome to the Department of Physiology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Our Department is devoted to research, training, and education and strives to push the boundaries of scientific discovery and academic development. The Department’s internationally recognized faculty, in conjunction with post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, and staff, use innovative tools to uncover physical and chemical mechanisms of biological processes. Our frontiers span the molecular to organ level to determine how the human body functions in health and disease.

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Recent News


  • March 1, 2015

  • Congratulations to Toshinori Hoshi, Ph.D.! Dr. Hoshi is now a Mercator Fellow at Die Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation)!!

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  • February 4, 2015

  • Steve Baylor, MD was published in the latest issue of Science Signaling on CalDyx, an interactive self-study teaching program on calcium dynamics during excitation-contraction coupling in skeletal muscle cells. Steve: How about a Mac version? Read more and download CalDyx!

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  • December 18, 2014

  • Physiology labs featured in Penn news for their contributions to Cell-adelphia. Read more!

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  • November 14, 2014

  • Congratulations to Brian Salzberg, PhD for his election as a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, for development of optical methods in cell physiology and neuroscience, including the discovery of voltage sensitive-dyes and calcium indicator dyes, and functional imaging using these probes.

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  • October 9, 2014

  • Congratulations to Jessica Tanis, PhD (Foskett lab) for receiving a R03 Award from the NIH/NIDCD! This award provides three years of salary and research support as Jessica transitions into a faculty position.

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  • October 8, 2014

  • Congratulations to Ekaterina Grishchuk, Ph.D., recipient of this year’s Michael S. Brown New Investigator Research Award from the Perelman School of Medicine! This prestigious award recognizes emerging faculty investigators engaged in innovative discoveries.

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  • September 24, 2014

  • Benjamin Prosser, Ph.D. presented a webinar this day! Measuring Force in Single Heart Cells -- Read more!

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  • September 16, 2014

  • Toshinori Hoshi, Ph.D. involved in study that implicates neuronal HERG3/Kv11.3 potassium channels in the pathophysiology of bipolar spectrum disorder. Read more

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  • September 10, 2014

  • Professor Emeritus Robert Forster, MD was honored by the American Physiological Society with an interview for their Living History Project. Read more and see the interview!

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Events Calendar


  • OTR w. Ekaterina Grishchuk, PhD

    Thurs, Mar 19 - 4:00pm-5:00pm

    CRB Austrian Auditorium

  • Jack H. Kaplan, PhD

    Thurs, Mar 26 - 4:00pm-5:00pm

    CRB Austrian Auditorium

  • John M. Denu, PhD

    Thurs, Apr 9 - 4:00pm-5:00pm

    CRB Austrian Auditorium

  • IFEM: Kent E. Pinkerton, Ph.D.

    Fri, Apr 17 - 4:00pm-5:00pm

    1 JMB, Seminar Room #13

  • OTR w. Mickey Marks, Ph.D.

    Thurs, Apr 16 - 4:00pm-5:00pm

    CRB Austrian Auditorium

  • Christopher A. Ahern, Ph.D.

    Thurs, Apr 23 - 4:00pm-5:00pm

    CRB Austrian Auditorium

  • José Lopez-Barneo, MD, PhD

    Thurs, Apr 30 - 4:00pm-5:00pm

    CRB Austrian Auditorium

  • Michael D. Fayer, PhD

    Thurs, May 7 - 4:00pm-5:00pm

    CRB Austrian Auditorium

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Benjamin Prosser, PhD

Assistant Professor of Physiology

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Faculty Spotlight


Benjamin Prosser, Ph.D. is a newly appointed Assistant Professor of Physiology. During his graduate and post-doctoral training, Ben investigated the mechanistic underpinnings of key problems in muscle physiology. His work has bridged several disciplines, departments and institutes, including physiology, cell biology, cardiovascular research, biophysics and engineering. He is an emerging leader in new, exciting aspects of the molecular physiology of cardiomyocyte function and signaling; with strong relevance for understanding basic mechanisms of cardiac function, with clear translational implications. Additionally, to achieve his research goals, he is developing and utilizing state-of-the-art imaging, as well as biophysical and biochemical technologies.

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Erika Holzbaur, PhD

Professor of Physiology

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Faculty Spotlight


The Holzbaur lab is internationally recognized for its contributions to the cellular and biophysical analyses of molecular motor function, and its expertise in the mechanistic analyses of neurodegenerative disease. Erika Holzbaur, Ph.D. has had a long-term focus on understanding the dynamics of molecular motor driven motility along the cellular cytoskeleton, including cytoplasmic dynein and kinesin, where she has made fundamental discoveries. This motility is required to drive active transport of vesicles and organelles along the axons and dendrites of the neuron. Erika is interested in dissecting the mechanisms leading to coordinated motor activity during vesicle transport. She has shown that defects in motor function lead to neurodegenerative diseases, and a significant focus in the lab is to understand the mechanistic bases for their observations.

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Ekaterina Grishchuk, PhD

Assistant Professor of Physiology

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Faculty Spotlight


The Grishchuk lab focuses on the mechanisms of chromosome motions. Dr. Katya Grishchuk’s initial training was in biophysics. She subsequently received a Ph.D. in biological sciences. During her post-doctoral training, she capitalized on her multidisciplinary background to establish long-term collaborations with biophysicists and computer scientists to build a state-of-the-art laser tweezers system, which allowed the first direct measurements of forces produced by the shortening of microtubules (Grishchuk et al., Nature, 2005).

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Contact Physiology


  • 700 Clinical Research Building

  • 415 Curie Boulevard

  • Philadelphia, PA 19104-6085


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