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


  • 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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  • August 20, 2014

  • Congratulations to the PMI team of Ostap, Dominguez, Goldman, Holzbaur, and Shuman for receiving a renewal of their NIH P01! Read more!

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  • August 6, 2014

  • Katya Grishchuk, PhD makes the cover of MBoC with this image!
    See full image

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  • August 4, 2014

  • Erika Holzbaur, Ph.D. highlighted in Penn Medicine news release for her achievement in receiving the NIH Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award for Research on Neurodegeneration!
    Read the annoucement here!

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Events Calendar


  • OTR with Joe Baur, PhD

    Thu, Nov. 20 - 4:00pm-5:00pm

    CRB Austrian Auditorium

  • OTR Reception

    Thu, Nov. 20 - 5:00pm-6:30pm

    CRB 702

  • Ming Zhou, PhD

    Thu, Dec. 11 - 4:00pm-5:00pm

    CRB Austrian Auditorium

  • Physiology Holiday Party

    Thu, Dec. 18 - 4:00pm-6:00pm

    BRB II/III, 14th Floor Lounge

  • University Holiday

    Thu, Dec. 25 - Fri, Jan. 2

    The University will be closed

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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.

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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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Toshinori Hoshi, PhD

Professor of Physiology

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Faculty Spotlight


The Hoshi lab is interested in the plasticity of cell excitability conferred by the modulation of ion channel activities. Dr. Toshinori Hoshi is an internationally-recognized leader in studies of ion channel regulation by various important stimuli, factors and reagents that were relatively unexplored, including oxidation of methionine, oxidation of cysteine, locally assembled proteins, free heme, and heme breakdown products such as carbon dioxide and bilirubin-oxidation end products. More recently, he has focused on the effects of polyunsaturated fatty acids, using a vertical approach that ranges from detailed studies of single ion channel gating transitions to how those molecular events affect blood pressure in freely moving mice.

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Contact Physiology


  • 700 Clinical Research Building

  • 415 Curie Boulevard

  • Philadelphia, PA 19104-6085


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