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


  • August 27, 2015

  • Brian Salzberg, PhD has been elected as the 2017 Chair of the Exocytosis and Endocytosis Subgroup of the Biophysical Society.

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  • August 25, 2015

  • Congratulations to Yale E. Goldman, MD, PhD for winning the Biophysical Society’s Distinguished Service Award! Read more

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  • July 2015

  • Congratulations to Shampa Chatterjee, Ph.D. for her promotion to Research Associate Professor of Physiology!

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  • June 18, 2015

  • Dominguez Lab and PMI members featured in Penn Medicine press for their recent paper in Current Biology. Read more

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  • May 21, 2015

  • Katya Grishchuk’s Science paper highlighted in the Penn press! Read more

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  • April 24, 2015

  • Congratulations to the Grishchuk lab who reported in Science on the role of microtubule detyrosination in mitosis. Katya, her lab and collaborators have published a report entitled “Mictotubule detyrosination guides chromosomes during mitosis” that has just appeared in Sciencexpress! Read more

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  • April 23, 2015

  • Congratulations to Meredith Wilson, Ph.D. and Yvette Wong, Ph.D. from Erika Holzbaur’s lab for winning Saul Winegrad Awards for Outstanding Dissertations!
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Events Calendar


  • Physiology Faculty Meeting

    Wed, Sep 2, 2015 at 9:30 a.m.

    702 CRB (map)

  • University Holiday: Labor Day

    Monday, September 7, 2015

    University Closed

  • Seminar: Kenton J. Swartz, PhD

    Thurs, Sep 10, 2015 at 4 p.m.

    Austrian Auditorium (map)

  • Papal Visit: University Closed

    Fri, Sep 25, 2015

    University Closed

  • Seminar: Toto Olivera, PhD

    Thurs, Oct 15, 2015 at 4 p.m.

    Austrian Auditorium (map)

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Zhe Lu, MD, PhD

Professor of Physiology

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Faculty Spotlight


The Lu lab is interested in the detailed mechanisms and regulation of ion channel permeation and gating. Zhe Lu, MD, PhD is an internationally recognized leader in studies of potassium channel ion permeation. In particular, the inward rectifier channels, where he has provided fundamental insights into the mechanisms of rectification, which have critical physiological implications. He has also made important discoveries regarding the roles of the lipid membrane and its modifications in regulating ion channel function, including potassium channels as well as the CFTR anion channel that when mutated causes cystic fibrosis.

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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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Contact Physiology


  • 700 Clinical Research Building

  • 415 Curie Boulevard

  • Philadelphia, PA 19104-6085


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