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Jeanne M. Nerbonne, PhD

Jeanne M. Nerbonne, PhD, is Alumni Endowed Professor of Molecular Biology and Pharmacology and professor of biomedical engineering at Washington University. Nerbonne is an internationally recognized expert in cellular and molecular physiology. She is particularly well-known for developing multidisciplinary approaches to study the electrophysiological functioning of heart muscle cells and neurons and to identify the molecular mechanisms that underlie certain heart and neural disorders.

Nerbonne received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Framingham State College in Massachusetts in 1974 and her doctoral degree in physical and organic chemistry from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., in 1978. Following postdoctoral training at California Institute of Technology, Nerbonne was a senior research fellow at the same institution. She joined the Washington University faculty in 1985 and became a full professor in 1997. In 2002, she was named Alumni Endowed Professor of Molecular Biology and Pharmacology in that department (recently renamed the Department of Developmental Biology) and in 2006 also became professor of biomedical engineering.

Research in the Nerbonne lab combines biochemistry, genetics and electrophysiology to delineate the mechanisms that regulate the expression and functioning of voltage-gated ion channels in heart and nerve cells. Alterations in the amounts, distributions or properties of these channels are now known to cause some congenital and acquired cardiac arrhythmias and neural disorders. Nerbonne is also working to determine ways to reverse channel malfunction to restore normal function.

Nerbonne has received numerous honors, including an Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association. In addition, she is a Founding Fellow and Silver Heart Member in Basic Cardiovascular Sciences of the American Heart Association. She serves on the editorial boards of several prestigious journals. Nerbonne has been co-director of the Medical Scientist Training Program since 2002 and is co-director of the new Center for the Investigation of Membrane Excitability Disorders (CIMED).

Published: 03/23/2008