Anne N. Murphy
Associate Professor (Adjunct), Department of Pharmacology
Ph.D., The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, D.C.
With regard to training, my graduate studies at The George Washington University School of Medicine focused on mitochondrial Ca2+ transport in tumor cells, while post-doctoral training at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and The National Cancer Institute concentrated on mechanisms of tumor cell growth and metastasis. As an Assistant Professor of Biochemisty and Molecular Biology at GWU, I focused on the mechanism of protection of mitochondria by the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2. I next moved to industry and became the Director of Mitochondrial Biology at MitoKor, where my research group concentrated on mitochondrial target-based drug discovery for neurodegenerative diseases and type 2 diabetes. Now back in academia at UCSD, my lab currently focuses on the following projects:
1) Further optimization of thiazolidinediones that are clinically used as insulin sensitizing agents in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. These drugs have significant undesirable side effects that limit their clinical utility. Our approach is to identify the targets of the beneficial action of these drugs on mitochondria, ultimately allowing new generation compounds to be developed. We believe that this will occur by maximizing mitochondrial effects, and minimizing the side effects that occur as a result of binding the PPAR gamma receptor.
2) We also study the mechanism of action at mitochondria of epicatechin, the flavanol in dark chocolate responsible for its beneficial health effects.
3) A third project, performed in collaboration with Jack Dixonï¿½s lab, aims to discover the function of the mitoNEET family of proteins (Cisd1, 2, and 3) that possess unique redox-active iron-sulfur centers and localize to membranes of mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum.
4) Additionally, we provide mitochondrial reagents and expertise to a program project at UCSD that examines molecular mechanisms of integration of mitochondrial function into cellular signaling cascades.