Damon Runyon Researchers

Meet Our Scientists
Cristina Puchades, PhD

Dr. Puchades studies ion channels – proteins embedded in the membrane surrounding a cell.  They act as molecular gates, opening in response to diverse stimuli to allow ions to flow into cells. The essential ion channel TMEM16A is required for many fundamental physiological processes, including neuronal signaling, muscle contraction, and salivary gland secretion. In cancer cells, increased activity of TMEM16A is closely linked to metastatic progression in esophageal, gastric, and pancreatic cancers. Dr. Puchades aims to understand how TMEM16A functions and how drug molecules hinder its activity. This research has the potential to guide the pharmacological targeting of TMEM16A as a novel approach for the development of anti-cancer therapeutics.

Project title: "Deciphering the molecular basis for modulation of TMEM16A activity"
Institution: University of California, San Francisco
Award Program: Fellow
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Yifan Cheng, PhD, and Lily Jan, PhD
Cancer Type: Gastric, Other Cancer, Pancreatic, All Cancers
Research Area: Biophysics