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The Vascular Medicine Institute, and Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology are pleased to announce the addition of Dr. Mohamed Trebak to our research community. Joining us from Penn State University, Dr. Trebak will move his laboratory to the University of Pittsburgh starting July 1, 2021.

Dr. Trebak received his Master’s degree and PhD in Biochemistry from the Université de Liège in Belgium, and completed postdoctoral fellowships at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia and the NIH. His lab studies the mechanisms of cellular Ca2+ signaling at the interface of endoplasmic reticulum (ER), plasma membrane (PM) and mitochondria. His research interests lie in the molecular and biochemical characterization of the signaling microdomains at the interface of ER-PM- mitochondria. His lab has defined the molecular mechanisms of activation and regulation of Ca2+ signals mediated by TRP and ORAI channels in epithelial, immune, endothelial and smooth muscle cells. He is actively investigating the roles of STIM/ORAI plasma membrane Ca2+ channels (and more recently on the mitochondrial Na+/Ca2+ exchanger, NCLX and the Ca2+ uniporter MCU) in activating cytosolic, mitochondrial and nuclear signaling pathways that regulate cell survival, contraction, migration and metabolism in different pathologies.  Mohamed is currently funded by an NIH/NHLBI Outstanding Investigator Award (R35) and serves as co-investigator on several others. He currently serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Biological Chemistry, Physiological Reviews, Cell Stress, Cell Calcium, and Pflügers Archives. His work has been featured in premier journals including Circulation Research, PNAS and Nature Communications. Dr. Trebak will be joining the Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology as a Professor and as a Member of the Center for Microvascular Research. He will also be taking a leadership role in the Vascular Medicine Institute as the Director of Faculty Affairs and Programmatic Science, where he will be charged with building relationships and developing interdisciplinary collaborations within and beyond the VMI.

Dr. Nadine Hempel

Dr. Trebak is joined by his partner Dr. Nadine Hempel who will be joining the Hillman Cancer Center and be an associate member of the VMI. Dr. Hempel received her PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, where she studied the transcriptional regulation of the sulfotransferase metabolism enzyme family under the mentorship of Drs. Mick McManus and Masa Negishi (NIEHS). During her post-doctoral training in the labs of Dr. Gerard Blobe at Duke University, and Dr. Andres Melendez at Albany Medical College, Dr. Hempel developed her interests in tumor metastasis, focusing on TGF-beta signaling in ovarian cancer, and the role of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species and superoxide dismutase Sod2 in cell migration. Dr. Hempel started her independent lab at the SUNY College of Nanoscale Sciences and Engineering with a K99/R00 grant from the NCI, and subsequently moved to the Penn State College of Medicine in 2015, as an Associate Professor in Pharmacology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and a Member of the Penn State Cancer Institute, and the Translational Therapeutics option director of the Biomedical Science graduate program. Dr. Hempel’s research interests center on understanding molecular mechanisms that regulate metastasis and tumor recurrence of ovarian cancer, with the ultimate goal of identifying novel targets for therapy of advanced-stage disease. Her laboratory uses a variety of molecular, cellular, imaging and in vivo techniques to understand how the antioxidant stress response, redox signaling, and mitochondrial form and function contribute to tumor progression and metastasis of ovarian cancer. Dr. Hempel has been funded by the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer research program, the Rivkin Foundation for Ovarian Cancer, and is currently supported by two R01 grants from the NCI.

Please welcome Dr. Trebak and Dr. Hempel to the Pitt Family.