Jeanne M. Nerbonne, PhD

Jeanne M. Nerbonne, PhD

Professor of Medicine and Developmental Biology
Alumni Endowed Professor of Molecular Biology and Pharmacology in Developmental Biology and Internal Medicine

Related Links

Nerbonne Laboratory

Center for Cardiovascular Research

Research Profile


  • BSc., Chemistry: Framingham State College, Framingham, MA (1974)
  • PhD, Physical Organic Chemistry: Georgetown University, Washington, DC (1978)
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Division of Biology: California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA (1982)
  • Senior Research Fellow, Division of Biology: California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA (1984)


  • Shining Star Award, Academic Women’s Network, Washington University School of Medicine, 2015
  • Senior Editor, The Journal of Neuroscience, 2013
  • Visiting Distinguished Wiersma Professor of Neuroscience, Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, 2013
  • Dan Getz Distinguished Lecturer, Department of Biology, Branders University, Waltham, Massachusetts, 2013
  • Dutch Heart Foundation Lecturer, Dutch Physiological Society 29th Annual Symposium, Adaptive Physiology, Keynote Speaker, Utrecht, Netherlands, 2013
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2012
  • Distinguished Investigator Award, Washington University School of Medicine, 2007
  • Chair, Electrical Signaling, Transport and Arrhythmia Study Section, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 2006-2007
  • Silver Heart Member, Basic Cardiovascular Sciences, American Heart Association, 2006
  • Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute Discovery Series Distinguished Lecturer, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 2006
  • Nora Eccles Harrison Distinguished Lecturer, Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, 2005
  • Neurosciences Interdisciplinary Graduate Program Invited Speaker, Program in Neuroscience, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, 2004
  • Neurosciences Graduate Student Organization Invited Speaker, Division of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, 2003
  • The Rudy Clarenburg Distinguished Lecturer, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, 2003

Research Interests

Our research is focused on delineating the molecular, cellular and systemic mechanisms involved in the dynamic regulation of cardiac and neuronal membrane excitability. Combining biochemical, electrophysiological, immunohistochemical and molecular genetic approaches, the focus of our work is on characterizing the biophyical properties and the functional roles of the voltage-gated potassium (Kv) and sodium (Nav) ion channels expressed in different myocardial and neuronal cell types, defining the functional roles of these channels in shaping the waveforms of individual action potentials and controlling repetitive and rhythmic firing, identifying the molecular correlates of native neuronal and myocardial Kv and Nav channels, and delineating the mechanisms controlling channel expression, distribution and functioning.

Using a variety of molecular genetic strategies and proteomics, ongoing studies are focused on defining the roles of Kv channel accessory subunits and regulatory proteins in controlling the functional cell surface expression and the biophysical properties of Kv channels in the normal heart. Similar approaches are exploited to define the molecular determinants of myocardial Nav channel expression and functioning. Additional ongoing studies are focused on exploring the molecular mechanisms underlying Kv and Nav channel remodeling in the hypertrophied and failing heart and in other myocardial diseases associated with cardiac rhythm disturbances.

The other major goal of ongoing research in this laboratory is to define the mechanisms that control the expression and functioning of native neuronal Kv and Nav channels. These channels function to control neuronal resting membrane potentials, action potential waveforms, repetitive firing, the responses to synaptic inputs and synaptic plasticity. In ongoing studies, we are exploring the molecular basis of functional neuronal Kv and Nav channel diversity and the mechanisms controlling the expression, trafficking, localization and biophysical properties of these channels in neurons in the cerebellum, suprachiasmatic nucleus and cerebral cortex.