Medha M. Pathak

picture of Medha M. Pathak

Assistant Professor, Physiology & Biophysics
School of Medicine

Ph.D., UC Berkeley, 2006, Biophysics

M.S., National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India, 2000, Neuroscience

B.S., St. Xavier's College, Ahmedabad, India, 1996, Biochemistry

Postdoc, Harvard Medical School, Neurobiology

Phone: (949) 824-6623
Fax: (949) 824-8540

University of California, Irvine
275B Irvine Hall (Office)
291 Irvine Hall (Lab)
Mail Code: 4560
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Piezo1, ion channels, stem cells, neural stem cells, differentiation, development, mechanical forces, matrix, environment
Academic Distinctions
Junior Faculty Fellow, Journal of General Physiology
GSK Neuroscience Discovery Award, FASEB Ion Channel Regulation Conference
Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellowship
National Summer Research Fellowship, India
Research Abstract
The long-term goal of my lab is to understand at molecular, cellular and organismal levels, how mechanical forces modulate neural stem cell fate in development and repair. We previously showed that the stretch-activated ion channel Piezo1 mediates mechanosensitive lineage specification of neural stem cells. Our studies revealed that Piezo1 activity in neural stem cells is modulated by matrix mechanics, and that it influences differentiation of the cells into neurons or astrocytes. Current work focuses on understanding (i) how Piezo1 detects and transduces matrix mechanical signals, (ii) how Piezo1 activity elicits gene expression changes, (iii) how Piezo1 may shape neural development, and (iv) how Piezo1 may be involved in certain disease states. We use a multi-disciplinary approach, combining ideas and techniques from ion channel biophysics, cell biology, optical imaging, stem cell biology and bioengineering.
Ellefsen K*, Chang A*, Nourse JL*, Holt JR, Arulmoli J, Mekhdijan A, Flanagan LA, Dunn AR, Parker I, Pathak MM (2018).
Piezo1 calcium flickers localize to hotspots of cellular traction forces
bioRxiv doi:
Nourse JL, Pathak MM (2017).
How cells channels their stress: Interplay betwen Piezo1 and the Cyoskeleton
Seminars in Cell and Development Biology. 2017 Nov; 71:3-12.
Pathak MM, Tran T, Hong L, Joós B, Morris CE, Tombola F (2016).
The Hv1 proton channel responds to mechanical stimuli.
Journal of General Physiology. 2016 Nov;148(5):405-418.
Janahan Arulmoli, Heather J. Wright, Duc T.T. Phan, Urmi Sheth, Richard A. Que, Giovanni A. Botten, Mark Keating, Elliot L. Botvinick, Medha M. Pathak, Thomas I. Zarembinski, Daniel S. Yanni, Olga V. Razorenova, Christopher C.W. Hughes, Lisa A. Flanagan (2016).
Combination scaffolds of salmon fibrin, hyaluronic acid, and laminin for human neural stem cell and vascular tissue engineering.
Acta Biomaterialia 2016 Oct 1;43:122-38.
Phan L*, Kautz R*, Arulmoli J, Kim I, Le DT, Shenk MA, Pathak MM†, Flanagan LA†, Tombola F†, Gorodetsky AA† (2016).
Reflectin as a Material for Neural Stem Cell Growth.
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. 13;8(1):278-84
† Corresponding authors.

Arulmoli J, Pathak MM, McDonnell LP, Nourse JL, Tombola F, Earthman JC, Flanagan LA. (2015)
Static stretch affects neural stem cell differentiation in an extracellular matrix-dependent manner.
Scientific Reports. 5: 8499.

Pathak MM†, Nourse JL, Tran T, Hwe J, Arulmoli J, Le DTT, Bernardis E, Flanagan LA, Tombola F†. (2014)
Stretch-activated ion channel Piezo1 directs lineage choice in human neural stem cells.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 111(45):16148-53.
† Corresponding authors.

Kim IH, Hevezi P, Varga C, Pathak MM, Hong L, Ta D, Tran CT, Zlotnik A, Soltesz I, Tombola F. (2014).
Evidence for functional diversity between the voltage-gated proton channel Hv1 and its closest related protein HVRP1.
PLoS One. 9(8):e105926.

Nourse JL*, Prieto JL*, Dickson AR, Lu J, Pathak MM, Tombola F, Demetriou M, Lee AP, Flanagan LA. (2014).
Membrane biophysics define neuron and astrocyte progenitors in the neural lineage.
Stem Cells. 32(3):706-16.

Hong L, Pathak MM, Kim IH, Ta D, Tombola F. (2013).
Voltage-sensing domain of voltage-gated proton channel Hv1 shares mechanism of block with pore domains.
Neuron. 77(2):274-87.
Commentary: Kalia & Schwartz (2013). Common principles of voltage-dependent gating for Hv and Kv channels. Neuron. 77(2):214-6.

Pathak MM*, Yarov-Yarovoy V*, Roux B, Agarwal G, Kohout S, Barth P, Tombola F, Isacoff EY. (2007).
Closing in on the resting state of the Shaker K+ channel.
Neuron. 56(1):124-40.

Tombola F, Pathak MM, Gorostiza P, Isacoff EY. (2007).
The twisted ion-permeation pathway of a resting voltage-sensing domain.
Nature. 445(7127):546-9.

Tombola F, Pathak MM, Isacoff EY. (2006).
How does voltage open an ion channel?
Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology. 22:23-52.

Tombola F, Pathak MM, Isacoff EY. (2005).
How far will you go to sense voltage?
Neuron. 48:719-25.

Tombola F, Pathak MM, Isacoff EY. (2005).
Voltage-sensing arginines in a potassium channel permeate and occlude cation-selective pores.
Neuron. 45:379-88.

Pathak MM, Kurtz L, Tombola F, Isacoff EY. (2005).
The cooperative voltage sensor motion that gates a potassium channel.
Journal of General Physiology.125:57-69.

* Denotes Equal Contribution
Professional Societies

Biophysical Society
American Society for Cell Biology
International Society for Stem Cell Research
Biomedical Engineering Society
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Graduate Programs
Cellular and Molecular Biosciences

Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program

Mathematical and Computational Biology

Research Centers
Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center
Center for Complex Biological Systems
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