Ruhma Syeda, Ph.D.
Endowed Title W.W. Caruth, Jr. Scholar in Biomedical Research
Graduate Programs Molecular Biophysics, Neuroscience
Dr. Syeda’s long-term research interests focus on the physiological and pathophysiological implications of ion channel gating and modulation with respect to health and disease. She has received rigorous training in the fields of chemical biology, neurobiology and biophysics.
Membrane biology and ion channels first came to her attention during undergraduate studies at Karachi University, where she earned a BSc in Chemistry and an MSc in Physical Chemistry. Due to the fundamental role that ion channels play in health and disease, Dr. Syeda found them to be captivating and promising research opportunities. She then earned her Ph.D. under the mentorship of Prof. Hagan Bayley at the University of Oxford focusing on Chemical Biology. As a Clarendon Scholar graduate student, she worked on a novel technique called droplet lipid bilayers and refined the technique to produce membrane proteins by cell-free in vitro transcription and translation inside the nanoliter droplets. This research led to important applications of the system, as demonstrated by the rapid screening of blockers and modulators against a viral potassium channel. Due to the success of the project, she earned the Eli Lilly Award for outstanding postgraduate research studies.
As a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Prof. Mauricio Montal, she brought the droplet-bilayer system to UC San Diego and further developed the technique in order to address how neuronal proteins sense voltage across the cell membrane. She studied the effect of gating modifiers such as lipid monolayer composition, anti-depressants, neurotoxins, and anti-epileptics on voltage gated potassium channels.
As a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Ardem Patapoutian, her research focused on the gating of the mechanosensory cation channel Piezo and the volume-regulated anion-channel Swell1. Piezo channels respond to perturbations in membrane tension, while Swell proteins are regulated by change in cell volume. The team has reported the major advancements in peer-reviewed publications, validating the power and accessibility of the droplet bilayer technique to understand ion channel mechanism.
- Cell volume regulation
- Ion channel structure-function
- Identification and functional characterization of the Piezo1 channel pore domain.
- Nosyreva ED, Thompson D, Syeda R, J Biol Chem 2020 Dec
- Dabbling with Piezo2 for mechanosensation.
- Syeda R Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2017 Nov
- Piezo1 Channels Are Inherently Mechanosensitive.
- Syeda R, Florendo MN, Cox CD, Kefauver JM, Santos JS, Martinac B, Patapoutian A Cell Rep 2016 Nov 17 7 1739-1746
- The Sensorless Pore Module of Voltage-gated K+ Channel Family 7 Embodies the Target Site for the Anticonvulsant Retigabine.
- Syeda R, Santos JS, Montal M J. Biol. Chem. 2016 Feb 291 6 2931-7
- LRRC8 Proteins Form Volume-Regulated Anion Channels that Sense Ionic Strength.
- Syeda R, Qiu Z, Dubin AE, Murthy SE, Florendo MN, Mason DE, Mathur J, Cahalan SM, Peters EC, Montal M, Patapoutian A Cell 2016 Jan 164 3 499-511
- Mechanically Activated Ion Channels.
- Ranade SS, Syeda R, Patapoutian A Neuron 2015 Sep 87 6 1162-79
- Chemical activation of the mechanotransduction channel Piezo1.
- Syeda R, Xu J, Dubin AE, Coste B, Mathur J, Huynh T, Matzen J, Lao J, Tully DC, Engels IH, Petrassi HM, Schumacher AM, Montal M, Bandell M, Patapoutian A Elife 2015 May 4
- Lipid bilayer modules as determinants of K+ channel gating.
- Syeda R, Santos JS, Montal M J. Biol. Chem. 2014 Feb 289 7 4233-43
- Stabilization of the conductive conformation of a voltage-gated K+ (Kv) channel: the lid mechanism.
- Santos JS, Syeda R, Montal M J. Biol. Chem. 2013 Jun 288 23 16619-28
- Crystal structure of a voltage-gated K+ channel pore module in a closed state in lipid membranes.
- Santos JS, Asmar-Rovira GA, Han GW, Liu W, Syeda R, Cherezov V, Baker KA, Stevens RC, Montal M J. Biol. Chem. 2012 Dec 287 51 43063-70
Honors & Awards
- The Welch Foundation
Research Grant (2018-2021)
- American Heart Association
Scientist Development Grant (2017-2019)
- Eli Lilly Award
Outstanding Postgraduate Student (2008)
- Lincoln College Senior Scholar
University of Oxford (2008-2010)
- Clarendon Scholarship
Fully funded D.Phil program (2007-2010)
- Lady Noon Foundation Award
To Pursue D.Phil in Chemical Biology (2007-2010)