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Isaac Pessah

Professor and Assoc Dean Research and Graduate Education

VM Molecular Biosciences

2203 VM3A
(530) 752-6696


1983 PhD University of Maryland Toxicology
1981 MS University of Maryland Toxicology
1977 BS Cornell University Biology

Research Contribution to Society:

Participated in the discovery of ryanodine receptors. Helped raise awareness of environmental triggers of clinical disorders.

Research Interests:

Gene by environment interactions contributing to neuromuscular and neurodevelopmental disorders

Molecular and cellular mechanisms regulating ryanodine receptors and Ca2+ signaling


Pfizer Research Excellence
Elsevier Distinguished Lectureship
CAN/Autism Speaks Environmental Innovator

Department and Center Affiliations:

Deputy Director, Center for Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention

Professional Societies:

Biophysical Society
American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Society of Toxicology
American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB)

CBS Graduate Group Affiliations:

Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Physiology  

Graduate Groups not Housed in CBS:



Last updated 9/7/2013
Aryl hydrocarbon receptor signaling regulates NF-κB RelB activation during dendritic-cell differentiation. Vogel CF, Wu D, Goth SR, Baek J, Lollies A, Domhardt R, Grindel A, Pessah IN. Immunol Cell Biol. 2013 Sep 3. doi: 10.1038/icb.2013.43. [Epub ahead of print]

Structure-activity relationship of non-coplanar polychlorinated biphenyls toward skeletal muscle ryanodine receptors in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Fritsch EB, Pessah IN. Aquat Toxicol. 2013 Sep 15;140-141:204-12.

Simultaneous determination of polybrominated diphenyl ethers and polychlorinated biphenyls by gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry in human serum and plasma. Lin YP, Pessah IN, Puschner B. Talanta. 2013 Sep 15;113:41-8.

Enhanced asynchronous Ca(2+) oscillations associated with impaired glutamate transport in cortical astrocytes expressing Fmr1 gene premutation expansion. Cao Z, Hulsizer S, Cui Y, Pretto DL, Kim KH, Hagerman PJ, Tassone F, Pessah IN. J Biol Chem. 2013 May 10;288(19):13831-41.

Global increases in both common and rare copy number load associated with autism. Girirajan S, Johnson RL, Tassone F, Balciuniene J, Katiyar N, Fox K, Baker C, Srikanth A, Yeoh KH, Khoo SJ, Nauth TB, Hansen R, Ritchie M, Hertz-Picciotto I, Eichler EE, Pessah IN, Selleck SB. Hum Mol Genet. 2013 Jul 15;22(14):2870-80.

Triclosan impairs swimming behavior and alters expression of excitation-contraction coupling proteins in fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas). Fritsch EB, Connon RE, Werner I, Davies RE, Beggel S, Feng W, Pessah IN. Environ Sci Technol. 2013 Feb 19;47(4):2008-17.

Early mitochondrial abnormalities in hippocampal neurons cultured from Fmr1 pre-mutation mouse model. Kaplan ES, Cao Z, Hulsizer S, Tassone F, Berman RF, Hagerman PJ, Pessah IN. J Neurochem. 2012 Nov;123(4):613-21.

Triclosan impairs excitation-contraction coupling and Ca2+ dynamics in striated muscle. Cherednichenko G, Zhang R, Bannister RA, Timofeyev V, Li N, Fritsch EB, Feng W, Barrientos GC, Schebb NH, Hammock BD, Beam KG, Chiamvimonvat N, Pessah IN. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Aug 28;109(35):14158-63.

Tetramethylenedisulfotetramine alters Ca²⁺ dynamics in cultured hippocampal neurons: mitigation by NMDA receptor blockade and GABA(A) receptor-positive modulation. Cao Z, Hammock BD, McCoy M, Rogawski MA, Lein PJ, Pessah IN. Toxicol Sci. 2012 Dec;130(2):362-72.

Identification of expanded alleles of the FMR1 Gene in the CHildhood Autism Risks from Genes and Environment (CHARGE) study. Tassone F, Choudhary NS, Tassone F, Durbin-Johnson B, Hansen R, Hertz-Picciotto I, Pessah I. J Autism Dev Disord. 2013 Mar;43(3):530-9.

Signaling defects in iPSC-derived fragile X premutation neurons. Liu J, Koscielska KA, Cao Z, Hulsizer S, Grace N, Mitchell G, Nacey C, Githinji J, McGee J, Garcia-Arocena D, Hagerman RJ, Nolta J, Pessah IN, Hagerman PJ. Hum Mol Genet. 2012 Sep 1;21(17):3795-805.

Clustered burst firing in FMR1 premutation hippocampal neurons: amelioration with allopregnanolone. Cao Z, Hulsizer S, Tassone F, Tang HT, Hagerman RJ, Rogawski MA, Hagerman PJ, Pessah IN. Hum Mol Genet. 2012 Jul 1;21(13):2923-35.

Gene dose influences cellular and calcium channel dysregulation in heterozygous and homozygous T4826I-RYR1 malignant hyperthermia-susceptible muscle. Barrientos GC, Feng W, Truong K, Matthaei KI, Yang T, Allen PD, Lopez JR, Pessah IN. J Biol Chem. 2012 Jan 20;287(4):2863-76.

Mice expressing T4826I-RYR1 are viable but exhibit sex- and genotype-dependent susceptibility to malignant hyperthermia and muscle damage. Yuen B, Boncompagni S, Feng W, Yang T, Lopez JR, Matthaei KI, Goth SR, Protasi F, Franzini-Armstrong C, Allen PD, Pessah IN. FASEB J. 2012 Mar;26(3):1311-22.

Functional and biochemical properties of ryanodine receptor type 1 channels from heterozygous R163C malignant hyperthermia-susceptible mice. Feng W, Barrientos GC, Cherednichenko G, Yang T, Padilla IT, Truong K, Allen PD, Lopez JR, Pessah IN. Mol Pharmacol. 2011 Mar;79(3):420-31.

Laboratory Personnel:

Pessah Lab 1278,1279,1282 Surge III
Wei Feng, Gennady Cherednychenko, Susan Hulsizer, Yao Dong, Kim Truong, Ray Zhang, Yassaman Niknam, Erika Fritsch, Kyla Walter

Teaching Interests:

Principles of Pharmacodynamics and Toxicodynamics (PTX202) - Receptor occupancy theory. Structure, function, and pharmacology of ion channels and Receptors coupled to GTP-binding proteins. Principles of Pharmacology (VMD414A) - Pharmacodynamics Physiological Chemistry (VMD403) - Principles of cell signaling

Personal Interests:

Road bicycling http://
Sailing http://
Hiking http://

Key Words:

ryanodine receptors, calcium channels, PCBs, PBDEs, Xestospongins, bastadins, malignant hyperthermia, FMR1 premutation, autism