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Department of Physiology
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
The Pluznick Lab
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Jen Pluznick
Jennifer Pluznick, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Jen Pluznick received her Ph.D. in Renal Physiology from the University of Nebraska Medical Center (Omaha, NE) in 2005. She then spent five years training as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Michael Caplan at Yale University (New Haven, CT), where she studied both renal physiology and sensory biology systems (in particular, olfaction). Jen's research interests are focused on how the renal and cardiovascular systems employ G-protein coupled receptor "sensory" signaling pathways in order to monitor various substances in the plasma and forming urine, and thus aid in the maintenance of homeostasis.
Complete List of Publications

Postdoctoral Fellows  

M. Umar Cheema, Ph.D.

Umar graduated from Aarhus University, Denmark with a degree in Molecular Biology in 2009, and a PhD in Medicine in 2013. During his PhD, he studied the pathophysiological role of aldosterone in the nephron.   He also did postdoctoral work on the role of female steroid hormones in regulation of aquaporin-2 (AQP2) and water handling by distal tubule.  He joined the Pluznick lab in the fall of 2016 to study the gut microbiota in hypertensive mouse models.  Besides research, he loves to travel, play and watch cricket, and spend time with family and friends.



Prem Rajkumar, PhD

Prem graduated with his PhD from the University of Cinncinati in 2012. He is studying the functional role of sensory GPCRs in the kidney, mainly working on identifying the expression profiles of these receptors in nephron segments and other major organs. Someday, he also really hopes to find their physiological ligand! Prem loves to travel, stay updated on sports news (Who dey!) and nurture a home garden in his patio.
Blythe Shepard
Blythe Shepard, PhD
Blythe Shepard graduated with her BS from Boston College in 2005, and her PhD from The Catholic University of America in 2011. She is currently in a love/hate relationship with Olfr1393, a renal olfactory receptor found in the proximal tubule. When she isn't characterizing her receptor, she enjoys watching football and basketball and growing sunflowers.

Nathan Zaidman
Nathan Zaidman, PhD

Nathan earned his PhD from the University of Minnesota in 2016, where he studied ion transport in airway epithelial cells.  He joined the lab in the fall of 2016 to explore the wonders of the kidney.  When he’s not in the lab, he enjoys hiking, bowling and playing soccer.


Graduate Students  
Victoria Halperin
Victoria Halperin
Victoria joined the Kidney Krew in June of 2013 as a graduate student in the CMP program. She earned her Masters in Biotechnology here at Johns Hopkins, while working in the cardiology department. She is intrigued by the differences in this part of the torso.  When Victoria is not contemplating scientific questions, she enjoys spending time with, and knitting for, her husband Brennan and baby daughter Cora.
Tyler Shubitowski
Tyler Shubitowski

Tyler graduated from Michigan State University with a BS in Physiology and joined the lab in May of 2016.  Tyler is actively searching for olfactory receptors in the kidney, and enjoys taking care of a colony of mice. In his free time, Tyler loves to waterski, rock climb, hike, and cheer on the Spartans in any sport.

Lab Alumni  
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