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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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Jennifer Pluznick
Jennifer Pluznick, Ph.D.
Associate 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.

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  
Brian Poll
Brian Poll
Brian graduated from the University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in Biology in 2012. After working as a laboratory technician at Northwestern University, he was accepted to the BCMB graduate program and joined the lab in the summer of 2017. His project studies Olfr78, a renal olfactory receptor found in the juxtaglomerular apparatus. When not in the lab he enjoys watching movies, jogging, and collecting vinyl records.
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.

Zoya Khalil
Zoya Khalil

Zoya is an undergraduate pre-med student at Johns Hopkins from Los Angeles. She is majoring in Psychology and is in her 3rd year at Hopkins. She first started working in the lab June 2017. She's currently studying Olfr 461 and 456 and their role in the kidney. While not in the lab, Zoya enjoys swimming and spending time with her friends. 

Lab Alumni  
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