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Department of Physiology
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
The Pluznick Lab
Jen 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 at Yale University (New Haven, CT), where she studied both renal physiology and sensory biology systems (in particular, olfaction).  Jen is interested in better understanding the roles of “understudied” G-protein coupled receptors in the kidney, and in uncovering how these receptors aid the kidney 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.

Jiaojiao Xu
Jiaojiao Xu, Ph.D.

Jiaojiao Xu graduated from The Chinese University of Hong Kong with her PhD in Oct of 2017, where she studied the modulation of salty taste  in human taste cells by dipeptides.   She joined the lab in October of 2018.




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  

Brittni Moore
Brittni graduated from Pepperdine University with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Medicine in 2016. She then worked as a Cancer Research Training Fellow with the National Institutes of Health until her matriculation into the CMP program in the fall of 2019. Brittni officially joined the Pluznick family in May of 2020. Her interests include: yoga, brunches, and all things involving her nieces and nephews.

Jason Sanchez

Jason graduated from The Catholic University of America with a M.S. in Biotechnology in 2016 and joined the lab early of 2018. Currently, Jason is conducting an aging study looking at baseline plasma acetate levels in mice, and he hopes to pioneer RNAscope technology for the lab. Jason enjoys playing basketball, spending time in the gym, and having a good laugh.


Kunal Gupta
Kunal Gupta
Kunal is an undergraduate senior at Johns Hopkins University from Seattle, WA. He is studying molecular and cellular biology, and started working at the lab in the fall of 2018. He is researching the expression of ion transport receptors found throughout the nephron. Outside of the lab, Kunal enjoys sports, hanging out with friends, and photography.

Eesha Verma


Eesha is currently an undergraduate sophomore studying biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University. She is originally from central Massachusetts, and she plans to join the lab in the spring of 2021. In her free time, Eesha loves hiking, baking bread, and painting.

Trainee Grants and Honors  
F31 Predoctoral Fellowship Victoria Halperin-Kuhns, Brian Poll
NSF Fellowship Brittni Moore
AHA Predoctoral Fellowship Niranjana Natarajan
F32 Postdoctoral Fellowship Blythe Shepard, Nathan Zaidman
KO1 Blythe Shepard
National Kidney Foundation of Maryland Minigrant Blythe Shepard, Prem Rajkumar
Finalist for Postdoctoral Excellence in Renal Research Award (APS annual meeting) Blythe Shepard, Prem Rajkumar
Caroline Tum Suden Awardee
(APS annual Meeting)
Blythe Shepard, Prem Rajkumar, Niranjana Natarajan, Nathan Zaidman, Brian Poll
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