Isaac Pessah

Isaac Pessah

Position Title
Distinguished Professor; Associate Dean Research and Graduate Education

Department of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine

2203 VM3A

Profile Introduction

Molecular and cellular mechanisms regulating ryanodine receptors and Ca2+ signaling

Research Interests

Molecular and cellular mechanisms regulating ryanodine receptors and Ca2+ signaling

Gene by environment interactions contributing to neuromuscular and neurodevelopmental disorders

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology/Toxicology


  • 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

Honors and Awards

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

    Professional Societies

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


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


    Holland EB, Feng W, Zheng J, Dong Y, Li X, Lehmler HJ, Pessah IN.An extended structure-activity relationship of non-dioxin-like PCBs evaluates and supports modeling predictions and identifies picomolar potency of PCB 202 towards ryanodine receptors. Toxicol Sci. 2016 Sep 21. pii: kfw189.

    Ronjat M, Feng W, Dardevet L, Dong Y, Al Khoury S, Chatelain FC, Vialla V, Chahboun S, Lesage F, Darbon H, Pessah IN, De Waard M. In cellulo phosphorylation induces pharmacological reprogramming of maurocalcin, a cell-penetrating venom peptide. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Apr 26;113(17):E2460-8.

    Cao Z, Zou X, Cui Y, Hulsizer S, Lein PJ, Wulff H, Pessah IN. Rapid throughput analysis demonstrates that chemicals with distinct seizurogenic mechanisms differentially alter Ca2+ dynamics in networks formed by hippocampal neurons in culture.  Mol Pharmacol. 2015 Apr;87(4):595-605.

    Nanomolar bifenthrin alters synchronous Ca2+ oscillations and cortical neuron development independent of sodium channel activity. Cao Z, Cui Y, Nguyen HM, Jenkins DP, Wulff H, Pessah IN Mol Pharmacol 2014 85(4):630-9.

    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 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.