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Biomedical Sciences

Biomedical Seminar Series

Launched in June 2016, the Biomedical Seminar Series is a bi-monthly seminar that allows WSU Spokane faculty and researchers to interact with leading biomedical scientists from around the world. The mission is to improve visibility of the excellent research being conducted by our faculty and foster collaboration between Washington State University and other institutions and organizations. The seminar series will be held on the first and third Tuesday of each month during the academic year and is open to the public:

February 21
Jonathan Sebat, Ph.D. | Professor of Psychiatry and Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of California San Diego

“DNA technologies to improve the diagnosis and treatment of autism”

Jonathan Sebat, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychiatry and Cellular and Molecular Medicine at University of California, San Diego and is the Director of the Beyster Center for Molecular Genomics of Psychiatric Diseases. His lab is interested in understanding the molecular basis of neuropsychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism. They are interested the role of copy number variants (CNVs) in disease. Their approach is to apply advanced mutation-detection methods, including microarray and Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies, to identify mutations that confer high risk of disease. Further, they are investigating the functional impact of CNVs on genes and corresponding cellular pathways.

March 7
Yuxiang Sun, MD, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor in the Dept. Nutrition and Food Science, Texas A&M University

“Ghrelin: from orexigenic signal to metabolic regulator – studies of ghrelin signaling in thermogenesis and macrophage polarization”

Yuxiang Sun, PhD is an Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science. Dr. Sun is an expert on the “hunger hormone” ghrelin. She generated the first ghrelin knockout mice, and discovered ghrelin’s novel roles in diabetes, thermogenesis and macrophage polarization. Her laboratory uses state-of-the-art tools to study ghrelin in energy sensing, intake, and expenditure. Her work suggests that ghrelin might be a promising drug target for obesity, diabetes, inflammation, and aging.

March 21
Ralph Lydic, Ph.D. | Professor and Co-Director of Anesthesiology Research, University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine

“Obesity and female sex are associated with opiate-induced respiratory depression: A search for underlying mechanisms”

Opiates have an essential role in the clinical management of acute and chronic pain. From 2000 to the present, more than 300,000 people in the U.S. have died from opiate overdose. Obesity and female sex are associated with increased risk of opiate-induced respiratory depression but the mechanisms underlying this association remain poorly understood. Lydic will describe new findings regarding leptin and obesity as modulators of opiate effects on nociception and respiratory control.

April 18
Dong Wang, Ph.D. | Associate Professor in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of California San Diego

“Mechanism of Transcription and DNA lesion recognition by RNA polymerase II”

During transcription elongation, Pol II encounters many types of “road barriers,” including nucleosomes and DNA lesions. The mechanism of how pol II senses these different types of “road barriers” is not fully understood. Here we will present our recent mechanistic research towards understanding how pol II senses different “road barriers.”


If you have questions about the seminar series or are interested in presenting to Department of Biomedical Sciences faculty, please email

Contact Us

Department of Biomedical Sciences
P.O. Box 1495
Spokane, WA 99210

Marcos Frank, Ph.D.
Chair of Biomedical Sciences

Breezy Tottenhoff
Administrative Assistant