Paul Insel, M.D. – Principal Investigator


Dr. Insel is a Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology and Medicine at UCSD, with a long-standing interest G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and their signaling mechanisms. A current focus involves the identification and targeting of previously unrecognized GPCRs in human cells in health and disease. In addition, he has been very actively involved in the training of undergraduates, medical students, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Since 1989, he has served as the Director of the UCSD Medical Scientist (MD/PhD) Training Program.


Shu Wiley, Ph.D.- Postdoctoral Fellow

 Shu Wiley received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Ohio University where she worked with Dr. Jennifer Hines to identify and characterize T box antiterminator RNA ligands as potential antibacterial agents.  In 2013, Dr. Wiley joined Insel lab and received NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award – Cancer Therapeutics Training Grant.  Her research interests are G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) as novel therapeutic targets in cancer.  She led a project to profile GPCR expression in primary human pancreatic cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs), assess GPCR biological functions in CAFs, validate GPCRs as potential drug targets, and investigate GPCR signaling pathway. Current project focuses on generating GPCR stable cell lines and developing high throughput screening assays to identify small molecule antagonists. (CV)

Krishna Sriram, Ph.D.- Postdoctoral Fellow

Krishna2Krishna, a graduate of UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering, is the resident gourmand of the Insel lab. At the bench, his research is focused on the role of GPCRs in heart disease, primarily in cardiac fibrosis, with secondary research interests in pulmonary disease, including pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary arterial hypertension. With his Insel lab colleagues (in particular Alexander), Krishna aims to leverage a number of diverse tools to profile GPCRs in fibroblasts and various other cell types, following such efforts with functional studies to assess their role in disease.

Alexander Michkov, Ph.D.- Postdoctoral Fellow

Alexander I got my PhD in Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics from the University of California at Riverside. My graduate research work had focused upon elucidating the mechanisms of G-protein signaling pathways and their regulation. I continued working in G-protein signaling systems and I am currently doing my postdoctoral research training in UC San Diego, supported by NRSA (T32) grant. My project, sponsored by pharmaceutical industry, involves the determination of global expression of GPCRs in human lung fibroblasts and finding novel therapeutic targets (G-protein signaling receptors) to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. In my research, I used various methods and instrumentation, including the latest technologies in sequencing and proteomics. Our approach to dissect GPCR’s repertoire in normal and diseased fibroblasts combines studies of all aspects of molecular biology including transcriptional, translational, and functional regulation of GPCR/G-protein signaling system.

Matthew Gorr, Ph.D.- Postdoctoral Fellow
Matt is a postdoc in the lab interested in the discovery of novel treatment strategies through the investigation of factors involved in the development and progression of disease. In line with this purpose, his research focus is on the physiological and molecular relationships between the heart and lungs. Currently, he is working examining the expression of functional GPCRs within the lung in the setting of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), in order to identify novel targets for therapy. This is being carried out utilizing patient- and animal model-derived cultures of various cell types including smooth muscle cells, fibroblasts and endothelial cells. Matt is also interested in the pathobiology of the right ventricle in the setting of PAH and other diseases, and is utilizing animal models to investigate this matter through RNA-seq, assays utilizing cardiac fibroblasts and myocytes, and molecular biology. (CV)

Kristofer Haushalter, Ph.D – Postdoctoral Scholar

Kris is a postdoctoral scholar is the Insel laboratory, researching the role of Matrix Metalloprotease 14 (MMP14, a.k.a. MT1-MMP) in cardiac fibrosis and aging. Kris first earned a B.S. in Biochemistry from UCSB, and then went on to UCSD for his doctoral work in the Chemistry & Biochemistry Department. With expertise in protein biochemistry and cell biology techniques, Kris is currently employing mouse models of aging to assess the effect of GPCR-mediated activation of MMP14 within cardiac tissues. (CV)


Amy Chinn, B.S.- Graduate Student

Amy is a graduate student in UCSD’s Biomedical Sciences Graduate program. Her research is centered on GPCRs in dendritic cells and their role in regulating type II helper T cell (Th2)-mediated immunity. An overactive Th2 arm of the immune system is thought to be critical in the pathology of many allergic diseases. Specifically, the role of cyclic AMP in biasing immune responses is being studied with a collaborator using an asthma mouse model.




Roy Miller, B.S.- Lab Manager/Research Associate

After receiving my B.S. in Human Biology from UC San Diego in the spring of 2017, I am eager to be a part of the Insel team while I await medical school decisions. As Lab Manager and research associate, I ensure the lab is well equipped and up to all environmental, health, and safety standards. In addition, I am assisting with the study of the roll of GPCRs in cardiac fibrosis. In collaboration with colleagues, we hope to find potential new targets for the treatment of heart disease.




Abinaya Muthusamy- Undergraduate Intern

Abby is a physiology and neuroscience major at UC San Diego. Working with Dr. Gorr, her research is involving GPCRs and their involvement in cell function, particularly in the setting of pulmonary arterial hypertension.




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