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Anna Greka

Anna Greka, M.D., Ph.D.

Anna Greka is an institute member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, where she leads a program focused on dissecting basic molecular and cellular mechanisms that may ultimately serve as the foundation for the development of targeted therapies. She is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School (HMS), and an associate physician in the Renal Division in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

The mission of the Greka laboratory is to define fundamental aspects of membrane protein biology and dissect mechanisms of cellular homeostasis. The laboratory complements this cell biology-focused program with tools from molecular biology, genomics, proteomics, and chemical biology.

Combining expertise in ion channel biology with the study of kidney podocytes, the Greka laboratory uncovered a pathway linking TRPC5 ion channel activity to cytoskeletal dysregulation and cell death. Based on these discoveries, TRPC5 inhibitors are now being tested in the clinic for difficult-to-treat kidney diseases.

More recently, the Greka laboratory made a key discovery of a general mechanism that monitors the quality of membrane protein cargoes destined for the cell surface by studying a proteinopathy in the kidney, caused by a mutation in MUC1. Specifically, the Greka lab identified a mechanism for membrane protein quality control that is operative in diverse cell types and tissues, such as kidney epithelial cells and retina photoreceptors. The study of cargo quality control is now a major focus of the laboratory.

The Greka laboratory is also interested in dissecting the fundamental mechanisms of cellular homeostasis across the lifespan, with implications for many degenerative human diseases.

Greka has been the recipient of several honors, including the 2020 Donald W. Seldin Young Investigator Award by the American Society of Nephrology and the American Heart Association, the 2018 Seldin-Smith Award for Pioneering Research from the American Society of Clinical Investigation, a 2017 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, a 2014 Top 10 Exceptional Research Award from the Clinical Research Council, and a 2014 Young Physician-Scientist Award from the American Society of Clinical Investigation Council. She also serves on the Harvard-MIT M.D.-Ph.D. Program Leadership Council.

Greka holds an A.B. in biology from Harvard College and an M.D. and Ph.D. in neurobiology from HMS. She received her medical and scientific training in the Harvard-MIT program in Health Sciences and Technology in the laboratory of National Academy of Sciences member David Clapham, where she explored the role of TRP channels in neuronal growth cone motility.

Photo by Martin Adolfsson

 

October 2020