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YU News

Kushnir Receives PhD with Distinction

Alexander Kushnir, adjunct professor of Biology at Yeshiva College, successfully defended his Columbia University Phd. thesis entitled "Phosphorylation of the ryanodine receptor in the cardiac response to acute stress and heart failure." Dr. Kushnir's thesis work focuses on two novel molecular pathways which explain how the heart beats stronger when we exercise and how dysfunction of one of these pathways results in heart failure. Additionally, the thesis demonstrates how a novel drug called S107 has the ability to fix these dysfunctions and prevent heart failure in mice.

The thesis is comprised of five publications which were published over the past three years in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) Letters, and Advances in Pharmacology: Cardiovascular Pharmacology.

Kushnir, who has taught at Yeshiva College for the last six years, currently teaches Neuroethics in the Biology department. He is a 2006 alumnus of YC, as well as an MD/PhD candidate at Columbia University's Center for Molecular Cardiology. In January he returns to medical school to complete the remainder of his dual degree.