Daniel Beard, PhD


Daniel Beard, PhD


daniel beard, phd

Professor, Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology
School of Medicine Collegiate Professor


Dr. Beard is a Professor in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology and School of Medicine Collegiate Professor at the University of Michigan. He received a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University in 1993 and an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Washington in 1997. Following his PhD studies, he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute postdoctoral fellow at New York University from 1997-2001. Prior to joining the University of Michigan, Dr. Beard was a Professor and Director of the Computation Medicine Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Research in Dr. Beard’s laboratory is focused on systems engineering approaches to understanding the operation of physiological systems in health and disease. One of the major projects of the group is on theoretical and experimental characterization of the thermodynamics, kinetics, and electrophysiology of mitochondria. Dr. Beard’s group has determined how mitochondrial ATP synthesis in the heart is physiologically controlled how this feedback mechanism breaks down in heart failure.

Additional research projects in the Beard group include analysis of large-scale biochemical systems, whole-body cardiovascular mechanics and transport, blood-flow regulation, mechanisms of renal solute transport. Dr. Beard is the Director of the Virtual Physiological Rat (VPR) project. The VPR project is an international collaboration, supported as an NIH National Center for Systems Biology, working to analyze, interpret, simulate, and ultimately predict physiological function in health and disease. VPR research is coordinated at the University of Michigan, with six additional partner institutions around the world, and in close collaboration with the European Commission’s Virtual Physiological Human (VPH) Network of Excellence. Dr. Beard has authored over 100 peer-review publications, and two textbooks.

Jimo Borjigin, PhD

Jimo Borjigin, PhD

jimo borjigin, phd

Associate Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Associate Professor, Neurology


Dr. Borjigin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology and the Department of Neurology. She received a B.S. in Physics and M.S in Biophysics from Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan. She received a PhD in Neuroscience from the Johns Hopkins University in 1994. From 1994 until 1998, Dr. Borjigin received postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Solomon H. Snyder. Her first independent position was in the Department of Embryology of the Carnegie Institution of Washington from 1998 to 2003. Dr. Borjigin joined the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology in 2003 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2009. She also has a joint faculty position in the Department of Neurology and is a member of Neuroscience Graduate Program.

Research in Dr. Borjigin’s laboratory is focused on systems neuroscience aiming to understand the operation of mammalian physiology in health and disease. One of the main projects has been to understand how circadian rhythms are generated and coordinated temporally and spatially. These circadian studies are driven by a powerful approach perfected in Dr. Borjigin's laboratory: long-term (up to 100 days) pineal microdialysis to sample melatonin release at high-resolution (every 10-20 min) in freely moving animals. Using this technique, they have been able to uncover novel features of circadian rhythms that were previously unknown, including identification of rats with extreme chronotypes (rats with very early and very late melatonin onset). These studies will lead to a better understanding of basic properties of circadian timing. They will also provide clues on how jet lag, shift-work, and light-at-night impact our circadian rhythms and health.

One of Borjigin laboratory’s newest projects is to define electrical oscillations of the brain at the systems level in animals experiencing global hypoxia or global ischemia. This new line of research utilizes physical principles of vibrations and waves and mathematical modeling of brain oscillations, and has been performed in collaboration with experts both in and outside of U-M. These studies aim to provide a better understanding of how the brain processes information in health and disease.

Brian Carlson, PhD

Brian Carlson, PhD

brian carlson, phd

Research Assistant Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology


Dr. Carlson is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology. His lab has focused over the past decade on using physics and engineering based approaches to understand and describe physiological systems in health and disease. Dr. Carlson earned PhD in Mechanical Engineering in 2001 where his thesis focused on alterations in blood flow patterns within the microvasculature in sickle cell disease. After completing his PhD he conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Arizona working with Dr. Timothy Secomb and at the University of Washington working with Dr. James Bassingthwaighte. Before joining the University of Michigan, he was Assistant Professor of Physiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Dr. Carlson’s specific research interests center on:

  1. Blood flow regulation. Mechanical (pressure and shear stress), neuronal (sympathetic tone), metabolic (ATP release) and humoral (circulating small molecules, e.g. Angiotensin II) stimuli are integrated locally in the resistance vessels of the vasculature to govern blood flow. Research on this topic focuses on utilizing experimental and theoretical methods to define the mechanisms transducing these stimuli into changes in vessel caliber and hence blood flow.
  2. Cardiovascular dynamics. Sympathetic tone plays an important role in the acute response of the cardiovascular system to changes in pressure and blood volume. Understanding the interdependency between changes in heart function, sympathetic tone and tissue level perfusion is of great interest and whole body cardiovascular models along with experimental studies are being used to quantify these relationships.
  3. Stem cell derived cardiomyocytes. Pluripotent stem cells can be differentiated into cardiomyocytes to provide a source of patient specific cells for pharmacological testing. How cardiomyocyte-like these cells are is still an open question. Theoretical work coupled with experimental work with collaborators at University of Wisconsin-Madison and Washington University at St. Louis are helping to understand how these cells change in their electrophysiological function and force generation capabilities immediately after differentiation and during cell maturation in culture.
  4. Semantic-based methods of model description and sharing. Computational models are developed with different standards and conventions in labs all over the world. In order to share, reuse and merge these models within the community, a method of attaching unambiguous biological and physics-based descriptors to components of the model is needed. Semantic-based methodologies to solve this problem are being developed with collaborators at the University of Washington and Medical College of Wisconsin.

Geoffrey G. Murphy, PhD

Geoffrey G. Murphy, PhD

geoffrey g. murphy, phd

Associate Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Associate Research Professor, Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute



Dr. Murphy currently holds a dual appointment at the University of Michigan Medical School. He holds a tenured Instructional track appointment in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology and a Research track appointment in the Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience Institute.

His group makes and uses genetically engineered mice and a multidisciplinary approach that combines aspects of modern molecular biology, behavioral neuroscience and in vitro electrophysiology. This approach has allowed the group to address questions at the basic neuroscience level as well as questions that are more translational in nature. Their work has been funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke (NINDS), the Department of Defense as well as private foundations

Dr. Murphy’s group has extensive experience using in vitro brain slices acutely prepared from mice, rats and human subjects. They routinely make in vitro recordings using a wide range of methodologies including extracellular field potentials, whole-cell patch (current and voltage clamp) and sharp electrodes. Similarly, they have published numerous peer-reviewed papers using mice as a model system to study normal cognitive function as well as disease related cognitive impairments.

Santiago Schnell, PhD

Santiago Schnell, PhD

santiago schnell, phd

Professor,  Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Professor,  Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics


Dr. Schnell is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Molecular & Integrative Physiology and Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics at the University of Michigan Medical School. He is a Brehm Investigator in the Brehm Center for Diabetes Research at University of Michigan Comprehensive Diabetes Center.  He received a License (degree equivalent to M.Sc.) in Biology from Universidad Simón Bolívar (Venezuela) in 1996 and D.Phil. in Mathematical Biology from the University of Oxford (UK) in 2002. Following his doctoral studies, he was a Junior Research Fellow in Christ Church and Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow in the Center for Mathematical Biology at the University of Oxford from 2002-2004. Prior to joining the University of Michigan, Dr. Schnell was an Assistant Professor of Informatics and Associate Director of the Biocomplexity Institute at Indiana University.

Research in Dr. Schnell’s laboratory focuses on investigating physiology systems comprising many interacting components, where modeling and theory may aid in the identification of the key mechanisms underlying the behavior of the system as a whole. His laboratory’s research lies at the interface between physiology, biophysical chemistry, mathematics and scientific computing. One of the major projects of the Schnell lab is on theoretical characterization of the mechanisms and kinetics of protein misfolding and aggregation in protein folding diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, prion diseases, diabetes and cancer. Dr. Schnell has developed novel methodologies to model and investigate reactions inside cells.  Additional research projects in the Schnell laboratory include investigating the signaling pathways controlling ER stress during the progression of protein folding diseases, the modulation of cancer proliferation by altering the metabolic flux of malignant cells and the mechanisms of intestinal epithelium development and intestinal lengthening in early development.

Dr. Schnell is the Associate Director of the Systems & Integrative Biology Training Grant and Director of the Educational Program Interfacing Computation and Engineering with Digestive and Metabolic Physiology at the University of Michigan.  His research in computational systems biology has been continuously funded by National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and other entities.  Dr. Schnell has served in the Board of Directors of the Society for Mathematical Biology, and the editorial boards of Computational & Mathematical Methods in Medicine, IET Systems Biology, Mathematical Bioscience and Computational Biology & Chemistry.  He has also served on the board of scientific counselors of the Environmental Protection Agency.

In 2012 Dr. Schnell was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry for his for work and discoveries in theoretical enzyme kinetics and modeling reactions inside cells.