Jen Q. Pan is the associate director for neurobiology and strategy at the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute. The research of her group focuses on translating emerging genetics into biology and to enable next-generation therapeutics to treat psychiatric illnesses. In particular, Pan has been working to functionalize genes whose dysfunction has been implicated for psychiatric illnesses using molecular, cellular, and electrophysiological approaches, both in vitro and in animals. She has expertise in the physiology of ion channels, part of the large protein family critical to neurons firing and muscles moving.
Before joining the Broad in 2007, Pan worked at Incellico, Scion Pharmaceutical, and Amgen. Much of her work in industry involved drug discovery of sodium and calcium channels and the specific roles they play in neuropathic pain, a comorbidity of a variety of diseases from diabetes to cancer that brings significant suffering.
In her role within the Stanley Center, Pan brings her expertise in neurobiology to other seemingly intractable illnesses, including bipolar disorder. Pan has investigated why the standby treatment lithium, used for more than 60 years to treat bipolar disorder, works well in some people but not at all in others. Her team has shed light on the biochemical pathways involved in bipolar disease and pointed the way toward enhancing lithium’s efficacy with new compounds. She has received 2 NIH research grants and a Fidelity Bioscience research grant in support of her work at the Broad Institute. She loves channel physiology, neurobiology, and identification of modulators for ion channels and transporters.
Pan, JQ, Lewis, MC, Ketterman, JK et al. AKT kinase activity is required for lithium to modulate mood-related behaviors in mice. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011; 36, 1397-1411.
Yoshimizu, T*, Pan, JQ*, Mungenast, AE et al. Functional implications of a psychiatric risk variant within CACNA1C in induced human neurons. Molecular Psychiatry. 2015; 20, 162-169. *These authors contributed equally.
Chen, S, Sanjana, NE, Zheng, K et al. Genome-wide CRISPR screen in a mouse model of tumor growth and metastasis. Cell. 2015; 160, 1246-1260.