Derek L. Beahm, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor Science And Math Complex 331
Office: (716) 878-3874

Research Interests

I am a cell biologist with a background in developmental biology, cell physiology, and biophysics. My interests include the role of different types of membrane channel proteins, including ion channels, transporters, water channels, and gap junction channels, in the normal and pathological physiology of cells, tissues, and organs. A variety of techniques from molecular biology, biochemistry, immunohistochemistry, cytology, imaging, and electrophysiology are used to explore the functional roles of membrane proteins found in the vertebrate lens and other model systems in development and disease. 

I also work on the design, manufacturing, and application of label-free bioanalytical instruments to probe molecular events and cell behaviors.  Specifically, I am interested in optical- and electrical-based sensing technologies on microfluidic platforms to allow accurate real-time measurements of changes in cell volume or cell movement. Unlike traditional assays designed to target a specific molecular interaction, these assays provide a phenotypic readout that represents the sum of different cellular processes. I am interested in using these novel types of readouts to develop assays for the biotech and pharmaceutical industries in topics ranging from cell-culture quality control, capture and adhesion studies, dry-eye diagnostics, toxicity screens, and drug discovery.

Current research projects
  1. Structure/function studies to identify the molecular determinants of voltage and pH sensitivity of lens gap junction channels and their component hemichannels. 
  2. Physiological studies to determine the solute and water permeability of the lens gap junction channels and component hemichannels.
  3. Coming soon: Examining how passage number and various drugs/toxins influence the volume regulatory mechanisms in cultured mammalian cells.


Bio 101 - Human Biology
Bio 211 - Introduction to Cell Biology and Genetics
Bio 301 - Cell Physiology
Bio 488 - Biology Internship
Bio 627 - Physical Cell Biology