Dr. Dirksen is the Lewis Pratt Ross Professor and Chair of Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Dr. Dirksen obtained his BS in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Notre Dame, and MS and PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Rochester. Dr. Dirksen is an outstanding scientist who has focused much of his scientific efforts on understanding the underlying defects of skeletal muscle in patients with Myotonic Dystrophy, Malignant Hyperthermia, Central Core Disease, and other RYR-1-related diseases. His particular focus has been on understanding the control of calcium movements in muscle and the complex relationship between altered calcium movements and abnormal muscle function. His work has shown that dysfunction in calcium flow through RyR1 calcium channels is the underlying cause of muscle weakness in patients with RYR-1-related diseases.
His work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and The RYR-1 Foundation among others. He has published over 150 original research articles and reviews in leading scientific journals and has given numerous invited lectures. Dr. Dirksen served tenures as President of the Society of General Physiologists and Chair of the Malignant Hyperthermia Association of the United States (MHAUS) Professional Advisory Committee. He currently serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including the Journal of General Physiology, Skeletal Muscle, and Frontiers in Skeletal Muscle Physiology. He was Chair of the 2015 Gordon Research Conference on Muscle: Excitation-Contraction Coupling and has served on several NIH Study Sections related to muscle biology and disease.