Thomas M. Suchyna Ph.D.

Thomas Suchyna

Thomas M. Suchyna
Ph.D.

Research Associate Professor

Department of Physiology and Biophysics

Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences


Specialty/Research Focus

Arrhythmias; Biomedical Imaging; Biophysics; Cardiopulmonary physiology; Cardiovascular Disease; Cytoskeleton and cell motility; Drug Design; Drug Development; Electrophysiology; Image Processing and Analysis; Ion channel kinetics and structure; Membrane Biophysics; Membrane Proteins; Muscular Dystrophy; Preclinical Research; Protein Folding; Protein Function and Structure; Pulmonary Disease; Signal Transduction

Contact Information
301 Cary Hall
Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
Buffalo, New York 14214
Phone: 716-829-5156
suchyna@buffalo.edu



Professional Summary:

I study cell membrane signaling molecules that alert cells to mechanical forces and the regulation of membrane tension by the cytoskeleton. I have a particular interest in the regulation of ion channels called Piezo that are activated by mechanical stress. These channels are currently being intensely studied as a point of intervention for diseases with strong mechanical components like cancer, cardiovascular, pulmonary and inflammatory disorders.
My studies of Piezo channels led to the seminal discovery of a small peptide called GsMTx4 that inhibits these channels. GsMTx4, and its analogs, have been patented by the University and are sold worldwide by multiple biochemical supply companies. It has been used in more than a hundred studies to identify the role of mechanosensitive channels in normal physiology and pathophysiology. I cofounded a Bio-Pharm company called Tonus to develop GsMTx4 into a therapeutic for diseases that have significant component of dysfunctional mechanical signaling. The primary goal of this company is development of therapies for treating muscular dystrophy, cardiomyopathy and inflammatory related pathology.
My lab leverages real-time fluorescence imaging, optical force probes, genetics, molecular biology and peptide chemistry to study how cellular mechanical stress is transmitted to signaling molecules in muscle and chondrocytes in in vitro disease models for muscular dystrophy and osteoarthritis. We use single cells assays and develop model systems of higher order differentiated tissue organoids. I have ongoing collaborations with researchers that use animal disease models in cardiomyopathy, muscular dystrophy, osteoarthritis and gastro-intestinal disease to test potential therapeutic interventions.
I serve the university and department of Physiology and Biophysics in multiple capacities. I have mentored multiple high school and undergraduate students interested in science careers in summer research programs, and I coordinate our departmental seminar series. I co-coordinating and lecture in the Cell Membrane Physiology PGY 405-505 course, a core course in our graduate program and an advanced course for higher level undergraduates. I also lecture and co-coordinate the IMC 604 pulmonary/respiratory module for second year medical students. I am serving on the medical school Phase 1 curriculum development sub-committee.

Education and Training:

  • PhD, Connexin Electrophysiology, SUNY at Buffalo, Dept. Biology, Buffalo, NY (1993)
  • BS, Biological Sciences, SUNY at Buffalo, Dept. Biology, Buffalo, NY (1987)
  • Certificate, Optical Microscopy & Imaging Course, Molecular Biology Institute

Employment:

  • Scientific Officer and Business Officer, Tonus Therapeutics (2010-present)
  • Research Assoc. Professor, Dept. of Physiology and Biophysics, SUNY at Buffalo (2021-present)
  • Research Asst. Professor, Dept. of Physiology and Biophysics, SUNY at Buffalo (2002–2020)
  • Adjunct Asst. Professor, Biology, SUNY at Buffalo (2002–2004)

Awards and Honors:

  • SUNY at Buffalo Blue Sky Initiative (2018)
  • Visionary Innovators Award (2013)
  • Inventor of the Year Award (2007)
  • Visionary Innovators Award (2007)
  • Inventor of the Year Award (2006)
  • Visionary Innovators Award (2003)

Research Expertise:

  • Drug development: Designing and constructing peptide inhibitors and functional analysis in disease models
  • Electrophysiology: Ion channels, gating kinetics
  • Microscopy: Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer
  • peptide chemistry: Small peptide ion channel inhibitors
  • Pulmonary physiology: Basic physiology of pulmonary function

Grants and Sponsored Research:

  • April 2020–March 2023
    Fluorescent peptides for probing and modulation of membrane mechanics
    NIGMS
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • January 2021–September 2022
    GsMTx4-D as an Exon-Skipping Adjuvant in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
    UB CTSI Translational Pilot Studies Program
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • August 2016–January 2019
    Protein stress in the development of C2C12 myotubes
    NIH - EUNICE KENNEDY SHRIVER NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF CHILD HEALTH & HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • October 2014–September 2016
    PK analysis and efficacy testing of GsMTx4-D as a therapeutic agent for treating muscular dystrophy in mice and as a cardioprotectant in mice with Ischemic reperfusion injury
    Akashi Therapeutics
    Role: Principal Investigator

Patents:

  • D-Amino Acid Mechanically-Activated Channel Blocker GsMTx4-D Analog of GsMTx4 made from all D amino acids inhibits mechanosensitive ion channels (2007)
  • Mechanically-Activated Channel Blocker GsMTx4 Isolated and functionally tested venom peptide that inhibits mechanosensitive ion channels (2006)

Journal Articles:

See all (20 more)

Books and Book Chapters:

  • Suchyna TM. (2017) In: Piezo channels and GsMTx4: Two milestones in our understanding of excitatory mechanosensitive channels and their role in pathology. , 244-253.
  • Thomas M. Suchyna and Frederick Sachs. (2011) The Membrane/Cytoskeleton Interface and Stretch-Activated Channels. In: Cardiac Mechano-electric Feedback and Arrhythmias, 2nd Edition, Ch. 8. Oxford University Press
  • Bruce J. Nicholson, Thomas M. Suchyna, Lie Xian Xu, Patricia Hammernick, Feng Lee Cao, Charles R. Fourtner, Luis Barrio, and Michael V. L. Bennett. (1993) Divergent Properties of Different Connexins Expressed in Xenopus Oocytes. In: Progress in Cell Research, Vol 3. Elsevier Science Publishers

Professional Memberships:

  • Biophysical Society; Membership (2000–present)

Presentations:

  • "GsMTx4 Mechanism of Inhibition and Understanding Cytoskeletal Forces with FRET Based Stress Probes" Departmental Seminar, Dept. of Physiology and Biophysics, Dalhousie University (2017)
  • "A Lamin-A Chimeric Protein Containing a FRET Based Stress Sensor Reports Spatiotemporal Forces in the Nuclear Lamina" Conference Symposium, Annual Biophysical Society Meeting (2016)
  • "GsMTx4 Mechanism of Inhibition and Understanding Muscle Pathology with FRET Based Stress Probes" Departmental Seminar, University of Louvain, Institute of Neuroscience (2016)
  • "GsMTx4-D Mechanism of MSC Inhibition and Function as a Cardioprotectant" Conference Symposium, 7th International Workshop on Cardiac Mechano-Electric Coupling and Arrhythmias, University of Freiburg (2016)
  • "Factors Controlling Sarcolemma Tension and Mechanosensitive Channels in Skeletal Muscle" Departmental Seminar, University of New Jersey School of Medicine and Dentistry, Dept. Pharmacology and Physiology (2011)
  • "GsMTx4 Therapeutic Potential" TREAT-NMD Advisory Committee Meeting presentation in Baltimore (2010)
  • "Caveolin Regulation of Muscle MSCs" Annual Biophysical Society Meeting, Mechanosensation Conference Symposium (2008)
  • "Dystrophic Membrane Mechanics" Conference Symposium, International Muscle Energetics Conference (2006)

Service Activities:

  • Medical school Phase 1 curriculum development sub-committee; committee member (2022–present)
  • lecture and co-coordinate the IMC 604 pulmonary/respiratory module; lecture and co-coordinate (2022–present)
  • Cell Membrane Physiology PGY 405-505 course, co-coordinating and lecture; co-coordinating and lecture (2021–present)
  • coordinate our departmental seminar series; coordinator (2020–present)

School News:

In the Media:


Clinical Specialties:

Clinical Offices:

Insurance Accepted:



Contact Information

301 Cary Hall
Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
Buffalo, New York 14214
Phone: 716-829-5156
suchyna@buffalo.edu