Welcome to the Mruk Lab



Central nervous system (CNS) injuries affect multiple cell types and after the initial damage, additional tissue loss exacerbates the injury leading to permanent dysfunction. There is no effective cure for CNS injuries often leading to a lifetime of therapy and permanent disability. The Mruk Lab studies CNS injuries using the zebrafish because although the zebrafish CNS shares many organizational, cellular and molecular pathways with mammals, functional recovery occurs after injury. We use a combination of electrophysiology, fluorescent imaging, behavior, and bioinformatics to understand how the entire CNS network responds and subsequently recovers from injury.

Zebrafish models of regeneration

Cellular response to spinal cord injury

Optogenetic technologies for studying development and regeneration




Karen Mruk


Payge Hoffman

Physiology Undergraduate

Shannon Linch

Chemical Engineering Undergraduate

Andrew Navarro

WWAMI Student

Garret Phillips

Physiology Undergraduate

Ronnie Porter

Fish Extraordinaire

Emily Purifoy

Veterinary Sciences Undergraduate

Kodi Stringer

Physiology Undergraduate

Kirsten Underwood

PharmD Student

Whitney Walker

PhD Student, Biomedical Sciences

Emily Wolf

Physiology Undergraduate






Mruk, K.*, Ciepla, P., Piza, P. A., Alnaqib, M. A., and Chen, J. K.* (2020) Targeted cell ablation in zebrafish using optogenetic transcriptional control. Development, 147: dev183640 [Pubmed]


Hwang, S., Mruk, K., Rahighi, S., Raub, A. G., Chen, C.-H., Dorn, L. E., Horikoshi, N., Wataksuki, S., Chen, J. K., and Mochly-Rosen, D. (2018) Correcting glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency with a small molecule activator. Nat. Commun. 9: 4045. [PubMed]


Mruk K. and Chen, J. K. (2015) Thinking big with small molecules. J. Cell Biol. 209: 7-9. [PubMed]

Graduate Work

Kubat Öktem E, Mruk K, Chang J, Akin A, Kobertz WR, Brown RH Jr. (2016) Mutant SOD1 protein increases Nav1.3 channel excitability. J Biol Phys. 42:351-70 [Pubmed]

Mruk K, Kobertz WR. (2015) Bioreactive Tethers Adv Exp Med Biol. 869:77-100. [Pubmed]

Mruk K, Farley BM, Ritacco AW, Kobertz WR. (2014) Calmodulin meta-analysis: predicting calmodulin binding via canonical motif clustering. J Gen Physiol. 144:105-14. [Pubmed]

Mruk K, Shandilya SM, Blaustein RO, Schiffer CA, Kobertz WR. (2012) Structural insights into neuronal K+ channel-calmodulin complexes. PNAS 109:1357-83. [Pubmed]

O'Connell D, Mruk K, Rocheleau JM, Kobertz WR. (2011) Xenopus laevis oocytes infected with multi-drug-resistant bacteria: implications for electrical recordings. J Gen Physiol. 138:271-7. [Pubmed]

Mruk K, Kobertz WR. (2009) PLoS One. 4:e4236. [Pubmed]

Clancy L, Mruk K, Archer K, Woelfel M, Mongkolsapaya J, Screaton G, Lenardo MJ, Chan FK. (2005) PNAS 102:18099-104. [Pubmed]


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Contact Us

University of Wyoming

School of Pharmacy

1000 E. University Ave

Dept 3375

Laramie, WY 82071

Office: (307) 766-6481

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