President-elect (1 year as president-elect, 1 year as president, 1 year as past president):
Xuejun (XJ) Wang (USD): Xuejun (XJ) Wang, M.D., Ph.D., is a full Professor in the Division of Basic Biomedical Sciences and the Director of the MD/PhD Program at University of South Dakota (USD) Sanford School of Medicine (https://www.usd.edu/faculty-and-staff/Xuejun-Wang). He received his Bachelor of Medicine (M.D. equivalent; 1985) and MS in Pathophysiology (1988; mentor, Prof. Chuanren Dong) from Wuhan University College of Medicine (Wuhan, China), Ph.D. in Anatomy (1998; mentor, A. Martin Gerdes, Ph.D.) from USD School of Medicine (Vermillion, SD), and postdoc training in Mol. Cardiovasc. Biol. from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (Cincinnati, OH; mentor, Jeffrey Robbins, Ph.D.). He was recruited back to USD School of Medicine as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in 2001, promoted to Associate Professor in 2005, tenured in 2006, and reappointed to full Professor and Director of the MD/PhD program in 2006. Continuously funded by NIH since 2002, Dr. Wang’s lab has been a leading force for studying protein quality control and protein degradation, especially the ubiquitin-proteasome system and autophagy, in cardiac pathophysiology. He has published over 170 full-length articles, with an H-index of 56 and >15,000 citations. His main contributions have given rise to the theory that proteasome functional insufficiency is a major pathogenic factor for the progression from a large subset of heart diseases to heart failure, thereby laying a strong experimental foundation for making proteasome enhancement a potentially new therapeutic strategy to treat heart failure. Dr. Wang has been active in teaching medical and graduate students and mentoring postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty. His lab has so far graduated 8 PhDs and 20 postdocs; nearly all of them have successfully moved on a scientific career; currently four of them are on faculty of US medical schools (two R01-funded, 2 tenured Associate Professor, 2 Assistant Professors). Most former postdocs went back to their home countries and joined University faculty (10 full Professors, 3 Associate Professors, 1 Assistant Professor; of which, 4 Dept. Chairs and 1 VP for Research of a Medical University). Dr. Wang was a recipient of American Heart Association (AHA) Established Investigator Awards (2007-2011) and the USD President’s Award for Research Excellence in the Established Faculty category (2008). He is an elected Fellow of American Physiological Society Cardiovascular Section (APS-CVS), of AHA, and of International Society for Heart Research (ISHR). He is the current Chair for the Awards Committee and a member of the Standing Committee of APS-CVS (2019-2022) as well as a Council member for MSPS (2018-2020). Dr. Wang also has served on a long list of grant review panels for national (e.g., NIH, AHA) and international (e.g., British MRC, Singapore NMRC, Israel Science Foundation) funding agencies, as well as editorial boards (Circ Res, JMCC, AJP-Heart). He is currently an Associate Editor for Frontiers in Physiology and for Frontiers in Aging.
Secretary (serves a 1-year term):
Hong Zheng (USD): I am an assistant professor in the Basic Biomedical Sciences at University of South Dakota. My research interests are to define the neural control of cardiovascular and renal function in chronic heart failure and obese hypertension. The primary goal of my research is to elucidate the role of central nervous system (specific areas in brain) in the control of sympathetic outflow leading to regulation of cardiovascular function, renal function and blood volume under normal and pathological disease states, such as heart failure and obesity. In these studies, I have applied complementary methodologies in the whole animal to the cellular level, physiological recording sympathetic activity, cardiovascular and renal functions in conscious and anesthetized rats and genetic animal models, molecular biology techniques to measure the levels of various modulators and cell culture to investigate the signaling pathway. In a recent project, I direct my attention to gain insight into the contribution of epithelial sodium channel regulation in altered sodium balance in chronic heart failure and the therapeutic benefits of renal denervation on sodium fluid retention endemic to chronic heart failure.I teach a variety of physiology for the health science students and medical school students in the University of South Dakota. I have served as the secretary of Midlands Society of Physiology Sciences. I look forward to the potential opportunity to work with the Midland Society of Physiological Sciences and to help it to expand and grow in the next few years.
So-Youn Kim (UNMC): Kim has conducted her research in endocrinology for 20 years, focusing on metabolic, reproductive and developmental biology. She had post-doctoral training in the area of ovarian biology in Drs. Larry Jameson’s and Teresa Woodruff’s laboratories at Northwestern University from 2005 to 2013. Then, she studied in the area of developmental biology and mouse genetic models as a Research Assistant Professor at Northwestern University from 2013-2018. Dr. Kim has been utilizing knock-out or knock-in mouse models to understand the signaling pathway of oocyte death and activation, uncovering critical pathways related to p63 to protect oocytes against chemotherapeutics which was published in Cell Death and Differentiation, Endocrinology, Journal of Endocrinology, Biology of Reproduction, etc. This project received ‘special media attention’ at the annual meeting of The Endocrine Society, resulting in television and print descriptions of her work. She received the Young Investigator Award from Women in Endocrinology (2015). Dr. Kim developed a new mouse model for studying granulosa cell tumors and published characterization of this model in Cancer Research. She used a xenografting technique to keep the tumor cell line and to figure out the characteristics of it. Through this study, she has received funding from Granulosa Cell Tumor Research Foundation twice.
Dr. Kim was recruited to the University of Nebraska Medical Center as an Assistant Professor (tenure track) in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Oct. 2018, where she also became a member of Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. Dr. Kim has set up her laboratory in the Durham Research Center II and started conducting independent research projects that focus on three different topics of fertility preservation, granulosa cell tumors, and cachexia. In 2019, Dr. Kim was awarded her first R01 with the title of “Development of mechanism-based ovarian reserve protecting adjuvant therapies against gonadotoxic therapeutic agents” and has been studying with her students.
Councilor (serves a 3-year term):
Song-young Park (UNO): Song-young ParkPhD is an Assistant Professor in the School of Health& Kinesiology at UNO. He earned his PhD in integrative physiology from the University of Utah School of Medicine in 2015, and post-doctoral training from the department of cardiology at Boston University School of Medicine. He joined the school of Health & Kinesiology at University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2017. Dr. Song-young Park’s research examines the impact of age and disease on vascular function and blood pressure regulation utilizing an integrative approach that combines both in-vivo and ex-vivo techniques. He is specifically focused on the complex interactions of endothelial mitochondrial function, oxidative stress, and vascular function in macro and microcirculation in disease populations such as peripheral artery disease (PAD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart failure, and hypertension. He has previously been invited to present his work at several national and international conferences, such as the Annual World Congress on Anti-Aging Medicine. He is also interested in the impacts of prolonged sitting with hypercapnia on vascular function and blood pressure regulation in humans. He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles focusing on the impacts of aging on vascular endothelial function and microcirculation both humans and animals. His studies have been featured in Journal of Applied Physiology, and Menopause as the best paper of the month in 2019. Additionally, his recent study titled “Impacts of prolonged sitting with mild hypercapnia on vascular and autonomic function in healthy recreationally active adults” was recently featured in the podcast from AJP- Heart and Circulatory Physiology. Additionally, Dr. Park has been invested in the success of his students. His students have been selected to receive several internal grants, NASA Fellowships, and competitive scholarships. They have also received the Outstanding Graduate Student Awards, the American Kinesiology Association Master’s Scholar Award, and have had top presentation placement at several conferences, with one student being invited to present at the International Student Research Forum this past year.
Dr. Park looks forward to the opportunities to contribute to the growth and expansion of the Midland Society of Physiological Sciences.
Yifan Li (USD): Yifan Li, PhD, is Professor of Physiology at Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota. Dr. Li earned a Ph.D. degree in physiology in 1996 from Beijing Medical University (now Peking University Health Science Center), China. From 1999 to 2004, he pursued his postdoctoral fellowship in Dr. Kaushik Patel’s laboratory at Department of Physiology of University of Nebraska Medical Center. In 2004, he was recruited as Assistant Professor at the University of South Dakota and promoted as Associate Professor in 2010.
Dr. Li’s research area is neurohumoral regulation of cardiovascular function and metabolism. His previous work was focused on parasympathetic dysfunction in cardiovascular diseases and aging. Recently, he is shifting his research focus on the role of skeletal muscle secretory function as a component of neurohumoral regulation in cardiovascular diseases, metabolic disorders, and aging. He has published over 50 research articles in peer-reviewed journals. His research has been funded by American Heart Association and NIH grants. Dr. Li is also involved in teaching of cardiovascular and respiratory physiology to medical students, healthcare professional students, and graduate students.
Dr. Li is members of Nebraska Physiological Society, American Physiological Society, and American Heart Association. He served as a NPS councilor from 2010 to 2014 and the NPS president in 2015.