Sarah F. Hamm-Alvarez, PhD
Professor of Ophthalmology and Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of Southern California
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States
Dr. Hamm-Alvarez completed her PhD (biochemistry, 1990) and postdoctoral training (cell biology, 1993) at Duke University. She joined USC in 1993 and is currently professor of Ophthalmology and Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences, vice chair for Basic Research (Ophthalmology) and associate dean for Basic and Translational Sciences (Keck School of Medicine). Her research focuses on secretory membrane trafficking (the transportation of proteins and other molecules throughout the cell), specifically elucidation of the molecular processes that mediate the sorting, packaging and release of different tear proteins by the acinar cells of the lacrimal gland (cells that secrete tears). Her laboratory also studies pathological changes that promote alterations in the spectrum of tear proteins secreted in different disease states. Her laboratory has identified changes in the tears of individuals with Sjögren's syndrome (an immune system disorder) that are relevant to the diagnosis and development of new treatments. Her interests include expanding the use of tear biomarkers for better and earlier diagnosis of patients with other diseases, such as Parkinson's.