Sarah F. Hamm-Alvarez, PhD
Associate Dean for Basic and Translational Sciences at University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States
Sarah Hamm-Alvarez, PhD, 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). She is also the Director of Research Development for the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Her research focuses on secretory membrane trafficking, specifically elucidation of the molecular processes that mediate the sorting, packaging, and release of tear proteins by the acinar cells of the lacrimal gland. Her laboratory also studies the pathological changes that promote alterations in the profile of tear proteins secreted by the gland, and their trafficking through unconventional secretory pathways in different disease states. Dr. Hamm-Alvarez’s laboratory develops targeted drug delivery systems for treatment of diseases of the lacrimal gland and ocular surface system. Her laboratory has identified changes in the tears of individuals with Sjögren's syndrome (i.e., an immune system disorder associated with severe dry eye) that are relevant to disease diagnosis and development of new treatments. Her interests now include expanding the use of tear biomarkers for better and earlier diagnosis of patients with other diseases, such as Parkinson's. Dr. Hamm-Alvarez completed her doctorate in biochemistry and postdoctoral training in cell biology at Duke University.