Faculty Scholars

Faculty Scholar Hugo Sanabria, Ph.D. at  Clemson University, Clemson South Carolina

Hugo Sanabria, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Clemson University

Contact: 864-656-1749 or hsanabr@clemson.edu  

Who is Professor Sanabria?

Hugo Sanabria, an Assistant Professor of biophysics, joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Clemson University in 2014. He earned his B.S. (1999) in physics engineering at Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico. He then obtained his M.S. and Ph.D. in physics at the University of Houston in 2002 and 2005, respectively. During this time, he studied the dielectric response of polyelectrolyte solutions, including biopolymers. After his studies, Hugo was awarded an NIH training grant in nanobiology for his postdoctoral training at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, where he used single-molecule methods for studying Ca2+ signaling in live cells and neurons. Subsequently, he was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral research award under the supervision of Prof. Seidel at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, Germany. His research interest focuses on understanding the connection between structure, dynamics and function of synaptic signaling molecules and protein misfolding diseases. His group uses single-molecule Förster Resonance Energy Transfer methods to capture molecular dynamics spanning from subnanoseconds to seconds. His interdisciplinary expertise bridges biology, chemistry, neuroscience and physics. Current CUSHR collaborations include Prof. Feng Ding and Prof. Emil Alexov.

How Professor Sanabria's research is transforming health care

Hugo’s scholarship and research at the molecular level gives insight into the mechanism of biomolecular interactions and regulation of synaptic proteins. His novel imaging methodologies help visualize and understand how synaptic transmission occurs through receptors and signaling proteins. His research helps to alleviate the excruciating cost of treatment and prevention of neurological disorders. It is known that the more than 1,000 neurological disorders, directly connected to synaptic transmission, are the lead cause of hospitalizations and lost of productivity in USA. They surpass other diseases including heart disease and cancer. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 50 million Americans with neurological diseases with a projected treatment cost of $500 billion dollars. Therefore, advances in the understanding of the nervous system, and more precisely of synaptic biology, could elucidate treatments of neurological diseases.

Health Research Expertise Keywords

Protein Misfolding Diseases, Synaptic Plasticity, Protein Structure, Protein Dynamics, Single-molecule Fluorescence Spectroscopy