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Karina Peña, PhD

Research Instructor
E1106 Thomas E. Starzl Biomedical Science Tower
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15221
Phone: 412-383-8831


BS (Biology), Catholic University of Chile, 2004
PhD (Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology), University of Pittsburgh, 2015
Headshot of Karina Peña, PhD
Dr. Peña research interest is focused on the study GPCR signaling, particularly the parathyroid hormone receptor (PTHR). Employing optical techniques (such as FRET, live cell imaging, etc) she studies different aspects of PTHR biology. In particular, Dr. Peña’s research is focused on understanding how location of cAMP signal (cell surface vs endosomes) affects biological aspects of PTHR function, including vitamin D synthesis in the kidney. In addition, Dr. Peña is interested in understanding how membrane lipids affect PTHR function and signaling, by regulating recruitment of beta arrestins to the receptor.

Journal Articles

White AD*, Peña KA*, Clark LJ*, Cheng Z, Liu S, Fang F, Jean-Alphonse FG, Tu CL, Szeto N, Inoue A, Gardella TJ, Gellman SH, Xiao K, Chang W and Vilardaga JP. Spatial bias in cAMP generation determines biological responses to PTH type 1 receptor activation. Sci Signal 14(703):eabc5944, 2021. *Co-first authors.
Vilardaga JP, Sutkeviciute I and Peña KA. Shining light on location-biased cAMP signaling. Editor’s Picks Highlight J Bio. Chem 297(3):101118, 2021.
White AD, Jean-Alphonse FG, Fang F, Peña KA, Liu S, König GM, Inoue A, Aslanoglou D, Gellman SH, Kostenis E, Xiao K and Vilardaga JP. Gq/11-dependent regulation of endosomal cAMP generation by parathyroid hormone class B GPCR. PNAS 117(13):7455-7460, 2020.
Ravi S, Peña KA, Chu CT and Kiselyov K. Biphasic regulation of lysosomal exocytosis by oxidative stress. Cell Calcium 60(5):356-362, 2016.
Peña K, Coblentz J and Kiselyov K. Brief exposure to copper activates lysosomal exocytosis. Cell Calcium 57(4):257-262, 2015.
Peña KA and Kiselyov K. Transition metals activate TFEB in overexpressing cells. Biochem J 470(1):65-76, 2015.