Dandan Sun, MD, PhD

Professor of Neurology


  • UPMC Endowed Chair Professor of Brain Disorders Research

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Sun’s research interests focus on studying the roles of ion transporter proteins, such as Na-K-Cl cotransporters, Na/Ca exchangers, and Na/H exchangers, in ionic dysregulation and neurodegeneration in experimental models of ischemic stroke, traumatic brain injury, and glioblastoma. The ion transporter proteins are pathologically stimulated under these disease conditions. The dysregulated ion transport function further interrupts the cellular and metabolic equilibrium. Dr. Sun’s lab is investigating the underlying mechanisms and modulating ion transport protein function as novel therapeutic strategy for these brain disorders.


Education & Training

  • Post-Doctorate Fellow, Northwestern University, Pharmacology
  • Post-Doctorate Fellow, University of California, Human Physiology
  • PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Physiology
  • MS, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Physiology
  • MS, Harbin Medical University, P.R. China, Pathophysiology
  • MD, Harbin Medical University, P.R. China

Specialized Areas of Clinical, Research and/or Educational Interests

  • Research:  Ischemic Stroke; Traumatic Brain Injury; Glioblastoma
  • Education: Research Training and Mentoring; Junior Faculty Career Development

Professional Organization Membership

  • Elected Fellow, American Heart Association
  • American Physiological Society
  • Society for Neuroscience
  • Society for the Cerebral Blood Flow, Metabolism & Function

Honors & Awards

  • Scientist Development Grant Award, American Heart Association National Center
  • Faculty Development Grant Award, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Resources Program for Medical Schools, University of Wisconsin Medical School
  • CAREER Award, National Science Foundation
  • Established Investigator Award,  American Heart Association National Center
  • Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Award, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Selected Recent Publications

Begum G, Song S, Wang S, Zhao H, Bhuiyan MIH, Li E, Nepomuceno R, Ye Q, Sun M, Calderon MJ, Stolz DB, St Croix C, Watkins SC, Chen Y, He P, Shull GE, Sun D. Selective knockout of astrocytic Na+ /H+ exchanger isoform 1 reduces astrogliosis, BBB damage, infarction, and improves neurological function after ischemic stroke. Glia. 2018 Jan;66(1):126-144. doi: 10.1002/glia.23232. Epub 2017 Sep 19. PMID: 28925083; PMCID: PMC5705024.

Song S, Wang S, Pigott VM, Jiang T, Foley LM, Mishra A, Nayak R, Zhu W, Begum G, Shi Y, Carney KE, Hitchens TK, Shull GE, Sun D. Selective role of Na+ /H+ exchanger in Cx3cr1+ microglial activation, white matter demyelination, and post-stroke function recovery. Glia. 2018 Nov;66(11):2279-2298. doi: 10.1002/glia.23456. Epub 2018 Jul 25. PMID: 30043461; PMCID: PMC6430713.

Guan X, Luo L, Begum G, Kohanbash G, Song Q, Rao A, Amankulor N, Sun B, Sun D, Jia W. Elevated Na/H exchanger 1 (SLC9A1) emerges as a marker for tumorigenesis and prognosis in gliomas. J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2018 Oct 17;37(1):255. doi: 10.1186/s13046-018-0923-z. PMID: 30333031; PMCID: PMC6192309.

Song S, Luo L, Sun B, Sun D. Roles of glial ion transporters in brain diseases. Glia. 2020 Mar;68(3):472-494. doi: 10.1002/glia.23699. Epub 2019 Aug 16. PMID: 31418931; PMCID: PMC6957693.

Zhang J, Bhuiyan MIH, Zhang T, Karimy JK, Wu Z, Fiesler VM, Zhang J, Huang H, Hasan MN, Skrzypiec AE, Mucha M, Duran D, Huang W, Pawlak R, Foley LM, Hitchens TK, Minnigh MB, Poloyac SM, Alper SL, Molyneaux BJ, Trevelyan AJ, Kahle KT, Sun D, Deng X. Modulation of brain cation-Cl- cotransport via the SPAK kinase inhibitor ZT-1a. Nat Commun. 2020 Jan 7;11(1):78. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13851-6. PMID: 31911626; PMCID: PMC6946680.