Department of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology at the University of Pittsburgh
Jonathan M. Beckel, PhD
Research Assistant Professor
E1352 Thomas E. Starzl Biomedical Science Tower
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Phone: 412-383-5004

Fax: 412-648-1945


B.S. (Molecular Biology/Biochemistry), University of Pittsburgh, 1998

Ph.D. (Molecular Pharmacology), University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2009

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania, 2010-2013

Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Pittsburgh, 2013-2015

Research Areas
Pharmacology of Cell and Organ Systems
Purine Pharmacology
Receptor Pharmacology
Systems Pharmacology
Benign Urologic Disorders
Endocrine Pharmacology/Physiology
Photo of Jonathan M. Beckel, PhD

Dr. Beckel’s research focuses on the control of the urinary bladder; specifically how the bladder epithelium (also called the urothelium) participates in the sensory limb of the micturition reflex. The ultimate goal of this research is to understand how the urothelium and bladder afferent nerves communicate with each other to transmit sensory information about the bladder to the central nervous system and how changes in this communication play a role in the increased urgency and/or pain often felt by patients suffering from conditions such as overactive bladder (OAB) or Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome (IC/PBS). Recent research has focused on the role of purinergic signaling mechanisms in bladder pathology and the release of ATP from urothelial cells through 1) pannexin channels or 2) vesicular release from secretory lysosomes.  

Important Publications
Coffey EE, Beckel JM, Laties AM and Mitchell CH. Lysosomal alkalization and dysfunction in fibroblasts with the Alzheimer’s disease-linked presenilin-1 A246E mutation can be reversed with cAMP. Neuroscience 263:111-124, 2014.
Beckel JM, Argall AJ, Lim JC, Xia J, Lu W, Macarak EJ, Shahidullah M, Delamere NA, Zode GS, Sheffield VC, Laties AM and Mitchell CH. Mechanosensitive release of adenosine 5'-triphosphate through pannexin channels and mechanosensitive upregulation of pannexin channels in optic nerve head astrocytes: A mechanism for purinergic involvement in chronic strain. Glia 62:1486-1501, 2014.
Guha S, Coffey EE, Lu W, Lim JC, Beckel JM, Laties AM, Boesze-Battaglia K and   Mitchell CH. Approaches for detecting lysosomal alkalinization and impaired degradation in fresh and cultured RPE cells: Evidence for a role in retinal degenerations. Experimental Eye Research 126: 68-76, 2014.
Zhang X, Beckel JM, Daugherty SL, Wang T, Freeman BA, Woodcock S and de Groat WC. Activation of TRPC channels contributes to OA-NO2 induced responses in guinea pig neurons. Journal of Physiology 592 (Pt 19): 4297-4312, 2014.
Guha S, Baltazar GC, Coffey EE, Tu L-A, Lim JC, Beckel JM, Eysteinsson T, Lu W, O’Brien-Jenkins A, Patel S, Laties AM and Mitchell CH. Lysosomal alkalinization, lipid oxidation, impaired autophagy and reduced phagosome clearance triggered by P2X7 receptor activation in retinal pigmented epithelial cells. FASEB Journal 27: 4500-4509, 2013.
Xia J, Lim JC, Lu W, Beckel JM, Macarak EJ, Laties AM and Mitchell CH. Neurons respond directly to mechanical deformation with pannexin-mediated ATP release and autostimulation of P2X7 receptors. Journal of Physiology 590: 2285-2304, 2012.

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