Francisco J. Nunez


Francisco J. Nunez Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow (on rotation only at present)
Chapman University School of Pharmacy
Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus
9401 Jeronimo Road, Irvine, CA 92618
Office: (714) 516-5447



  • Aug, 2022 – present    Postdoctoral Fellow (on rotation only at present)
  • Aug, 2018 – 2022        Ph.D., School of Pharmacy, Chapman University
  • Aug, 2016 – 2018        M.Sc., School of Pharmacy, Chapman University
  • Sept 2013 – 2015        Research Assistant, Affymetrix
  • Sept, 2009 – 2013       B.Sc. in Molecular Biology, UC Davis


Research interests:

  • Understanding the role of defective/dysfunctional primary cilia in heart development and function
  • Studying the role of discrete calcium signaling events and how differentiation between intraciliary and cytosolic calcium signaling events affects heart development
  • Identifying and validating ciliary biomarkers in blood samples to develop a genetic screening assay for sickle cells
  • How GPCR and cAMP signaling molecules pre-arrange into discrete cellular compartments or “microdomains” to generate unique responses
  • Utilizing fluorescent biosensors in live cells to study unique cellular signaling events in real time
  • Graduate work focused on pulmonary diseases such as asthma, COPD and idiopathic fibrosis
  • Non-genomic signaling of glucocorticoids
  • Next generation sequencing (NGS)
  • Confocal microscopy

Industry Experience:

Worked at Affymetrix on the UK Biobank Lung Exam Variant Evaluation (UK BiLEVE) project, which consisted of genome-wide genotyping study from samples of 50,000 individuals using microarray technology. The study compared rare and common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in smokers and non-smokers with different extremes in FEV1 to gain insights into the genetic architecture of lung health and disease.

Peer Reviewed Publications:

  • Nunez FJ, Amirrad F, Sajid MI, et al. Untargeted metabolomics analysis on kidney tissues from mice reveals potential hypoxia biomarkers. Sci Rep. 2023;13(1):17516. Published 2023 Oct 16. doi:10.1038/s41598-023-44629-y. PMID: 37845304.
  • Thirugnanam K, Gupta A, Nunez FJ, et al. Brain microvascular endothelial cells possess a second cilium that arises from the daughter centriole. Front Mol Biosci. 2023;10:1250016. Published 2023 Nov 6. doi:10.3389/fmolb.2023.1250016. PMID: 38028541.
  • Martina Schmidt, Isabella Cattani-Cavalieri, Francisco J. Nunez and Rennolds S Ostrom. Phosphodiesterase isoforms and cAMP compartments in the development of new therapies for obstructive pulmonary diseases. Current Opinion in Pharmacology, 51:34-42 · Jul 1, 2020.
  • Francisco J. Nunez, Timothy B. Johnstone, Maia L. Corpuz, Austin G. Kazarian, Omar Tibla, Reynold A. Panettieri, Jr., Cynthia Koziol-White, Moom R. Roosan and Rennolds S Ostrom. Glucocorticoids rapidly activate cAMP production via Gαs to initiate non-genomic signaling that contributes to one-third of their canonical genomic effects. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), 34(2):2882-2895 · Dec 27, 2019.
  • Francisco J. Nunez, Nancy A. Schulte, David M. Fogel, Joel Mickalski, Stephen I. Rennard, Raymond B. Penn, Myron L. Toews and Rennolds Ostrom. Agonist-specific desensitization of PGE2-stimulated cAMP signaling due to upregulated phosphodiesterase expression in human lung fibroblasts. Naunyn-Schmiedeberg’s Archives of Pharmacology, 393(5):843-865 · Dec 28, 2019.
  • Ojiaku CA, Chung E, Parikh V, Williams JK, Schwab A, Fuentes AL, Corpus ML, Lui V, Paek S, Bexiga NM, Narayan S, Nunez FJ, Ahn K, Ostrom RS, An SS, Panettieri RA Jr. Transforming Growth Factor-ß1 Decreases ß2-Agonist–induced Relaxation in Human Airway Smooth Muscle. American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, 61(2):209-18 · Feb 11, 2019.
  • Neda Riahifard, Saghar Mozaffari, Taibah Aldakhil, Francisco J. Nunez, Qamar Alshammari, Saud Alshammari, Jason Yamaki, Keykavous Parang and Rakesh Kumar Tiwari. Design, Synthesis, and Evaluation of Amphiphilic Cyclic and Linear Peptides Composed of Hydrophobic and Positively-Charged Amino Acids as Antibacterial Agents. Molecules 23(10),2722 · Oct 22, 2018.


Video. Color doppler ultrasound technique to measure blood velocity of internal carotid artery in circle of willis from mouse brain.


Video. Human airway smooth muscle cells (HASM) expressing the cAMP Difference Detection in situ (cADDis) biosensor from Montana Molecular. Stimulation with isoproterenol induces increase in intracellular cAMP levels. A decrease in fluorescence indicates that the  the cADDis biosensor detects cAMP molecules. Kinetic studies can then be performed on drug responses. Time lapse is 5 minutes, where drug was added at 1 minute and response was seen within seconds.