Dr. Susan Treves is a Research group leader in the Neuromuscular Research group of the Department of Biomedicine, Basel University Hospital, Basel, Switzerland. A native Italian-mixed US, she, received her B.Sc (1981) and M.Sc (1983) in Microbiology and Immunology at McGill University. She then headed back to Italy, joined the group of Dr. Tullio Pozzan and started her PhD. During this time she acquired first hand knowledge on the uses, misuses and pitfalls of the newly developed calcium indicators. She then followed her husband Dr. Francesco Zorzato for 2 years in Dr. David MacLennan’s lab at the University of Toronto, where she acquired skills in biochemistry, cell and molecular biology. She returned to Italy and obtained her PhD in Molecular & Cellular Biology & Pathology from the University of Padova in 1990.
Her husband and her joined forces and started to work together on various aspects of skeletal muscle physiology, including the identification of novel proteins in the sarcoplasmic reticulum and on the elucidation of how mutations in the gene encoding the ryanodine receptor 1 (RYR1) affect its function.
Dr. Treves’s current research focuses on the functional effect of mutations in the RYR1 gene associated with malignant hyperthermia and core myopathies due to dominant and recessive mutations. A unique aspect of her research is the fact that functional studies are carried out on myotubes established from biopsies of affected patients or by exploiting the ectopic expression of skeletal muscle RyR1 in B-lymphocytes. Her group has developed the latter experimental approach which is now exploited in several laboratories worldwide.
In addition, she is interested in characterizing the biochemical changes occurring in muscle biopsies from patients with various forms of congenital myopathies. This has brought her current research to focus on epigenetic pathways that are activated in muscles from affected patients. For these studies she collaborates with several neuromuscular research centres and paediatric neurologists worldwide.
Dr. Susan Treves is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the RYR1 Foundation and is an Editorial Board member of Journal of General Physiology and Frontiers in Physiology.