gabriel elgavishProfessor

Research Areas
Cellular bioenergy status and ion flux

Research Interests

The long term objective of Dr. Elgavish's research has been the investigation of the coupling of the cellular bioenergy status with ion flux, particularly that of the sodium ion, and ultimately with physiologic function. This objective has required the quantitative NMR observation of the level of intracellular sodium (Nai). Unfortunately, however, the NMR signal of Naioccurs at the same frequency position as that of extracellular sodium, which for several reasons, intrinsic as well as technical, is considerably larger than the Naisignal. Consequently, the long term research objective required the development of methods for specific spectral differentiation. For this end, Dr. Elgavish has made salient contributions to the development of paramagnetic differentiation between the intra-and extracellular milieu. This has entailed work in several aspects of the chemistry and NMR of the paramagnetic lanthanide ions, as well as their application in biological NMR.

Thus the research efforts of Dr. Elgavish have led to work and relevant publications in the methodology of use of lanthanide shift and relaxation reagents, of their application to shift-reagent-aided sodium NMR in isolated perfused hearts, and in the improvement of spectral resolution in sodium NMR. These efforts have culminated in results of biochemical and physiological relevance in the beating heart system in the area of the interrelations of stimulation frequency, force development, cellular energy stores, intracellular pH and intracellular sodium levels under normal or perturbed (hypoxia, ischemia, acid loading) physiological conditions.

Five specific achievements:

  1. Initial introduction and further continuous development of paramagnetic, quantifiable differentiation of Naiin cellular and perfused heart systems.
  2. Experimental verification of the Sodium Pump Lag Theory in the Cardiac Staircase, and further investigation of the biochemical to physiological coupling of ion fluxes and the force-frequency relationship in normal and hypoxic/ischemic hearts.
  3. The design, synthesis, and in vitro characterization of cardiospecific contrast agents for the detection of myocardial ischemia by MRI, and animal studies for the demonstration of their in vivo efficacy.
  4. Development of methods for MRI quantification of cardiac viability. 5.Development of methods for MRI detection and quantification of prostate neoplasms.


Graduate School
Ph.D., Weizmann Institute Science, Rehovot, Israel

Postdoctoral Fellowship


McCallum Basic Health Science Building
Room 556
1918 University Blvd.
Birmingham, AL 35294-0005

(205) 934-0294


Committed to exploring new frontiers in basic and translational research.

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics is an integral part of the vibrant biomedical research community at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). UAB ranks among the top public institutions of higher education in terms of research and training awards. Research conducted by the faculty, staff, and students of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics is currently supported by more than $4.3 million per year in extramural, investigator-initiated grants.


The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics carries out cutting-edge basic and translational research. Research strengths in the department includes cancer biology, chromatin and epigenetic signaling, metabolism and signaling, regulation of gene expression, structural biology, DNA synthesis and repair, and disease mechanisms.


Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics are trained to carry out hypothesis-driven research using advanced research techniques. This training will prepare our graduates for a career in not just biomedical research, but also in other diverse fields that require critical thinking. Our faculty also proudly trains professional (MD, DDS, & DO) students, as well as undergraduate students at UAB.

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