Sung W. Rhee, Ph.D.

RheeAssociate Professor
Phone: (501) 686-5467
Fax: (501) 686-5510


University of Washington, 2003

Research Interests

Calcium and potassium channels on the surface membrane of vascular muscle cells control calcium influx and potassium efflux, respectively, and thereby regulate arterial diameters. My research interests are 1) using ion channel genes as therapeutic agents to normalize blood pressure, and 2) understanding molecular mechanisms that regulate traffic and expression of ion channels in vascular muscle cells during hypertension and related conditions. We use a wide range of techniques including molecular biology, biochemistry, viral gene transduction, patch clamp, vessel perfusion, confocal and super-resolution imaging, and in vivo microscopy.

Meet Dr. Rhee’s Research Team

Recent Research Support

Ongoing Research
American Heart Association 17GRNT33670970 (PI)  (07/01/17 – 06/30/19)
“Beta Adrenergic Receptor-Mediated Vasodilation of Cerebral Collateral Arteries”

Completed Research
NIH R01 HL097107-01A1  (PI)   (03/15/10 – 02/28/16)
“PSD95 Scaffolding of Vascular K+ Channels in Hypertension”

American Heart Association 13PRE17070035  (Sponsor)   (07/01/13 – 06/30/15)
“Role of PSD95 Scaffolding in Cerebral Vasodilation: Implications for Stroke in Beta-blocker Therapy”

NIH/NHLBI R01 HL093526    (Co-I)    (05/05/09 – 04/30/13)
“Long-term Antihypertensive Therapy by Delivery of the BK channel Gene to VSMCs”

NIH/NHLBI Ro1HL095846    (Co-I)    (12/01/09 – 04/30/13)
“MicroRNA to Decrease Vascular Cav1.2 in Hypertension”

NIH R01 HL 64806-07A1  (Co-I)   (01/01/09 – 12/31/12)
“Vascular Calcium Channel Expression in Hypertension”

American Heart Association SDG 0830060N (PI)  (01/01/08 – 12/31/11)
“AAV-Mediated Transduction of BK Channel Gene in Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells as Long-Lasting Antihypertensive Strategy”

NIH R01 NS058503    (Co-I)    (07/01/09 – 06/30/11)
“Canonical Transient Receptor Potential Channels and Excitotoxicity”


Liu Y, Rafferty TM, Rhee SW, Webber JS, Song L, Ko B, Hoover RS, He B, Mu S. CD8+ T cells stimulate Na-Cl co-transporter NCC in distal convoluted tubules leading to salt-sensitive hypertension. Nat Commun. 9;8:14037, 2017. PMID: 28067240

Detweiler ND, Song L, McClenahan SJ, Versluis RJ, Kharade SV, Kurten RC, Rhee SW, Rusch NJ. BK channels in rat and human pulmonary smooth muscle cells are BKα-β1 functional complexes lacking the oxygen-sensitive stress axis regulated exon insert. Pulm Circ. (4):563-575, 2016. PMID: 28090300

Stimers JR, Song L, Rusch NJ, Rhee SW. Overexpression of the Large-Conductance, Ca2+-Activated K+ (BK) Channel Shortens Action Potential Duration in HL-1 Cardiomyocytes. Plus One. 10(6):e0130588, 2015. PMID: 26091273

Moore CL, McClenahan SJ, Hanvey HM, Jang DS, Nelson PL, Joseph BK, Rhee SW. Beta1-adrenergic receptor-mediated dilation of rat cerebral artery requires Shaker-type KV1 channels on PSD95 scaffold. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 35:1537-46, 2015. PMID:25966954

Moore CL, Nelson PL, Parelkar NK, Rusch NJ, Rhee SW. PKA-phosphorlyated KV1 channels in PSD95 signaling complex contribute to the resting membrane potential and diameter of cerebral arteries. Circ Res. 114: 1258-67, 2014. PMID: 24585759

Kharade SV, Sonkusare SK, Srivistava A, Rhee SW, Thakali KM, Fletcher TW, Rusch NJ. The β3 subunit is required for the upregulation of vascular L-type Ca2+ channels and the development of hypertension in angiotensin II -infused rats. Hypertension. 61:137-142, 2013. PMID: 23129698

Joseph BK, Thakali KM, Pathan AR, Kang E, Rusch NJ, Rhee SW. Postsynaptic density-95 scaffolding of Shaker-type K+ channels in smooth muscle cells regulates the diameter of cerebral arteries. J Physiol. 589: 5143-52, 2011. PMID: 21911612

Thakali KM, Kharade SV, Sonkusare SK, Rhee SW, Stimers JR, Rusch NJ. Intracellular Ca2+ silences L-type Ca2+ channels in mesenteric veins: mechanism of venous smooth muscle resistance to calcium channel blockers. Circ Res. 106:739-47, 2010. PMID: 20044515

View Dr. Rhee’s Publication List