Bruce R. Conklin, MD

Senior Investigator

Phone: (415) 734-2712
Fax: (415) 355-0960
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Other Professional Titles

Investigator, Roddenberry Center for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine at Gladstone

Professor, Medical Genetics and Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, University of California, San Francisco

Administrative Assistant

Elana Lewis
(415) 734-2705

More about Dr. Conklin

Dr. Conklin’s laboratory, established at Gladstone in 1995, studies the mechanisms by which hormonal signals direct the development and function of complex tissues, including those that control the heart. The focus of his research is on the largest known family of receptors for hormones and drugs, the G protein-coupled receptors, which include over 700 human genes. His research focuses on disease-specific stem cells that provide a platform for determining if specific signaling pathways can be used to find new medicines.

Dr. Conklin is a Founding Director of both the Gladstone Stem Cell Core and the Gladstone Genomics Core Laboratory. He also helped establish the Gladstone-CIRM Research Scholars program in collaboration with the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine. He is on the advisory board of several scientific organizations and biotechnology companies and is a member of American Society for Clinical Investigation. In 2008, Scientific American honored him with its SciAm 50 Award for visionary work.

Dr. Conklin earned a bachelor’s degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley, and completed his medical training at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. During medical school, he spent two years as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Scholar in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Julius Axelrod, PhD, at the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Conklin completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and he did his postdoctoral training in molecular pharmacology with Henry Bourne, MD, at UCSF.

More scientific details, please

Other Professional Titles

Investigator, Roddenberry Center for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine at Gladstone

Professor, Medical Genetics and Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, University of California, San Francisco

Administrative Assistant

Elana Lewis
(415) 734-2705

Areas of Investigation

Our laboratory focuses on human genetics that lead to cardiovascular diseases, such as cardiac arrhythmias and cardiomyopathy. Our model system is induced pluripotent (iPS) cells derived from patients with specific diseases, as well as iPS cells that we engineer to test the role of defined genetic changes on disease. We use human iPS cells to create cardiovascular disease models to better understand basic disease mechanisms and reveal pharmacology approaches (i.e., drugs) to treat those diseases. We have a long-standing interest in pharmacology and cellular engineering that allow us to take new approaches to disease modeling to open new avenues for biological investigation and develop novel therapeutic strategies.

Current Lab Focus

Stem cell-derived models of human cardiovascular disease.

Joined Gladstone


Why Gladstone?

A great place to take bold, new approaches to disease-oriented research.

Key Achievements

  • Developed a novel series of assays tools (G protein chimeras) that enable high throughput drug discovery. This method is used by 80% of major pharmaceutical companies and has contributed to the development of several approved drugs.
  • Engineered G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) called RASSLs (receptors activated by small synthetic ligands) that are unresponsive to endogenous natural hormones but can still be activated via synthetic small-molecule drugs.
  • Successfully expressed RASSLs in a wide variety of tissues, with experienced success in controlling responses, such as heart rate. RASSLs have proved to be powerful tools for the examining GPCR signaling in complex systems, including bone development, taste, and olfactory development. RASSLs are widely used to answer basic questions in neurobiological, endocrine, and cardiovascular studies.
  • Developed or contributed to various powerful, open-source bioinformatics platforms (,, and to analyze large-scale gene-expression studies (RNA-seq).
  • Helped to pioneer large-scale gene trapping with BayGenomics, an effort that helped inspire the international Knockout Mouse Project (KOMP).


University of California, Berkeley, BA, Public Health (1982)
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, MD (1988)


iPierian, Inc., Scientific Advisory Board
Assay Depot, Scientific Advisory Board
American Society for Clinical Investigation


  • Harry Resnick Award, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine (1988)
  • Medical Resident Research Award, NIH-NIDDKD (1990)
  • American Society for Clinical Investigation (2003)
  • Scientific American 50 Award (2008)
  • California Institute for Regenerative Medicine Stem Cell image prize (2009)
  • Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences (2011)
Syndicate publications

Featured Publications

Bruce R. Conklin, MDKelder T, van Iersel MP, Hanspers K, Kutmon M, Conklin BR, Evelo CT, Pico AR. WikiPathways: building research communities on biological pathways. Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Jan; 40(1):D1301-7. View in: PubMed
Bruce R. Conklin, MDMillard SM, Louie AM, Wattanachanya L, Wronski TJ, Conklin BR, Nissenson RA. Blockade of receptor-activated G(i) signaling in osteoblasts in vivo leads to site-specific increases in cortical and cancellous bone formation. J Bone Miner Res. 2011 Apr; 26(4):822-32. View in: PubMed