Vice President, Kanalis Consulting, L.L.C.
Dr. Maria L. Garcia retired as Distinguished Senior Investigator from the Department of Ion Channels at Merck Research Laboratories in Rahway, New Jersey, May 1, 2009. Dr. Garcia received her BS and PhD in Chemistry from the Autonoma University of Madrid, Spain. She was the recipient of a Spanish Research Council postdoctoral fellowship at the Roche Institute for Molecular Biology in the laboratory of Professor H. Ronald Kaback. She also worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biochemistry at Mount Sinai Hospital under the direction of Professor Terry Krulwich, before joining Merck in 1983. At Merck, Dr. Garcia focused her work on the discovery of novel ion channel modulators as therapeutic agents. She identified the first potent and selective peptide and small molecule inhibitors of voltage-dependent potassium, high-conductance calcium-activated potassium, and voltage-dependent sodium channels, as well as, the first beta subunit of the high-conductance calcium-activated potassium channel, an ion channel which her laboratory purified to homogeneity from native tissues. She also developed novel probes and technologies with which to study these channels in a manner that could be adapted to high throughput screening formats. In addition, she pioneered work to investigate membrane transporters. Her efforts led to the identification of several development candidates against a number of ion channel and transporter targets. She also developed and validated a panel of ion channel assays to assess potential safety concerns of compounds during their development. She has over 190 publications and 13 issued patents. Dr. Garcia served for 5 years on the Editorial board of The Journal of Biological Chemistry, and she currently serves on other Editorial Boards, as well. Dr. Garcia is currently Vice President of Kanalis Consulting, L.L.C. She has been engaged in numerous academic collaborations, and has presented her work at both domestic and international meetings and Institutions. During her tenure at Merck, she mentored seven postdoctoral fellows, nine visiting scientists, seventeen summer interns, and two UNCF fellows.