Graduate School of Medical Sciences
A partnership with the Sloan Kettering Institute

Melinda Diver

Assistant Professor
Dr. Diver Headshot
The Diver lab studies the physiological roles and molecular mechanisms of understudied membrane-embedded proteins with the goal of revealing novel therapeutic targets for diseases such as pain and cancer.


Most drugs target membrane proteins, accessible on the surface of cells, to alter the transport of ions and molecules and the transduction of cellular signals. The Diver lab explores the biological functions and molecular mechanisms of understudied transmembrane protein families with the goal of revealing critical knowledge about their roles in human physiology and disease. How do these poorly understood ion channel and transporter families permit ion flux? What are the dynamics of the transport processes? Does their dysregulation play a role in disease that can be exploited? Are there known modulatory drugs? If so, how do the work? If not, can we develop these powerful pharmacological tools for utility in our basic research and drug discovery efforts? Importantly, these understudied proteins represent valuable potential drug targets for diseases, such as chronic pain and cancer, for which there is an urgent need to develop more effective therapeutic strategies. 

Current Projects:

  • Identify New Drug Targets for Pain and Cancer 
  • Structural Mechanisms

  • Intrinsic Function

  • Mimicking Native Membrane Environments


Dr. Melinda Diver earned her B.Sc. Honours in Biochemistry at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Structural Biology form the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, where she trained with Dr. Stephen Long. Melinda conducted her postdoctoral training with Drs. David Julius and Yifan Cheng at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) focusing on TRPM8, a cold- and menthol-activated ion channel, that plays an essential role in the detection of temperature and pain. Melinda joined the faculty in the Structural Biology Program at the Sloan Kettering Institute in September 2021. 


  • Josie Robertson Investigator (2021) 
  • NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00), National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) (2019) 
  • A.P. Giannini Postdoctoral Fellowship and Career Award (2017) 
  • American Heart Association Pre-doctoral Fellowship (2012) 
  • Dorris J. Hutchinson Fellowship (2010) 

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