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Jennifer L. Pluznick, Ph.D.

Headshot of Jennifer L. Pluznick
  • Associate Professor of Physiology

Research Interests

Identifying olfactory receptor ligands and relating them to a whole-animal physiology; The role of sensory receptors in regulating renal and cardiovascular function; Renal and cardiovascular physiology more


Dr. Jennifer Pluznick is an assistant professor of physiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Her research is focused on the role of sensory receptors in regulating renal and cardiovascular function, and identifying renal/cardiovascular olfactory receptor ligands and relating them to whole-animal physiology.

She received her undergraduate degree in biology from Truman State University and earned her Ph.D. in renal physiology from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She then spent five years training as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Michael Caplan at Yale University, where she studied both renal physiology and sensory biology systems (in particular, olfaction). Dr. Pluznick joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2010.

Dr. Pluznick discovered that odor-sensing proteins found in the noses of mice are also in their kidneys and blood vessels, a finding that can help scientists understand how the kidney helps maintain homeostasis in humans. Her lab has identified a number of olfactory receptors in the kidney and has made headway in identifying novel ligands, and is currently working to understand how renal and cardiovascular olfactory receptors influence whole-animal physiology.

She serves on the Faculty Senate at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. more


  • Associate Professor of Physiology

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • B.A.; Truman State University (Missouri) (2000)
  • Ph.D.; University of Nebraska (Omaha) (Nebraska) (2005)

Additional Training

  • Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, 2010, Renal/CV/Sensory/Physiology; Yale University, New Haven, CT, 2010, Renal Physiology and Sensory Biology Systems

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Pluznick's lab is interested in the role that chemosensation plays in regulating physiological processes, particularly in the kidney and the cardiovascular system. They have found that sensory receptors (olfactory receptors, taste receptors, and other G-protein coupled receptors) are expressed in the kidney and in blood vessels, and that individual receptors play functional roles in whole-animal physiology. Dr. Pluznick and her team are currently working to identify the full complement of sensory receptors found in the kidney, and are working to understand the role that each receptor plays in whole-animal physiology by using a variety of in vitro (receptor localization, ligand screening) and in vivo (whole-animal physiology) techniques.


Lab Website: Pluznick Lab

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

Pluznick J. "A novel SCFA receptor, the microbiota, and blood pressure regulation." Gut Microbes. 2013 Dec 20;5(2). [Epub ahead of print]

Shepard BD, Natarajan N, Protzko RJ, Acres OW, Pluznick JL. "A cleavable N-terminal signal peptide promotes widespread olfactory receptor surface expression in HEK293T cells." PLoS One. 2013 Jul 1;8(7):e68758. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068758. Print 2013.

Pluznick JL. "Renal and cardiovascular sensory receptors and blood pressure regulation." Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2013 Aug 15;305(4):F439-44. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00252.2013. Epub 2013 Jun 12. Review.

Pluznick JL, Protzko RJ, Gevorgyan H, Peterlin Z, Sipos A, Han J, Brunet I, Wan LX, Rey F, Wang T, Firestein SJ, Yanagisawa M, Gordon JI, Eichmann A, Peti-Peterdi J, Caplan MJ. "Olfactory receptor responding to gut microbiota-derived signals plays a role in renin secretion and blood pressure regulation." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Mar 12;110(11):4410-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1215927110. Epub 2013 Feb 11.

Pluznick JL, Caplan MJ. "Novel sensory signaling systems in the kidney." Curr Opin Nephrol Hypertens. 2012 Jul;21(4):404-9. doi: 10.1097/MNH.0b013e328354a6bd. Review.

Activities & Honors


  • Procter & Gamble Professional Opportunity Award, APS-Renal Section (FASEB), 2004
  • Associate Faculty Member, F1000Prime, 2009
  • APS Renal Section Excellence in Renal Research Award – First Place, Postdoctoral (FASEB), 2008
  • APS Renal Section Excellence in Renal Research Award – First Place, Predoctoral (FASEB), 2004
  • APS Renal Section Research Recognition Award, FASEB, 2013
  • Caroline Tum Suden/Francis Hellebrandt Professional Opportunity Award (FASEB), 2007
  • Alice L. Cummings Award in Physiology, UNMC, 2005


  • American Heart Association, 2011
  • American Physiological Society, 2002
  • American Society of Nephrology, 2007
  • Salt and Water Club, 2009

Professional Activities

  • Faculty Senate, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 2012

Videos & Media

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

The startling sense of smell found all over your body, BBC, July 10, 2013

Sniffing out hypertension, The Economist, February 16, 2013

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