Toni Pak, Ph.D.

James R. DePauw Professor & Chair
Cell and Molecular Physiology
Stritch School of Medicine
Loyola University Chicago
CTRE 520
2160 S. 1St Ave
Maywood, IL 60153
Dr. Toni Pak holds an endowed Professorship for research in Physiology and has been the Chair of the Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology at Loyola University Chicago for over 5 years; prior to that she served as the Director of the Neuroscience Division of the Cardiovascular Research Institute. Dr. Pak was trained as a molecular neuroendocrinologist and has devoted her career to understanding how fundamental molecular signaling pathways change across the normal lifespan, and in the context of various disease states. She is an expert in RNA biology with a primary focus on non-coding RNAs and their regulation across the lifespan, projects for which she has been continuously funded throughout her career by the National Institutes of Health. Most recently she led the initiative to form the Center for Healthy Aging and Resilience Mechanisms (CHARM) at Loyola University Chicago, whose mission is to foster collaborative interdisciplinary research on the molecular mechanisms driving normal aging processes, with a specific emphasis on women’s health. She has proven leadership in stimulating collaborative research across multiple scientific disciplines, and emphasizes the importance of considering biological context (i.e. environmental, hormonal, age, genetic, epigenetic) as a critical variable in her research.


1995 - University of Colorado at Boulder
BA – Environmental, Population and Organismic Biology

1997 - University of Colorado at Boulder
MA – Education (Science)

2002 - University of Colorado at Boulder,
Ph.D. – Neuroscience

Selected Publications 
  1. *Kim CK, *Linscott ML, Flury S, Zhang M, Newby ML Pak TR (2021) 17b-estradiol regulates miR-9-5p and miR-9-3p stability and function in the aged brain. Noncoding RNA, Aug 30;7(3):53. PMCID: PMC8482090 *equal contribution.
  2. Zhang M, Flury S, Kim CK, Chung WCJ, Kirk JA, Pak TR (2021). Absolute quantification of phosphorylated ERb amino acids in the hippocampus of women and in a rat model of menopause. Endocrinology, Sep 1;162(9):bqab122PMCID: PMC8294689
  3. Martin T, Tawfik S, Moravec C, Pak TR, Kirk JA (2021) BAG3 expression and sarcomere localization in the human heart are linked to HSF-1 and are differentially affected by sex and disease. AJP Heart Circ Physiology, Jun 1;320(6):H2339-H2350. PMCID: PMC8289355.
  4. Kim CK and Pak TR (2020) miRNA degradation in the mammalian brain. Am J Cell Physiol. 2020 Oct 1;319(4):C624-C629. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00303.2020. PMCID: PMC7654649
  5. Kim CK, Asimes A, Zhang M, Son B, Kirk JA, Pak TR. (2020) Differential stability of miR-9-5p and miR-9-3p in the brain is determined by their unique cis- and trans-acting elements. eNeuro. Epub ahead of print. PMCID: PMC7294468.