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David S. Auerbach, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Office: (585) 276-3018

Fax: (585) 276-1530

Faculty Appointments


Professional Background

Dr. Auerbach biomedical research training began during his undergraduate studies at Skidmore College, where he majored in Human Physiology, with a minor in Law & Society. He continued his training, and earned a MS from the Department of Physiology & Biophysics at Case Western Reserve University. Next, he conducted his doctoral studies in the laboratory of Dr. Jose Jalife, a pioneer in cardiac arrhythmia mechanisms, at SUNY Upstate Medical University. He provided key insights into the substrates (structural heterogeneities) and triggers (alterations in ion channel expression and function) for the initiation of lethal cardiac arrhythmias. Subsequently, he completed a 3 year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan under the mentorship of Dr. Lori Isom, an expert in genetic sodium channel diseases. Dr. Auerbach demonstrated that in severe genetic forms of epilepsy, there are not only alterations in electrical function in the brain, but also in the heart, resulting in both seizures and cardiac arrhythmias. In 2014 Dr. Auerbach joined URMC and began to develop an independent line of research that employs a multisystem approach to studying ion channel diseases of the brain and heart.


Patients with genetic ion channel diseases develop electrical disturbances in the brain (seizures) and heart (arrhythmias) that can lead to sudden death. Our lab takes a multi-system approach to explore the effects of genetic ion channel diseases on neuro-cardiac electrical function. For example, we perform patient database analyses to examine the co-prevalence and risk of seizures and arrhythmias. Then using cellular and animal models of the disease we perform molecular/biochemical and electrophysiological approaches to understand the underlying mechanisms for these neuro-cardiac pathologies. Ultimately, these results are validated using patient databases, and thus complete the full bedside-to-bench-to-bedside paradigm.

Millions of Americans have epilepsy and they are at a high risk of sudden death (e.g., Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy, SUDEP.) Unfortunately, the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. An algorithm that integrates biomarkers for each of the proposed mechanisms for SUDEP will revolutionize our ability to predict and prevent SUDEP. As cardiac events are one mechanism for SUDEP, we are investigating whether the patient's cardiac ECG provides clues into the risk of SUDEP. Also, we are testing whether cardiac ECG measures provide a novel outpatient method to distinguish the type of seizures.



BA | Skidmore College

MS | Case Western Reserve University
Physiology & Biophysics

PhD | SUNY Upstate Medical University (Mentor: Jose Jalife, MD)

Post-doctoral Training & Residency

01/2014 - 07/2015
University of Rochester, Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute (Mentors: Arthur J Moss, MD and Robert T Dirksen, PhD)

02/2011 - 12/2013
University of Michigan, Department of Pharmacology (Mentor Lori L Isom, PhD)


Top Abstract
Sponsor: Central Society for Clinical & Translational Research
Location: Chicago, IL

Clinical Science Young Investigator Award
Sponsor: American Physiological Society Cardiovascular Section
Location: Boston, MA

Sponsor: American Epilepsy Society

1st Place, Research Poster Competition
Sponsor: Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute , University of Rochester

Young Investigator Travel Award
Sponsor: Grass Foundation – American Epilepsy Society
Location: Washington DC

Young Investigator Award in Cardiac Channelopathies
Sponsor: SADS Foundation & Peds. Congenital Electrophysiology Societ
Location: Boston, MA

2nd Place, Research Poster Presentation Competition
Sponsor: • Gordon Research Conference: Cardiac Arrhythmia Mechanisms
Location: Santa Barbara, CA

Research Poster Presentation Award Recipient
Sponsor: A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Instit. Scientific Symposium
Location: University of Michigan

Research Poster Award Recipient
Sponsor: • FASEB – Ion Channel Regulation
Location: Steamboat, CO

Gordon K. Moe Young Investigator Award Recipient
Sponsor: Upstate New York Cardiac Electrophysiology Society
Location: Ithaca, NY

Basic Cardiovascular Science Abstract Travel Award Recipient
Sponsor: American Heart Association
Location: Chicago, IL

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Journal Articles

Wang M, Szepietowska B, Polonsky B, McNitt S, Moss AJ, Zareba W, Auerbach DS. "Risk of Cardiac Events Associated With Antidepressant Therapy in Patients With Long QT Syndrome." The American journal of cardiology.. 2018 Jan 15; 121(2):182-187. Epub 2017 Nov 13.

Auerbach DS, Biton Y, Polonsky B, McNitt S, Gross RA, Dirksen RT, Moss AJ. "Risk of cardiac events in Long QT syndrome patients when taking antiseizure medications." Translational research : the journal of laboratory and clinical medicine.. 2018 Jan; 191:81-92.e7. Epub 2017 Oct 20.

Bao Y, Willis BC, Frasier CR, Lopez-Santiago LF, Lin X, Ramos-Mondragón R, Auerbach DS, Chen C, Wang Z, Anumonwo J, Valdivia HH, Delmar M, Jalife J, Isom LL. "Scn2b Deletion in Mice Results in Ventricular and Atrial Arrhythmias." Circulation. Arrhythmia and electrophysiology.. 2016 Dec; 9(12)