Benjamin R. Myers, PhD

Research Interests

  • Hedgehog Pathway
  • Wnt Pathway
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Membrane Lipids
  • Cilia
  • Second Messenger Systems
  • Medulloblastoma
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell


Lab Website


  • English

Academic Information

  • Departments: Biochemistry - Adjunct Assistant Professor, Bioengineering - Adjunct Assistant Professor, Oncological Sciences - Assistant Professor

Academic Office Information

  • 801-213-6246
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute Research North
    2000 Circle of Hope, Room: 5343
    Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Academic Bio

Ben grew up in NJ and obtained his A.B. degree in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard University. Afterwards, he promptly abandoned the east coast to pursue his Ph.D. in a sunnier environment with David Julius at the University of California, San Francisco, where he focused on the gating of transient receptor potential ion channels using yeast-based functional selections and electrophysiology. For his postdoctoral fellowship, Ben shifted gears by studying membrane signaling in a different area of biology -- development and cancer signaling. He joined the lab of Philip Beachy at Stanford University, where he studied the mechanism of Hedgehog signaling at the membrane from biochemical and biophysical perspectives. Ben joined the faculty of the University of Utah in early 2018.

Research Statement

In multicellular organisms, cell-cell communication is tightly controlled to ensure proper development and prevent diseases such as cancer. Our lab studies a key aspect of this process: how extracellular signals are transmitted across the membrane to the cell interior. ​We are tackling this problem from an interdisciplinary perspective, drawing on membrane biochemistry, biophysics, cell biology, physiology, and a range of related approaches. A better understanding of transmembrane signaling will teach us how cellular identity is specified during development and in post-embryonic tissues, and help us to design better therapies for an array of malignancies.

Education History

Type School Degree
Doctoral Training University of California San Francisco
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Undergraduate Harvard University
Biochemical Sciences, magna cum laude

Selected Publications

Journal Article

  1. Arveseth, CD, Happ, JT, Hedeen, DS, Zhu, J, Capener, JL, Klatt Shaw, D, Deshpande, I, Liang, J, Xu, J, Stubben, SL, Nelson, IB, Walker, MF, Krogan, NJ, Grunwald, DJ, Huttenhain, R, Manglik, A, Myers, BR (2021). Smoothened Transduces Hedgehog Signals via Activity-Dependent Sequestration of PKA Catalytic Subunits (in revision). PLoS Biol, (183079).
  2. Deshpande I, Liang J, Hedeen D, Roberts KJ, Zhang Y, Ha B, Latorraca NR, Faust B, Dror RO, Beachy PA, Myers BR, Manglik A (2019). Smoothened stimulation by membrane sterols drives Hedgehog pathway activity. Nature, 571(7764), 284-288.
  3. Zhang, Y, Bulkley, DP, Xin, Y, Roberts, KJ, Asarnow, DE, Sharma, A, Myers, BR, Cho W, Cheng Y, Beachy PA (Cell). Structural Basis for Cholesterol Transport-like Activity of the Hedgehog Receptor Patched.Cell 2018 Nov 15;175(5):1352-1364.e14 (2018). Cell, 175(5), 1352-1364.e14.
  4. Myers BR, Neahring L, Zhang Y, Roberts KJ, Beachy PA (2017). Rapid, direct activity assays for Smoothened reveal Hedgehog pathway regulation by membrane cholesterol and extracellular sodium. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 114(52), E11141-E11150.
  5. Sweeney RT, McClary AC, Myers BR, Biscocho J, Neahring L, Kwei KA, Qu K, Gong X, Ng T, Jones CD, Varma S, Odegaard JI, Sugiyama T, Koyota S, Rubin BP, Troxell ML, Pelham RJ, Zehnder JL, Beachy PA, Pollack JR, West RB (2014). Identification of recurrent SMO and BRAF mutations in ameloblastomas. Nat Genet, 46(7), 722-5.
  6. Myers BR, Sever N, Chong YC, Kim J, Belani JD, Rychnovsky S, Bazan JF, Beachy PA (2013). Hedgehog pathway modulation by multiple lipid binding sites on the smoothened effector of signal response. Dev Cell, 26(4), 346-57.
  7. Myers BR, Sigal YM, Julius D (2009). Evolution of thermal response properties in a cold-activated TRP channel. PLoS ONE, 4(5), e5741.
  8. Myers BR, Saimi Y, Julius D, Kung C (2008). Multiple unbiased prospective screens identify TRP channels and their conserved gating elements. J Gen Physiol, 132(5), 481-6.
  9. Prober DA, Zimmerman S, Myers BR, McDermott BM Jr, Kim SH, Caron S, Rihel J, Solnica-Krezel L, Julius D, Hudspeth AJ, Schier AF (2008). Zebrafish TRPA1 channels are required for chemosensation but not for thermosensation or mechanosensory hair cell function. J Neurosci, 28(40), 10102-10.
  10. Myers BR, Bohlen CJ, Julius D (2008). A yeast genetic screen reveals a critical role for the pore helix domain in TRP channel gating. Neuron, 58(3), 362-73.
  11. Myers BR, Julius D (2007). TRP channel structural biology: new roles for an old fold. Neuron, 54(6), 847-50.
  12. Desai BN, Myers BR, Schreiber SL (2002). FKBP12-rapamycin-associated protein associates with mitochondria and senses osmotic stress via mitochondrial dysfunction. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 99(7), 4319-24.

Book Chapter

  1. Walker, MF, Myers, BR (). Rapid, direct SMOOTHENED activity assays in live cells using cAMP-based conformational sensors. In Methods in Molecular Biology.
  2. Nelson, IB, Myers, BR (). Studying SMOOTHENED Activation in vitro using Cell-free and Reconstituted Systems. In Methods in Molecular Biology.