Structural Biology Program

The Melinda Diver Lab


Melinda Diver
Melinda M. Diver, PhD
Assistant Member

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 protein movements are involved? Does their dysregulation play a role in disease? 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.

The Diver lab’s approach is comprehensive, spanning tissues to cells to high-resolution structures, and exploits a range of biochemical, structural, biophysical, and physiological approaches to address questions concerning mechanisms and consequences of lipid-protein and protein-protein interactions and their effects on membrane protein function. As merely solving a structure provides only a superficial understanding of a protein’s function, we emphasize complementary techniques that provide a more complete understanding of a protein’s function and how it relates to human biology and therapeutics. For example, we identify modulatory drugs to yield unique and powerful pharmacological tools that have utility for our basic research and drug discovery efforts. Importantly, we aim to probe membrane protein structure and function in more native environments, thereby bridging gaps in knowledge between in vitro studies and in vivo models.

More information about our research can be found at

Research Projects

Publications Highlights


Melinda Diver

Melinda M. Diver, PhD

Assistant Member

  • 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.
  • BSc, Biochemistry, University of British Columbia (2007)
  • PhD, Biochemistry and Structural Biology, Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences (2015)
  • Postdoc, University of California, San Francisco (2021)
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Keith Bartlett

Administrative Assistant

Nataniel Janer Pagán

MSK Bridge Scholar

Joshua Luo

Summer Undergraduate Student

Maddy Yaggi

Graduate Student; Weill Cornell PBSB; NIH IMSD Fellow

Qinyu Zhu

Postdoctoral Fellow

Lab Alumni
Omar Almakki

Research Technician

Kate Enquist

GSK Student Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) Scholar

Lab Affiliations


  • Josie Robertson Investigator (2021-2026)
  • NCCIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) (2019-2024)
  • A. P. Giannini Postdoctoral Fellowship and Career Award (2017-2019)
  • American Heart Association Pre-doctoral Fellowship (2012-2013)
  • Dorris J. Hutchinson Fellowship (2010-2011)

Open Positions

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Doctors and faculty members often work with pharmaceutical, device, biotechnology, and life sciences companies, and other organizations outside of MSK, to find safe and effective cancer treatments, to improve patient care, and to educate the health care community.

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Melinda M. Diver discloses the following relationships and financial interests:

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