Randall K. Packer

Randall Packer

Randall K. Packer

Robert Weintraub Chair & Professor Emeritus of Biology

Cellular & Molecular Biology


Office Phone: (202) 994-6977


Regulation of electrolyte balance and blood pressure and electrolyte and acid-base balance, especially in mammals; kidney function.

Most of my research has been the study of water and ion transport across the gills of fish and in mammalian renal tubules. recently I have turned my attention to how environmental changes affect the immune system of fishes.

My early research interests were primarily in the areas of ion balance, respiration and acid-base balance in teleost fish. In my Ph.D. thesis research, Bill Dunson and I demonstrated for the first time that exposure to acidic environments interfered with ion balance in fresh water fish. Subsequent work by me and other investigators has shown that ion imbalance is the primary cause of death of fish during chronic exposure to acidic environments. At GW my students and I have also studied ion and acid-base balance in amphibians, reptiles, crabs and tunicates. While I remain interested in a number of problems involving epithelial transport, including recent work on fish gill ion transport, most of my work has been in mammalian renal physiology.

Since 1985 my students at GW and I have been investigating problems in mammalian kidney function, often in collaboration with Dr. Mark Knepper and other members of the Laboratory of Kidney and Electrolyte Metabolism, NHLBI, NIH. We have pursued several lines of work, including ion and water permeability characteristics of the papillary surface epithelium, several studies of different aspects of acid-base balance and, most recently, a targeted proteomic approach to understanding of the role of kidneys in development of hypertension. We have a panel of antibodies specific for all important sodium ion transporters in the nephron. This enables us to follow changes in transporter abundance in response to specific physiological challenges or changes in regulatory pathways.

BISC 2322 - Human Physiology
BISC 3325 - Environmental Physiology

Monroe I, Wentworth S, Thede K, Aravindabose V, Garvin J, Packer RK. Activity changes in gill ion transporter enzymes in response to salinity and temperature in fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas).Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2018 Oct 31;228:29-34. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2018.10.018. [Epub ahead of print]

Wentworth SA1, Thede K2, Aravindabose V2, Monroe I1, Thompson AW1, Molyneaux N3, Owen CL4, Burns JR1, Gonzalez-Vicente A2, Garvin JL2, Packer RK1 (2018).Transcriptomic analysis of changes in gene expression of immune proteins of gill tissue in response to low environmental temperature in fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas). Comp Biochem Physiol Part D Genomics Proteomics. 2018 Mar;25:109-117. doi: 10.1016/j.cbd.2017.11.004. Epub 2018 Jan 31.

Turban S., Beutler K.T., Morris R.G., Masilamini S., Fenton R.A., Knepper M.A., Packer R.K. (2006) Long-Term Regulation of Proximal Tubule Acid-Base Transporter Abundance by Angiotensin II. In Press, Kidney International 60: 660-668.

Tiwari S., Packer R.K., HU X., Sugimura Y., Verbalis J.G., Ecelbarger C.A. (2006) Increased renal {alpha} - ENaC and NCC abundance and elevated blood pressure are independent of hyperaldosteronism in vasopressin escape. Am. J. Physiol. 291 (Renal Fluid Electrolyte Physiol.): F49-F57.

Beutler, K.T., Masilamini, S, Turban, S. Nielsen, J., Brooks, H.L., Ageloff, S., Fenton, R., Packer, R.K., and M.A. Knepper. (2003) Long-term regulation of ENaC expression in kidney by Angiotensin II. Hypertension 41: 1143-1150.

Kim, G-H., S.W. Martin, P. Fernandez-Llama, S. Masilamani, R.K. Packer, and M.A. Knepper. (2000) Long-term regulation of renal Na-dependent cotransporters and EnaC: response to altered acid-base intake. Am. J. Physiol. 279 (Renal Fluid Electrolyte Physiol.): F459-F467.

Kim, G-H., C. Ecelbarger, C. Mitchell, R. Packer, J. Wade and M. Knepper. (1999) Vasopressin increases Na-K-2Cl cotransporter expression in thick ascending limb of Henles loop. Am. J. Physiol. 276 (Renal Fluid Electrolyte Physiol. 31): F96-F103.

Kim, G-H., C. Ecelbarger, M. Knepper, and R. Packer (1999) Regulation of BSC-1, NHE-3 and Na+/K+ ATPase abundance in rat renal outer medulla by acid, base and sodium loading. J. Am. Soc. Neph. 10(5): 935-942.

Packer, R.K. and J. Garvin (1998) Seasonal differences in activity of perch (Perca flavescens) gill Na+/K+ ATPase. Comp. Biochem Physiol. B: 120: 777-783.

Nolan, P.J., M.A. Knepper and R.K. Packer (1997) Role of adrenal steroids in stimulating ammonium excretion during acute metabolic acidosis. Contrib. Nephrol. 121: 55-61

Nolan, P.J., M.A. Knepper and R.K. Packer (1997) Inhibition of IMCD 11?-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 by low pH and acute acid loading. J. Am. Soc. Neph. 8: 530-534.

Packer, R, K., C. Curry and K. Brown (1995) Urinary organic anion excretion in response to dietary acid and base loading. J. Am. Soc. Neph. 5: 1624-1629.

Lock Haven State College, September, 1963

B.S. (Cum Laude) Secondary Education-Biology


The Pennsylvania State University, September, March, 1971

Ph.D. in Zoology Thesis Director - Dr. William A. Dunson