Sarah     Hamm-Alvarez

Sarah Hamm-Alvarez, PhD

Director, Research Development


Dr. Hamm-Alvarez is currently the Director of the Research Development core.  Dr. Hamm-Alvarez oversees the SC CTSI Pilot Funding Program, which continues to be a major catalyst for the development of new interdisciplinary research teams and projects across USC, CHLA and with other CTSA hubs.  Additionally, Dr. Hamm-Alvarez provides leadership in various aspects of faculty and research development to help investigators conduct innovative research projects that test the feasibility of novel technologies, methodologies and approaches to address challenges in clinical research and health problems of diverse communities. Dr. Hamm-Alvarez also oversees the assembling of new interdisciplinary research teams, both in response to needs identified with clinical and community partners, and in response to opportunities emanating from the CTSA network. Dr. Hamm-Alvarez has led the Research Development core since 2011.  

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Professional Background

Sarah Hamm-Alvarez, PhD, is Professor of Ophthalmology and Vice Chair for Basic Research at the USC Roski Institute, and Associate Dean, Basic and Translational Sciences, USC Keck School of Medicine. Dr. Hamm-Alvarez holds a secondary faculty appointment as Professor of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences at USC's School of Pharmacy.  An expert in cellular membrane trafficking and high-resolution imaging, Dr. Hamm-Alvarez is recognized internationally for her work on regulated exocytosis in acinar cells. Her membrane-trafficking research has sparked new growth of translational programs in her laboratory ultimately aimed at improving clinical diagnosis and treatment of SjÖgren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease affecting the secretory function of the lacrimal gland and the integrity of the ocular surface. Other of her research programs focus on drug delivery of immunomodulatory drugs, protein-targeted drug delivery, nanoparticle interactions with cells, and development of protein polymer-based drug delivery systems for ocular diseases.

Dr. Hamm-Alvarez was awarded a PhD in Biochemistry from Duke University in 1990, where she also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Cell Biology in 1993. She has authored numerous papers, served on editorial boards and grant review committees, is an AAPS fellow, and received an Honorary Doctorate from Linneaus University in Sweden. 


Preparing and enjoying food from different cultures, Native American Arts, Contemporary landscape art, Gardening, hiking

NIH Funding Acknowledgment: Important - All publications resulting from the utilization of SC CTSI resources are required to credit the SC CTSI grant by including the NIH funding acknowledgment and must comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.