Dennis Voelker performed undergraduate work at Indiana University and completed graduate studies in Biochemistry/Biomedical Sciences with Fred Snyder, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory/University of Tennessee, in 1979.  He conducted postdoctoral studies with Eugene Kennedy at Harvard Medical School.  In 1981 he joined the faculty of Medicine at National Jewish Hospital, with a joint appointment in Biochemistry Biophysics and Genetics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.  He is currently Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics and Medicine at National Jewish Health with a joint appointment at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.


Research Focus of Voelker Laboratory

The Voelker laboratory conducts basic research examining the cell and molecular biology of lipids related to the problems of membrane and organelle biogenesis in eukaryotic cells.  Additional areas of investigation include both the lipid and protein elements of pulmonary surfactant, and concentrate on mechanisms of suppressing inflammation and bacterial and viral infection.  The long-term medical applications of this work are to uncover new approaches for regulating cell growth and development; and to develop new pharmacological interventions for preventing bacterial and viral infections and the destructive inflammatory processes these infections cause in the lung.


Lab Resources and Services

The Voelker laboratory utilizes the tools of contemporary cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry and genetics to address problems of intracellular phospholipid transport and membrane biogenesis, and the structure and function of pulmonary surfactant lipids and proteins. Learn more.


Current Research Projects and Grant Support

  • Phospholipid Dynamics in Membrane Assembly, NIGMS Grant 5R37-GM32453
  • Novel Roles for Lysophospholipids in Membrane Biogenesis, NIGMS Grant GM081461
  • Anionic Surfactant Lipid Regulation of Infection and Inflammation, NHLBI Grant HL094629.
  • Surfactant Protein A Regulation of Innate Immunity in Asthma, NIAID Grant AI081672
  • Anionic Surfactant Lipid Regulation of RSV Infection, CBD Grant
  • Sensitive and Rapid Quantification of Anionic Phospholipids in Surfactant, CCTSI Grant



  • Research Associates
    Jae Yeon Choi, PhD
    Pitchaimani Kandasamy, PhD
    Wayne Riekhof, PhD
    Masami Yamazoe, MD, PhD
    Sasipa Tanyaratsrisakul, PhD
    Geetha Ramakrishnan, PhD
  • Research Technicians
    Janelle Posey, BS
    Jimmy Mitchell, BS



Gijon, MA, Riekhof, WR, Zarini, S, Murphy, RC, Voelker, DR, Lysophospholipid acyltransferases and arachidonate recycling in human neutrophils. J Biol Chem. 283: 30235-45, 2008. Abstract

Osanai K, Oikawa R, Higuchi J, Kobayashi M, Tsuchihara K, Iguchi M, Jongsu H, Toga H, Voelker DR. A mutation in Rab38 small GTPase causes abnormal lung surfactant homeostasis and aberrant alveolar structure in mice.  Am J Pathol 173:1265-74, 2008. Abstract

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