- Brain Awareness Week
Ion channels and their abnormalities in disease
The lab has two main areas of interest, the biology of DEG/ENaC channels and cystic fibrosis. DEG/ENaC channels are a novel family of non-voltage gated cation channels, including ASIC1, -2, and -3 in mammals and the Pickpocket genes in Drosophila.
In the peripheral nervous system, they may serve as sensory receptors and/or influence sensation, including touch, temperature, salt taste, moisture, and pain. We are examining the function, cell biology, physiology and behavioral role of these channels in vitro and in genetically altered flies and mice.
We also study the function of these channels in the central nervous system where they play an important role in synaptic plasticity, learning and memory and fear. They also play a role in pathological conditions, including ischemia, traumatic brain injury, seizure termination, and multiple sclerosis, and perhaps in panic and anxiety disorders.
The lab offers the opportunity to take a variety of approaches to this field and to work with investigators with diverse expertise. This research should lead to a better understanding of normal neuronal biology, pathophysiology, and novel targets for therapeutic intervention.