Ion channel kinetics and structure; Molecular Basis of Disease; Neurobiology; Neurodegenerative disorders; Neuropharmacology; Protein Function and Structure; Signal Transduction
We investigate the activation mechanisms of neurotransmitter receptor channels. We seek to define the activation pathway, modulatory mechanisms and structure-function relationships of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor to better understand the roles played by this protein in the central nervous system.
NMDA receptors are the most abundant glutamate-stimulated, calcium-conducting channels in brain and spinal cord. They are the predominant molecular devices for controlling synaptic development and plasticity and govern memory and learning processes. Understanding the mechanisms that control their activity may lead to more effective strategies to treat neuropathies including stroke, neurodegenerative conditions, chronic pain and addiction as well as mental disorders such as schizophrenia and epilepsy.