Gene Expression; Ion channel kinetics and structure; Membrane Transport (Ion Transport); Molecular and Cellular Biology; Neurobiology; Pathophysiology; Signal Transduction
Neuronal firing patterns are highly diverse because neurons regulate a wide variety of different behaviors and physiological functions including pain, cognition and memory. Whether a neuron exhibits regular spiking, burst firing, adaptation or high frequency firing will largely be determined by which specific ion channel genes a neuron expresses. I am an ion channel biologist. I study the regulation of ion channels by intracellular factors and kinases and I study how they are trafficked in and out of the neuronal membrane. In addition to patch-clamp electrophysiology, molecular biology and biochemistry, my lab has used transgenic mouse models and in vivo gene knockdown approaches to determine how ion channels and ion channel interacting proteins contribute to pain behavior. I also develop pharmacological tools to target ion channel trafficking and some of these molecules have led to filings of patents to treat human disease.