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Research interests

This lab studies the functional and physiological roles of a family of ion channel proteins (e.g., the Ca2+ and voltage-regulated BK-type potassium channel) that are widely expressed (e.g., most neurons, muscle, secretory epithelium, kidney, endocrine cells) and have been linked to diverse conditions such as asthma, mental retardation, hypertension, colitis, epilepsy, and tumor growth. The behavior of BK channels varies enormously among different tissues, primarily because of regulatory subunits (beta and gamma) that define tissue-specific properties and cell-specific functional behavior. This lab identifies new subunits, determines their localization, function, and potential physiological roles, and uses genetic knock-out (KO) of specific subunits in mice to assess further the potential physiological and pathological roles of specific channels. Current emphases include: the beta3 (Kcnmb3) subunit for which KO results in resistance to ketamine-induced sedation and the gamma1 (Lrrc26) subunit for which KO confers severe sensitivity to colitis and enhanced colonic tumor growth.

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