1983, B.S., University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras
1986, M.S., University of Puerto Rico, Pio Piedras
1997, Ph.D., University of California, Davis
Opioid effects on ion channels and neuropeptide release
My work focuses on opioid regulation of ion channel conductances in peptidergic nerve terminals. Magnocellular neurons (MCN) in the hypothalamus control neuroendocrine processes such as parturition, lactation, and sodium and water retention, by releasing the neuropeptides Oxytocin and Vasopressin into the blood circulation at their nerve endings in the Neurohypophysis. Endogenous and exogenous opioids modulate neuropeptide release in MCN by targeting voltage-gated channels at the cell’s soma as well as at their nerve endings. We study how the activation of the μ and κ opioid receptors can selectively inhibit the release of these neuropeptides. My laboratory is also interested in studying the cellular mechanisms used by exogenous drugs such as nicotine and alcohol to modulate synaptic efficacy at these presynaptic nerve endings.