Calcium Channels and Neuronal Plasticity
My laboratory is interested in understanding the role that voltage-gated Ca2+ channel (VGCC) subunits play in both health and disease. In neurons, influx of Ca2+ through these channels serves the critical function of interfacing electrical signals with biochemical and transcriptional changes. Variability in their level of expression, cell-surface location and activity has profound effects on how much and where Ca2+ enters a nerve cell. This in turn influences neurotransmitter release, the strength of synaptic contacts as well as cellular and transcriptional processes, which ultimately affect learning and behavior. At the cellular level, my lab has focused on understanding how neurotransmitters, small lipid molecules, and cytoplasmic proteins modulate postsynaptic neuronal VGCC activity and also VGCC activity in pancreatic beta cells that regulates insulin secretion. These basic questions about VGCC function overlap with our interest in understanding the cellular basis of schizophrenia. Explore the lab webpage to learn more about the lab’s research interests.