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Academic Background

1966, S.B., S.M., E.E., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1970, Ph.D., Harvard University

Ion channel behavior and cellular physiological and biochemical processes

The aim of our research is to understand the molecular mechanismsinvolved in membrane electrical events and the relationship of theseevents to biochemical and physiological processes. Studies are carriedout using mammalian and amphibian single smooth muscle cells and othercell types as well as various expression systems including Xenopusoocytes. We are using voltage-clamp techniques for measuring macroscopicmembrane currents, the patch-clamp technique for measuring currentspassing through single ion channels, Ca2+imaging techniques for examining the temporal and spatial distribution ofcellular Ca2+, and molecular biologicaltechniques for studying cloned channels, identifying new channels, anddetermining various functional domains of channel proteins. We have beenexamining the voltage, chemical, mechanical, and ionic control of membranechannels; the mechanism of action of neurotransmitters, peptides, drugsand other agents; and the role of these in cellular function. Specifically, we have recently been interested in the direct effects offatty acids, sphingosine, steroids, and other biologically active lipidson smooth muscle and neuron ion channel activity; the role ofmechanically-gated ion channels in the control of stretch-inducedcontraction of smooth muscle; various Ca2+permeable nonselective cation channels activated by caffeine, NMDA andATP; and the relationship between ion channel gating and changes in thelocal concentration of cellular Ca2+.

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  • Muscle Cells