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Professor of Biology
Campus MailDrawer 142
OfficeStanley Hall 142
NIH Biographical Sketch
I have two research areas: (1) Molecular mechanisms of activation of nicotinic receptors; and (2) Role of voltage-gated sodium channels in the regeneration of spinal cord neurons. My research on nicotinic receptors focuses on the conformational changes the receptor undergoes when it transitions from the closed to the open conformation. We use a combination of molecular modeling, site-directed cysteine mutagenesis, receptor expression in Xenopus oocytes, electrophysiological and pharmacological characterizations, and cysteine accessibility measurements to characterize conformational changes induced by agonists, antagonists, and positive allosteric modulators. My recent research on voltage-gated sodium channels in spinal cord regeneration is a collaboration with Dr. Jennifer Morgan at the Eugene Bell Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. We study the changes in expression of voltage-gated sodium channels during spinal cord regeneration in lamprey (Petromyzon marinus), using animal behavioral assays, immunofluorescence microscopy, and transcriptome analysis.