Research and teaching
Research projects in my laboratory focus on:
1) the roles, regulation, properties and molecular basis of voltage-gated and ATP-sensitive potassum and non-selective cation channels in vascular smooth muscle cells, and
2) mechanisms of myofilament Ca2+ sensitization, in the context of the myogenic response of resistance arteries to elevations in intravascular pressure. These studies are primarily directed towards understanding the regulation of cerebral arterial diameter and, thereby, blood flow to the brain, in health and disease.
We employ several techniques to accomplish our research goals, including:
1) conventional microelectrodes and patch clamp methodologies to monitor membrane potential and ion currents (whole cell and single channel) in intact smooth muscle tissues and isolated myocytes, respectively;
2) Ca2+ fluorescence monitoring techniques, video microscopy and pressurized arterial myography to relate changes in membrane potential and ionic currents to specific alterations in intracellular Ca2+ levels, contractile tone and vessel diameter;
3) molecular biological and biochemical studies on vascular smooth muscle channels to identify the molecular composition of the channels, their association with non-channel proteins, and specific structure-function relationships in the channel proteins;
4) immunocyto-chemical approaches for identification of ion channel subunit expression and intracellular trafficking in vascular smooth muscle.
5) biochemical approaches for detection of protein/phosphoprotein levels in pressurized arterial segments.