Rm: A215 Botterell Hall
Tel: (613) 533-6000 x 78665
RESEARCH AREA/POTENTIAL PROJECT(S)
Our research is focused on how hepatocytes, the major epithelial cells of the liver, use the electrochemical gradients of inorganic ions to maintain their many metabolic and exocrine functions, and to support proliferative or apoptotic events characteristic of most liver diseases. We use electrophysiological and molecular approaches to understand how ion channels contribute to the physiology of the liver. Currently our studies are focused on the role of a non‐selective cation channel (TRPM7) in cell survival and proliferation.
TRPM7 is an ion channel with a kinase domain – a ‘chanzyme’. The channel domain conducts divalent cations such as magnesium across the plasma membrane into the cell to support synthetic processes in rapidly dividing cells. A role for the kinase domain has not been established although evidence from similar kinases predicts a role in the cell cycle and recent reports show that the soluble kinase can be cleaved from the membrane-associated channel domain. We are currently identifying the subcellular location of the kinase and potential signalling pathways with which it may interact. BIOL 537 studies will develop these areas with the goal of revealing protein targets and the cellular consequences of their phosphorylation.