My laboratory is interested in the study of ion channels as mechanistic components and druggable targets in complex human disease. My career has spanned the initial cloning, electrophysiological and biochemical characterization and, more recently, the in vivo and translational study of ion channels. I have worked in immunological, cardiovascular and cancer disease settings, following lines of investigation that seek to demystify these often enigmatic proteins and work towards a complete understanding of their roles in health and disease. My recent work has combined ion channel regulatory and mechanistic studies with powerful in vivo approaches to study their contributions in cardiovascular physiology and disease. I have a proven track record of pre-clinical and translational studies of TRP ion channels in complex human disease states, such as cardiovascular disease. Ion channels control complex cellular responses, and offer insights into disease mechanisms as well as potential therapeutic approaches. Their study requires a multi-dimensional approach, where their biophysics is understood in the context of their protein-protein interactions, the net outcomes of the ionic fluxes they conduct, and their tissue-specific expression. This work also requires interdisciplinary collaborations and the ability to work across in vitro and in vivo model systems, a strength of my laboratory. The projects in my laboratory are empowered by senior collaborators at Kyoto University, Harvard Medical School, the Universities of Aarhus, Nebraska and British Columbia, Rockefeller University, Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research, and the Air Force Research Laboratories (AFRL).
My contributions include roles in the initial cloning of TRPM2 and TRPM7 and the Orai1 ICRAC subunit. I have produced electrophysiological and biochemical characterization of ion channels and linked them to functional roles in immune system cells (exemplified by the role of TRPV2 and TRPA1 in mast cells). More recently, I have broken ground in the in vivo and translational study of TRP and CRAC family members in the setting of cardiovascular disease, leading to publications and an issued 2015 U.S. Patent.
I am also Director of the University of Hawaii Biorepository.
This resource is funded by :
National Institutes of Health - National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities • RMATRIX - 3U54MD007584-03S1 (Dr. J Hedges) & RCMI BRIDGES • G12 MD007601 (Dr. M. Berry), and The National Institute General Medical Sciences • INBRE III • P20GM10346612 (Dr. R Nichols).