B.Sc., Physics & Zoology, University of Toronto
Ph.D. Physiology & Biophysics, Cornell University
My research is focused on the cell biology of ionotropic neurotransmitter receptors, the receptors responsible for the rapid postsynaptic response in nerve and muscle. These receptors are large oligomeric membrane proteins with subunits surrounding an ion channel that opens when neurotransmitters bind to the receptor. There are two different families of ionotropic neurotransmitter receptors. One family includes nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (AChRs), GABA and glycine receptors, and the other family covers the ionotropic glutamate receptors. There are several projects ongoing in my lab characterizing the assembly, trafficking and clustering of these receptors. Assembly refers to the processes that transform newly synthesized subunits into functional receptors usually in the endoplasmic reticulum. Trafficking refers to the processes that transport the receptors to different location in cells and targets them to these locations. Clustering are the processes that pack and maintain the receptors in regions of high density such as synapses.