Research InterestsPurine and excitatory amino acid neurotransmitters in the spinal cord; synaptic transmission and plasticity in pain pathways.
Keywords: Adenosine / ATP / Excitatory Amino Acids / Phosphorylation / Dorsal Horn
Cellular mechanisms of sensory transmission in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. In the spinal cord, primary afferent neurones release chemical neurotransmitters which transmit sensory signals to neurones in the dorsal horn. The dorsal horn neurones integrate these signs with those released from local interneurones and from descending inputs, and send projections to areas of the brain involved in processing, analyzing and responding to sensory stimuli. Our laboratory is investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which neurotransmitters act to control the activity of neurones in the dorsal horn. We are examining the actions of excitatory amino acids and ATP, which increase the activity of dorsal horn neurones, and of adenosine, which inhibits the activity of these neurones. We are investigating the effects of these neurotransmitters on membrane ionic currents, and on the levels of the ubiquitous intracellular messenger Ca2+. We are also examining the regulation of excitatory amino acid receptors by phosphorylation, and our most recent studies have focused on tyrosine phosphorylation. As sensory neurones in the dorsal horn participate in transmitting pain information, one of the ultimate goals of our work is to establish a scientific basis for future advances in treatment of pain.
Cell and tissue culture: Brain slice, neurons.
Procedures: Behavioural tests, electrophysiology, Elisa, gene expression analysis, immunohistochemistry, in-vitro electrophysiology, in-vivo electrophysiology, in-vivo hypothalamus immunocytochemistry, in-vivo recording of local field potentials, mass spectrometry, micro and macrostimulation of peripheral nerves and central brain structures, microarrays, patch clamp, proteomics, qRT-PCR, RT-PCR, signal transduction characterization, siRNA, voltage clamp, western blot.
Amplifier, analytical balances, benchtop centrifuge, blotting apparatus, calcium imaging system, confocal microscope, culture hood, culture incubators, cryostat, digidata, dissecting microscope, electrophysiology rig, fluorescence microscope, fresh tissue sectioning systems, gel apparatus, infusion apparatus, low- and high-speed centrifuge, low and ultralow freezers, micropipette puller, microwave oven, mini vortexer, motorized micromanipulators, plate readers, pneumatic picopump, ProBlot hybridization oven, rat running wheels, real-time/thermocycler, setups for electropherosis, stimulator, stirrer/hot plate, vibratome, water baths.
Publications and Awards