Tinatin I. Brelidze

Assistant Professor of Pharmacology
Ph.D., Physiology and Biophysics
University of Miami, 2003
(202) 687-6178

Ion channels are guardians of membrane potential and are essential for the physiological function of every living cell. Abnormalities in ion channel opening and closing (gating) or expression pattern are often linked to inherited or acquired diseases. Our research interests are focused on understanding the mechanisms of ion channel gating. In particular, we are interested in uncovering novel regulatory mechanisms of ligand-gated ion channels using a combination of electrophysiology, X-ray crystallography and fluorescence based methods. Our current efforts are directed toward the following goals: 1) Studying the fundamental gating mechanisms of ligand-gated ion channels at the single-channel level using the single-channel patch-clamp technique. 2) Identifying novel regulators of ligand-gated ion channels that could be used as prototypes for designing pharmaceutical agents targeting the ion channels. The novel regulators are identified by screening ion channels against the libraries of small biologically relevant molecules using the novel tryptophan fluorescence based screening method. 3) Determining X-ray structures of the ligand-binding domains in the unliganded and ligand-bound states to aid in drug discovery and in functional studies of the ligand-gated ion channels.

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