Cynthia Czajkowski

Position title: Professor, Department of Neuroscience


Phone: (608) 265-5863




Ph.D. in Anatomy & Cell Biology, State University of New York – Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Postdoctoral in Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA

Research Description:

I have been studying pentameric ligandgated ion channels (pLGICs) for close to 30 years. The main function of these allosteric proteins is to couple neurotransmitter binding to opening and closing of an intrinsic ionconducting pore. A longterm goal of my laboratory is to understand, at a molecular level, how neurotransmitters activate these channels and how drugs and diseasecausing mutations modulate their activity. As an independent investigator, my lab has made fundamental discoveries in understanding GABAR activation by unveiling the structures of the GABA and benzodiazepine (BZD) binding sites and by identifying structural elements important for coupling GABA binding to channel gating and BZD binding to current modulation. Recently, we have expanded our research to bacterial homologs of pLGICs and are examining pLGIC dynamics. Describing pLGIC conformational dynamics in physiological lipids is essential for understanding their function. My laboratory has expertise in various techniques including twoelectrode voltage clamping and patchclamping, rapidligand application, affinity labeling, radioligand binding, voltage clamp fluorimetry, insilico drug docking, protein overexpression and purification, and EPR spectroscopy.

Research Key Words:

GABA-A Receptor Activation and Function, Neurotransmitters, Drug Modulation, Inhibitory Signaling

Link to Lab Website

Link to Publications