Gail Robertson

Position title: Professor, Department of Neuroscience


Phone: (608) 265-3339




Ph.D. in Neuroscience, Washington University, St. Louis, MO, USA
Postdoctoral in Genetics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA

Research Description:

For over 30 years my research has focused on mechanisms of excitability in the heart and nervous system. As
a graduate student I uncovered organizational elements of a central pattern generator producing rhythmic limb
movements by recording synaptic drive onto spinal motor neurons with intracellular microelectrode techniques.

In 1995, in my own lab, we showed that the channels underlying the human cardiac repolarizing current IKr are encoded by the hERG gene, cloned based on its homology to Drosophila etheragogo, thus establishing a mechanism for acquired long QT syndrome. We translated this finding into a drug safety test used worldwide to reduce the risk that drugs in development will cause sudden cardiac death via hERG channel block. We continue to work with the FDA to improve drug safety tests while enhancing the drug development pipeline.

In our most recent line of research, we discovered a novel mechanism by which the subunits of the IKr channel assemble cotranslationally from physically associated mRNA transcripts. This finding has led to new work on genomic and protein translational mechanisms coordinating and maintaining the appropriate balance of excitability in the heart.

Research Key Words:

Ion Channel Function, Cardiac Arrhythmia, Biogenesis, Drug Safety Testing

Link to Lab Website

Link to Publications