Gail A. Robertson
Professor, Department of Neuroscience
Ph.D. Washington University, St. Louis
Molecular Mechanisms of ion Channel Function and Disease
We are interested in the molecular basis of membrane excitability and its role in disease in the human heart and brain. At the focus of our studies is HERG, a potassium channel that helps repolarize the cardiac action potential. Disruption of HERG channels by inherited mutations or drug block causes a life-threatening condition known as Long QT Syndrome (LQTS), a leading cause of sudden cardiac death. We are interested in how the biophysical mechanisms of gating enable HERG to fulfill its normal physiological role in the heart, and how disruption of HERG leads to disease. We are using genetic, biochemical and electrophysiological means to identify proteins that interact with HERG and facilitate the biogenesis and transport of the channels to the membrane. These newly-discovered proteins may also be novel disease targets for LQTS. In addition, ongoing efforts are aimed at uncovering the functional role of HERG in the brain, where it was first identified.
Please click here for publications.