Barbara E Ehrlich PhD
Professor of Pharmacology and of Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Intracellular calcium regulation
The Laboratory of Molecular Hermeneutics is interested in how cells regulate their intracellular calcium concentration. Cells use changes in calcium as a trigger for many cellular events, including cell growth, secretion, contraction, and neurotransmission. We have focused on one aspect of this process, the release of calcium from intracellular stores. We use calcium imaging combined with electrophysiological, biochemical, and molecular techniques to study the classes of calcium release channels known to exist inside virtually all cells: the InsP3-gated channel, the ryanodine receptor, and polycystin-2. Our first goal is to understand the basic question: how is the function of these channels regulated. Our second goal is to use the answers to the first question to understand the loss of calcium regulation observed in disease states as seen in cells from patients with polycystic kidney disease or leading to drug-induced neuropathy. We hypothesize that these abnormalities in function are consequences, at least in part, of altered intracellular calcium homeostasis.