Using chemistry to study Na+ channel structure and function
Small molecule neurotoxins serve as important chemical and pharmacologic tools for studies aimed at understanding the highly complex ionic mechanisms of electrical transmission in cells. The voltage-gated sodium ion channel is a primary site of action for many of these poisonous substances. No less than six discrete receptor sites for neurotoxins have been identified on the pore-forming alpha-subunit of the channel. This lecture will attempt to illustrate how molecular design and chemical synthesis of toxins and toxin derivatives, together with the tools of molecular biology and electrophysiology, can be used to interrogate sodium channel structure and function.
About the Speaker
Justin Du Bois earned his B.S. in Chemistry from University of California, Berkeley, and then earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from California Institute of Technology in the lab of Dr. Erick Carreira. He did his postdoctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the lab of Dr. Stephen J. Lippard. Dr. Du Bois joined the faculty at Stanford in 1999 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2005. His scientific pursuits stem largely from his interest in chemical design, molecular recognition and physical organic chemistry. His lab has two primary foci, the first and longest-standing of which is aimed at developing chemical processes and catalyst systems for precision-controlled modification of C–H bonds.