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Research Techniques

In order to investigate these interesting questions a variety of techniques are utilized in my lab.

Electrophysiology: Here we study the electrical properties of biological cells and tissues. Using very sensitive instruments, one can measure changes in cell voltage and/or electrical current from single ion channel proteins, to hormone release, to whole organs (e.g. spinal cord, brain, or other organs). In this way the response of cells/tissue to different environmental cues (e.g. oxygen tension) can be recorded. Also since cells communicate with one another via electrical signals, cellular networks can also be studied.

immunocytochemistry: Through the use of antibodies developed against specific proteins, the expression of these proteins can be recorded. This technique can often demonstrate the presence or the absence of a particular protein. If done correctly the location of particular proteins can also be demonstrated in addition to making pretty pictures.

Molecular biology: Using a variety of powerful techniques, the genetic makeup of a cell can be modified and studied. Genes are the coding material of cells, leading to the production (or inhibition of production) of proteins (e.g. transcription factors and ion channels). In this lab genes are 'knocked in' or 'knocked out' in order to change the function and/or role of a particular cell.

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