Cell Signaling

All living tissue must respond to environmental cues to survive. The cells in our body need to detect and respond to small changes in the concentration of many different molecules or stimuli in their extracellular milieu.

Cell signalingHow biological systems interpret environmental signals to execute appropriate physiological responses is the business of cell signaling.

The molecular choreography of transmitting information across cellular membranes is essential for normal cellular behaviour and is subverted in many diseases. It is therefore unsurprising that the majority of drugs used in the clinic target receptor proteins that coordinate cellular responses to the environment. To design new therapeutics, we need to discover such targets and understand how they work at the cellular level.

Morphine activates calcineurin and thereby induces internalization of GluR1 in hippocampal neurons

Morphine activites calcineurin and thereby induces internationalization of GluR1 in hippocampal neurons. For details, please read Kam et al, J. Neurosci. 30: 15304-15316 (2010).

Faculty in this group investigate a spectrum of cellular and molecular processes regulating the mammalian genome in healthy cells, as well as how they may go wrong in diseased conditions. These include studies of epigenetic regulation and transcription, telomere, DNA recombination, RNA transport and editing, non-coding RNAs such as microRNAs, translation, and cell fate control. These processes together mediate a normal cell’s execution of its genome and to maintain its integrity.

Dysfunction in any of these processes often underlines important disease including cancers. Ultimately, these studies will address how this information may be applied in the development of more specific and selective therapeutic agents.

Joining the Graduate Program in Pharmacology offers the opportunity to work on many different thematic areas of cell signaling, and utilize an array of experimental techniques spanning from single molecules to whole animals. Our faculty listed below are interested in the dysfunction of signaling pathways in CNS disorders, cancer, addiction, infectious disease and cardiac pathology. Contact us!