Assistant Professor in the School of Biotechnology
Deciphering molecular events in the ubiquitous process for the release of chemical transmitters from different nerve types, by Ca2+-regulated exocytosis.
Neurotransmitter release /neurotransmission from different peripheral neuron types (sensory, motor, sympathetic or parasympathetic) is studied using primary neuron cultures, in tissues and in vivo. Botulinum toxins are used to potently and selectively inactivate key proteins called SNAREs that catalyse membrane fusion, a critical step in the release from nerves of chemical transmitters stored inside intracellular membrane vesicles. Key goals are to distinguish the distinct contributions of individual SNAREs to exocytosis from different neuron types, decipher their differential regulation by intracellular calcium ion concentrations, and to delineate neuron types most susceptible to the botulinum toxins.