The Laboratory of Neurobiology pursues two main lines of research:
1) The most fundamental mechanisms of neuronal signaling are based on movements of ions across the plasma membrane via channels and ion transporters. We are studying the functions of ion-regulatory proteins (IRPs), such as cation-chloride cotransporters (CCCs) and carbonic anhydrases (CAs), in the control of neuronal development, signaling and disease at the molecular, single-cell and network levels.
When compared to ion channels, IRPs have received much less attention in neurobiological research, but this biased situation is undergoing a profound change that started about a decade ago (see more at the “Milestones” page). In addition to ion regulation, some IRPs also serve as structural elements in neuronal morphogenesis. Because of their multifunctional characteristics, IRPs are involved in diverse brain functions and disorders.
2) Birth asphyxia
Mammalian birth is always accompanied by a period of obligatory asphyxia during the transition from placental to lung-based breathing. During complicated birth, the duration of the asphyxia is prolonged, leading to a pathophysiological state which is diagnosed as clinical birth asphyxia. This, in turn, is a main cause of neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Our laboratory is studying the molecular, cellular and network mechanisms underlying the physiological and pathophysiological responses to birth asphyxia in rodents and in human neonates. Our focus is on neuroendocrine signaling based on arginine vasopressin (AVP), and on monitoring changes in brain pH as well as O2 and CO2 levels in order to develop effective means for post-asphyxia resuscitation.