David Clapham is interested in ion channels and their control of intracellular and intraorganellar calcium signaling.
Our laboratory identifies ion channels, investigates how they work, and establishes their function in the tissues in which their function is most important. Ion channels are the transistors of cells, that is, they are switches in cell membranes that control their electrical activity. In most cases, this activity is translated into calcium signaling in the cell to control neurotransmission, secretion, contraction, and a host of other cell endpoints ranging from cell division to cell migration.
Projects are always changing, but currently we are working in the following areas:
1. Ion channels in primary cilia and their relation to hedgehog signaling (embryonic development, cancer).
2. Ion channels and transporters in mitochondria that modulate metabolism.
3. Sensory ion channels, such as TRP family members, in the nervous system and brain.
4. Ion channels in spermatozoa that enable fertility.
5. The high-resolution structure of voltage-gated sodium and proton channels.
We use the following major kinds of techniques:
1. Patch-clamp electrophysiology and calcium imaging.
2. Fluorescence, total internal reflection, confocal, and superresolution microscopies.
3. Transgenic mice.
4. Biochemistry and molecular biology.