Graduate Studies Faculty
Francis I. Valiyaveetil, Ph.D.
Programs:Neuroscience Graduate Program
Physiology & Pharmacology
Program in Molecular & Cellular Biosciences
Research Interests:membrane proteins ion channels chemical biology electrophysiology unnatural amino acids crystallography molecular biophysics » PubMed Listing
Preceptor RotationsDr. Valiyaveetil has not indicated availability for preceptor rotations at this time.
Faculty MentorshipDr. Valiyaveetil has not indicated availability as a mentor at this time.
We study potassium channels, which are integral membrane proteins that catalyze the selective conduction of K+ ions across biological membranes. While a great deal of research has been focused on these channels, fundamental questions regarding the mechanism of ionic selectivity and gating remain. We have developed a unique combination of methods to address these questions. Our methods include the use of chemical synthesis to introduce precise chemical changes in the channels, x-ray crystallography to determine the structural effects and electrophysiology to determine the functional effects of these changes. Using this multidisciplinary approach we hope to explain the mechanism of ion selectivity and channel gating.
In addition to our work on K+ channels, we are interested in extending chemical synthetic techniques to membrane protein families like G-protein coupled receptors and ion transporters.
K+ channels play critical roles in a number of physiological processes including neuronal excitability, cellular signaling, neurotransmitter release and regulation of heartbeat. Molecules that target K+ channels are useful tools for investigations of the structure and physiological functions of these channels. We will use our expertise in the chemical synthesis of K+ channels to develop K+ channel based biosensors that will enable high throughput screening of molecule libraries. Given the pharmacological importance of K+ channels, the molecules that we identify will serve as lead compounds for the development of drugs.