Electrically excitable cells have many different physiological functions. Whether or not they are neurons releasing neurotransmitters or endocrine cells releasing hormones, ion channels are important for the cells’ function. Our lab is interested in potassium channels and their function in the electrically excitable endocrine cells within the pancreas. These pancreatic endocrine cells regulate blood glucose levels through glucose stimulated insulin secretion from β-cells. I am particularly interested in the physiological role of the potassium channel TALK-1 because a polymorphism in this channel has been associated with Type 2 Diabetes. Our lab has previously shown that TALK-1 channels are key regulators of the β-cells ability to release insulin in response to glucose, and my work focuses on characterizing this regulation so that we can better understand the function that the channel plays in diabetes.
Molecular Physiology & Biophysics
PI: David Jacobson, Ph.D.