Gastrointestinal motility requires coordination between nerves, a specialized cell type called the interstitial Cell of Cajal, and smooth muscle cells. The research programs in the laboratory are aimed at understanding the regulation of gastrointestinal motility in health and disease. Our current projects include the study of: a) physiological and pathophysiological relevance of Ca2+ and Na+ mechanosensitive ion channels; b) ion channel regulation in gastrointestinal smooth muscle; c) the role of interstitial cells of Cajal in the regulation of gastrointestinal motility in health and in disease states; d) gastroparesis and slow transit constipation; and, e) gases as messenger molecules.
The laboratory interacts closely with colleagues in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, the Department of Pathology, the Department of Surgery and the department of Medicine. Techniques used in the laboratory include patch clamp techniques, muscle strip techniques, optical laser tweezers, laser capture micro-dissection, confocal microscopy, immunohistochemistry, yeast-2-hybrid, single cell and quantitative PCR and other molecular biology techniques.