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GEN’s editor in chief, John Sterling, interviews life science academic and biotech industry leaders on important research, technology, and trends. These podcasts will keep you informed with all the important details you need.

With the advent of patch clamp instrumentation technology, voltage-gated ion-channel research has become into a highly promising area for new drug target discovery. Moreover, non-voltage-gated (also known as ligand-gated) ion channels, in particular, are drawing intense scrutiny for their potential role in the development of novel therapeutics for central nervous system disorders.

Dr. Michael Cascio is a scientist whose research focuses on non-voltage-gated ion-channels. Specifically, his laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh is correlating the structure and function of membrane protein receptors and channels, primarily neuroreceptors. His group is reexamining overexpressed recombinant human glycine receptors, which are part of a superfamily of ligand-gated ion channels critical in the transmission of synaptic signals.

During this week's podcast Dr. Cascio describes the major differences between voltage-gated and non-voltage-gated ion channels and the role played by non-voltage-gated ion channels in cellular activities. He explains why non-voltage gated ion channels hold more promise for the development of new therapeutics for central nervous system diseases than do ion-gated ion channels.

Dr. Cascio also talks about recent advances in non-voltage-gated ion channel research for CNS indications and provides examples of therapeutic approaches for pain, cognition, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Be sure to listen to this informative podcast then return to the blog to give your thought's on the following question:

What other kinds of studies might be carried out based on research involving non-voltage gated ion channels?

Or, if you prefer, post your own topic on any biotech industry subject you would like. Please share your opinions and observations.

Michael Cascio, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry Department at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Cascio received his Ph.D in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Columbia University in 1988. He joined the department in 1994 after conducting post-doctoral research at Scripps Research Institute and Yale University. The major interest of his laboratory is correlating the structure and function for membrane protein receptors and channels, primarily neuroreceptors. Utilizing recent biotechnological advances, his laboratory is reexamining overexpressed recombinant human glycine receptors. This receptor is part of a superfamily of ligand-gated ion channels critical in transmission of synaptic signals. Read full bio


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