Bio-X Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2022
Home Department: Chemistry
Faculty Advisors: Justin Du Bois (Chemistry), Merritt Maduke (Molecular & Cellular Physiology), Ron Dror (Computer Science) and John Huguenard (Neurology & Neurological Sciences)

Research Title: Design and Implementation of Small Molecule Tools to Study Chloride Channels and Epilepsy in the Central Nervous System

Research Description: New tools are needed to understand the molecular and physiological functions of voltage-gated chloride ion channels (CLCs) in the brain. In particular, the function of the CLC-2 channel in the delicate oscillatory networks of the thalamic reticular nucleus is poorly understood. Disfunction of these networks leads to abnormal cortical activity, as seen in absence epilepsy. Steven proposes the development of small molecule imaging probes for the determination of channel localization and ion trafficking across cellular membranes. Additionally, he will develop selective, potent, and reversible activators of CLC-2 and will utilize these agents in electrophysiology and confocal microscopy experiments. Success of this work will elucidate the role of chloride ion channeling in regulating neuronal excitability related to neurological disorders.