Bio-X SIGF Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2010
Home Department: Chemistry
Faculty Advisors: Justin Du Bois (Chemistry), W.E. Moerner (Chemistry), and Dave Yeomans (Anesthesiology)

Research Title: Novel saxitoxin-derived probes for the study of voltage-gated sodium channel structure and function

Research Description: Voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSCs) mediate electrical conduction in neurons and play an essential role in pain sensation. Consequently, VGSC malfunction, improper regulation, and abnormal cellular localization have been implicated in a number of medical conditions. To better understand the causative link between VGSCs and pain, William designed small molecule probes derived from the potent VGSC blocker saxitoxin that can be used for real-time imaging of this protein class. William's studies capitalized on the interplay of complex molecule synthesis, molecular biology, electrophysiology, fluorescent imaging, and live animal experiments to investigate fundamental aspects of VGSC dynamics.


William is an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Oberlin College.