Dr. Alexej Verkhratsky

Prof. Dr. Alexej Verkhratsky

L-VGCC subtypes and Ca2+-induced Ca2+ release

University of Manchester, U.K.

The University of Manchester, which in 2004 merged with UMIST, is currently one of the largest and the most dynamic universities of the UK. The Faculty of Life Science employs 250 academic staff and research fellows and over 1000 postdoctoral researchers and PhD students working in virtually all areas of biological sciences. The research excellence of the Faculty of Life Sciences was recognised by the "5*" rating in the last Research Assessment Exercise run by the UK Higher Education Funding Council. The faculty occupies three main buildings and has full complement of core facilities, which include cellular imaging (confocal/conventional microscopy), histology (in situ hybridisation; electron microscopy), molecular biology tools (e.g. real-time PCR, DNA sequencing), etc. The animal facility, which belongs to the Faculty, is one of the best in the country; it is subsidised at the level of 50% by the University. The Faculty runs a comprehensive programme of post-graduate students training.

The laboratory of cellular neurophysiology led by Prof. Verkhratsky dedicates its efforts to the investigation of mechanisms of Ca2+ signalling in neural cells, particularly concentrating on the role of ER Ca2+ homeostasis in neurones and glia and on synaptically induced Ca2+ responses. The laboratory is also involved in studying the alterations of Ca2+ homeostasis in neurodegenerative diseases, first and foremost Alzheimer's disease. Prof. Verkhratsky made numerous original contributions into the role of the endoplasmic reticulum calcium store in neuronal and glial Ca2+ signalling and into the mechanisms of neuronal-glial communications in the CNS. At present, the laboratory has 4 full-time post-doctoral positions and 1 PhD student. The laboratory is equipped with three real-time video-imaging set-ups combined with patch-clamp. The laboratory has access to a variety of relevant transgenic animal models, such as triple transgenic Alzheimer disease model and transgenic models with cell-specific fluorescent proteins expression (e.g. EGFP-labelled orexin neurones or EGFP-labelled astroglial cells). The laboratory dedicates all possible efforts to training of young researchers, which is accomplished through weekly meetings, lab reports and journal clubs. Special emphasis is given to enhancements of public speaking and scientific writing skills

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L-type calcium channels in health and diseaseknipper@uni-tuebingen.de