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Understanding cellular regulation and communication

Our research into ion channels, transporters and signalling is some of the most basic science in the Department. It underpins our understanding of cellular activity, organ function and disease – and inspires the development of new treatments.

Ion channels and transporters are perhaps the most fundamental interface between cells and their surroundings, which makes understanding their function a vital part of understanding how the body works. From establishing how potassium channels affect insulin secretion, through the role of nutrient transporters in cancer growth, and the involvement of calcium channels in gene expression, to understanding metabolic signalling in the heart, all our work considers the microscopic behaviour of the cell but helps explain the macroscopic function of the body.

As a result our studies have wide-ranging implications that belie their tight focus. Through understanding how basic cell function is related to larger-scale conditions comes an increased ability to target our attentions and focus on the most important physiological questions. While our work is fundamentally about improving our understanding of human physiology, then, it lends itself naturally to translating basic science into treatments.

Most recently our understanding of potassium channels has led directly to the adoption of sulphonylurea in the treatment of neonatal diabetes, while insight into the behaviour of calcium-release-activated channels has given rise to a potential treatment for allergic asthma which is currently being developed for clinical trials. As we continue to embrace new technologies and further our theoretical understanding, we look set to answer many more scientific and clinical questions in the coming years.



Groups within this theme

ATP-sensitive potassium (K-ATP) channels, insulin secretion and diabetes
Ashcroft Group

ATP-sensitive potassium (K-ATP) channels, insulin ...

Cellular mechanisms of oxygen and acid sensing in arterial chemoreceptors
Buckler Group

Cellular mechanisms of oxygen and acid sensing in ...

Role of ABC transporters in gut endocrine K-and L-cells
de Wet Group

Role of ABC transporters in gut endocrine K-and ...

Alterations in membrane transport in response to environment and disease
Ellory Group

Alterations in membrane transport in response to ...

Proton dependence of intracellular calcium signalling in the cerebellum in health and disease - role of extracellular pH sensing receptors and ion channels.
Glitsch Group

Proton dependence of intracellular calcium ...

Growth Regulation and Cancer: mTORC1, Exosomes and Cellular Amino Acid Sensing
Goberdhan Group

Growth Regulation and Cancer: mTORC1, Exosomes ...

Encoding information in neural circuits.
Kohl Group

Encoding information in neural circuits.

Interplay between Iron and Oxygen Homeostasis in Systems (Patho)physiology
Lakhal-Littleton Group

Interplay between Iron and Oxygen Homeostasis in ...

The aim of our work is to determine the cellular mechanisms underlying the benefits of traditional multi-herbal Chinese medicines.
Ma Group

The aim of our work is to determine the cellular ...

Intracellular calcium signalling in health and disease
Parekh Group

Intracellular calcium signalling in health and ...

Molecular Physiology: signalling by small ions
Swietach Group

Molecular Physiology: signalling by small ions

Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience
Vogels Group

Theoretical and Computational ...

Membrane transport in cartilage and cancer cells
Wilkins Group

Membrane transport in cartilage and cancer cells

Cell Biology of Signalling, Membrane Trafficking, Secretion and Growth in Normal and Cancer Cells at Super-Resolution
Wilson Group

Cell Biology of Signalling, Membrane Trafficking, ...

Cyclic Nucleotides signalling
Zaccolo Group

Cyclic Nucleotides signalling

CLC chloride channels and transporters
Zifarelli Group

CLC chloride channels and transporters