The disruption of ion channel activity can cause disease (e.g. epilepsy) or be used to prevent it (e.g to treat helminth infections or CNS disorders). The pentameric ligand gated ion channel superfamily of proteins presents many high-value targets for intervention in CNS disorders that affect humans or to treat endo and ecto-parsitic infections of humans and animals of agricultural importance. There is need to improve our knowledge of this family of ion channels, to develop new reagents that will provide molecular probes to inform on function under normal conditions and to guide the search for novel modulators of specific channels.
Specifically, a student is sought to work on heteromeric channels, to develop expression systems, to characterise the proteins exploiting a battery of biophysical methods extending to the use of cryo-EM, and to seek out new ligands by screening and design methods.