Our lab is interested in understanding the mechanisms of migraine headache as well as exploring targets for new therapeutics. Migraine is one of the most common neurovascular disorders that afflicts 36 million people in the United States, with women more frequently affected than men. One of the major symptoms of migraine, the recurring headache, is highly debilitating, poorly understood and difficult to treat. Migraine severely compromises patients’ quality of life and productivity, and imposes a big burden on the health system.
We employ a multidisciplinary approach including electrophysiology, time-lapse imaging, biochemistry, molecular biology, anatomy as well as mouse genetics and behavior. Our current studies focus on 1) understanding the function of ion channels, in particular voltage-gated calcium channels, in the neuronal circuits underlying migraine headache and 2) identifying molecular targets for the development of new migraine therapeutics.
Another area of interest is to investigate fundamental mechanisms underlying calcium channel regulation of synaptic transmission. We have shown that presynaptic calcium channels occupy type-preferring 'slots' to mediate neurotransmitter release. We are currently exploring the molecular basis of the channel-slot interaction.