Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa Iowa City, Iowa
Aims of the Fellowship
The primary focus of the Ahern Lab is on the physiology of voltage-gated ion channels (membrane proteins). This is one of a handful of labs in the world that excels at a biochemical technique known as nonsense suppression. This technique involves creating mutations at unique amino acid sites in order to incorporate unnatural amino acids in their place. This allows us to gain a deeper understanding of the structure-function relationship of the protein, as well as information on the protein's localization, biophysical behavior, and interaction with other proteins. Once I have acquired the necessary skills, I will be creating a large number of mutations all along the L-type voltage-gated calcium channel (found primarily in heart cells) for further study.