Neuronal Calcium Signaling and Disease

Our main interest is in calcium signaling. Calcium ion (Ca2+) acts as an intracellular second messenger in living cells. Changes in the cytosolic Ca2+ level influence most fundamental cellular processes. Deranged calcium signaling results in a number of disorders. Local and rapid changes in cytosolic Ca2+ are evoked by activation of plasma membrane voltage-gated Ca2+ channels in response to membrane depolarization. Global changes in cytosolic Ca2+ are supported by intracellular Ca2+ release channels - the inositol (1,4,5)-trisphosphate receptor (InsP3R) and the ryanodine receptor(RyanR). The connection between abnormal neuronal calcium signaling and neurodegenerative disorders (Huntington's disease, ataxias, Alzheimer's disease) is the main focus of our research. We hope that our work will help in developing much needed cures for these lethal disorders.

About Ilya

Ilya Bezprozvanny received M.Sci in Physics (1989) from the St Petersburg Polytechnical University and a Ph.D. in Cell Biology (1992) from the Institute of Cytology Russian Academy of Sciences (scientific advisors - Alex P. Naumov and Galina N. Mozhayeva). As a part of his training, Ilya worked with Barbara E. Ehrlich (1990-1994) at the University of Connecticut Health Center at Farmington, Connecticut and then with Richard W. Tsien (1994-1996) in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, California. In 1996, Ilya joined the faculty of UT Southwestern Medical Center as an Assistant Professor. This is how our lab started.