Monica Sala-Rabanal, PhD

Washington University in St. Louis (WU)

Ion channels and membrane transporters are responsible for communication and exchange processes between and within cells, and underlie phenomena so vital as the generation and propagation of action potentials, or the absorption, distribution and clearance of nutrients and drugs. I am particularly interested in calcium-activated chloride channels (CaCCs, such as TMEM16A) and regulators (CLCAs), and solute and drug transporters, such as organic cation transporters (OCTs) and other members of the SLC family. Using a multidisciplinary approach, which includes biochemical and electrophysiological analyses in primary cells and heterologous expression systems, whole-body positron emission tomography, and in silico modeling, I investigate the structure-function relationships, pharmacology and physiology of these membrane transport proteins, and the functional effect of common polymorphisms and rare mutations. Precise knowledge of the molecular mechanisms governing normal physiology and pathogenesis is essential for the design of specific, successful preventive and therapeutic strategies.