Dr. Shane R. Cunha
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology
Specialized membrane domains are distinct regions within the plasma membrane that have unique functions. These functions may include regulating the movement of select ions across the plasma membrane or facilitating membrane adherence to neighboring cells or the extracellular matrix.
Ankyrins are a family of adaptor proteins that tether membrane proteins to the underlying cytoskeleton. These membrane proteins mediate the excitable properties of neurons and cardiomyocytes. A variety of human diseases including hemolytic anemia, cardiac arrhythmias, and epilepsy have been linked to ankyrin dysfunction.
Our lab is interested in the molecular mechanisms of ankyrin function in cardiomyocyte structure and membrane excitability using the mammalian heart as our model system. A research tutorial in my lab will allow a student to employ a variety of techniques in molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, and cell imaging in addition to using mouse models of cardiac arrhythmia and primary cultures of cardiac cells.
Office: MSE R356
Title: Assistant Professor
Ph.D. - Northwestern University - 2002