Francis I. Valiyaveetil, Ph.D.


We study K+ channels, which are integral membrane proteins that catalyze the selective conduction of K+ ions across biological membranes. While a great deal of research has been focused on these channels, fundamental questions regarding the mechanism of ionic selectivity and gating remain. We have developed a unique combination of methods to address these questions. Our methods include the use of chemical synthesis to introduce precise chemical changes in the channels, x-ray crystallography to determine the structural effects and electrophysiology to determine the functional effects of these changes. Using this multidisciplinary approach we are presently investigating the mechanism of K+ selectivity and the process of slow inactivation.

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