Juan Du, Ph.D.

Title
Assistant Professor
Department
Structural Biology
Institution
Van Andel Institute
Address
333 Bostwick Ave. NE
City, State, Zip
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone
616-234-5358
E-mail
[email protected]
Website
https://dulab.vai.org
Research Field
Biochemistry; Structural Biology
Award Year
2020

Research

The Du lab investigates the molecular mechanisms that allow the body to sense and regulate temperature. Mammals carefully regulate their internal body temperature and avoid exposure to extreme heat or cold in the environment. But little is known about how temperature-sensing receptor proteins are activated by warmth, painful heat, or cold. Previously, our lab uncovered the detailed structures of a warmth-sensing receptor, TRPM2, in its active and inactive state and determined the novel mechanism underlying its function. Now, using an array of methods in biochemistry, structural biology, molecular genetics, and neurophysiology, my lab will continue investigating the main temperature-sensitive receptors in humans. We also aim to identify drugs that can modulate the activation of these receptors and assess how eliminating receptor activity in mice affects the animals’ ability to detect and regulate temperature. Our findings could lead to new ways to regulate body temperature, interventions that could prevent tissue damage in conditions such as stroke or fever.

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