Cell Physiology and Molecular Biophysics
Cancer and diabetes are the largest risks to good health. Studies that propose to
understand the nature of molecular event that cause or are associated with either
of these diseases are potentially of great significance. My interests are focused
on understanding the mechanisms and the regulation of ion transport in these diseases.
Specifically, we study the extrusion of acid (i.e., H+ ) from the cytosol through
the plasma membrane via the plasmalemmal Vacuolar H+-ATPase (pmV-ATPase). Vacuolar
type H+-ATPases are ATP dependent proton pumps which function in acidification of
the intracellular acidic compartments. Importantly, when expressed at the plasma membrane,
the pmV-ATPases play a significant role in cancer metastasis and in angiogenesis which
is needed to provide blood supply to the tumor. We use sophisticated state-of-the-art
biophysical approaches that include optical and spectroscopy approaches: time-resolved
fluorescence spectroscopy, laser scanning confocal microscopy, 2-photon microscopy,
and spectral imaging microscopy to study H+ transport via the pmV-ATPase using cellular
and animal models of cancer and diabetes.