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The Sigworth Laboratory

Work in our laboratory centers on the function and structure of ion channel proteins. Ion channels are molecular transducers that switch on and off electrical currents that are carried by ions across biological membranes. Depending on the ion channel type, the switching action is controlled by voltage, mechanical forces, or the binding of particular small molecules (ligands). We call these channels voltage-gated, mechanosensitive and ligand-gated channels, respectively.

Why Ion Channels?

Voltage-gated and ligand-gated ion channels are well known for their role in electrical activity of nerve cells, but ion channels are found in many other places too. Ion channel defects are responsible for disorders like Cystic Fibrosis, cardiac arrhythmias, and some kinds of hypertension and kidney disease.