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Mohammad-Reza Ghovanloo, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Contact Information

Mohammad-Reza Ghovanloo, PhD

Research Summary

Ion channel biophysicist and molecular neuroscientist with interests in channelopathies, pharmacology, membrane physiology, and disease mechanisms.

Research Pages: Google Scholar, Research Gate

Extensive Research Description

I specialize in the fields of ion channels and cannabinoid pharmacology. My work has played a crucial role in advancing our understanding of the inhibitory effects of cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), and cannabinol (CBN) on voltage-gated sodium channels (Nav channels). Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of collaborating with esteemed scientists from academic and industry sectors around the world, resulting in significant discoveries.

Together with my collaborators, we have employed state-of-the-art techniques and methodologies, including patch-clamp electrophysiology, X-ray crystallography, nuclear magnetic resonance, and computational modelling, among others, to investigate the interactions between cannabinoids and various ion channels, with a specific focus on Nav channels.

Our research efforts have provided valuable insights into the mechanisms and therapeutic potential of CBD and CBG in addressing disorders of excitability through Nav channels. In a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry in 2018, we provided the first detailed description of CBD effects on Nav channels. We demonstrated that CBD inhibits Nav currents, suggesting potential anticonvulsant properties at relevant concentrations that could be partially dependent on Nav channels. Building upon this, our study published in the Journal of General Physiology in 2021 revealed that CBD's Nav inhibition occurs through multiple mechanisms, including pore block and alterations in membrane elasticity. In 2020, we further supported the activity at the channel pore level through a crystal structure published in eLife.

In 2022, our research expanded to investigate the effects of CBG, another phytocannabinoid, on Nav channels. Published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, our study demonstrated that CBG inhibits Nav channels in dorsal root ganglion neurons, contributing to neuronal hypoexcitability and its potential implications for pain.

Parallel to my contributions to cannabinoid pharmacology, in 2023, my colleagues and I at Yale developed a powerful high-throughput method, as published in Cell Reports Methods. This innovative approach allows for the functional definition of populations of freshly isolated neurons, revolutionizing the analysis of excitable cells and significantly enhancing the throughput and efficiency of patch-clamp techniques.

In 2024, we conducted a study, detailed in Communications Biology, unravelling the functional-selective nature of CBN's inhibition on Nav channels within diverse neuronal populations. This pioneering work utilized a novel methodology developed by our team. The study not only elucidated the functional selectivity of CBN's impact on neurons with different stoichiometry and ensembles of ion channels but also contributed to defining a spectrum of promising non-psychoactive phytocannabinoids—such as CBD, CBG, and CBN—for effectively addressing peripheral hyperexcitability. This research holds significant promise for advancing the development of treatments in this domain.

Currently, I am actively pursuing my research interests in the field of molecular neuroscience, with a particular emphasis on ion channel biophysics and pharmacology.


Research Interests

Biophysics; Cannabinoids; Electrophysiology; Ion Channels; Neurosciences; Pharmacology

Selected Publications