Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology
BRIDGING THE GAP: Investigating the Interaction Between Gap Junction Proteins and Cell Signaling in the Ocular Lens
Synopsis: Mutations in either of the two gap proteins in the ocular lens has been shown to lead to the formation of cataracts. Gap junctions are intercellular channels composed of connexin subunits that organize into hexameric complexes that are inserted into the plasma membrane. These complexes at the plasma membrane can then dock with complexes of adjacent cells to form an intercellular channel that allows for the passage of ion and small molecules. My experiments use techniques in electrophysiology and molecular biology to investigate the role of the P13K signaling pathway in regulating the function of gap junctions formed by Cx50 and Cx46.