Our main goal is to identify novel strategies to treat and prevent human disease.  In our lab. we utilize a multidisciplinary approach to explore how G protein-coupled receptors (GPRCs), the largest family of signaling receptors and a major therapeutic target, function in real-time. Results from our work will provide alternative opportunities to manipulate these receptors in vivo

GPCR (Funded by NIH-NIDA)

Our work is focused on understanding at the molecular level, the ability of some ligands to induce multiple signaling waves from the same receptor (sometimes defined as functional selectivity or ligand bias). Specifically, we are looking at the mechanism underlying beta-arrestin mediated signaling from the Mu opioid and Cannabinoid receptors (CNR1-CNR2) in heterologous and native systems. We have identified  trafficking events that can modulate  these signaling events providing an alternative approach to control GPCR function. We are currently testing if this approach can be utilized in other GPRCs in vitro and in vivo.    

Cell Biology of Coral endosimbiosis (Funded by NSF-CREST)

One of the goals of our work is to develop a microscopic imaging system that will allow us to simultaneously image symbiont photochemical capacity and intracellular physicochemical parameters to better understand coral-algal symbioses. We also investigate the molecular events involved during coral bleaching and test different approaches to mitigate symbiont release.

Real-time imaging of AMPAr delivery to the cell surface
J Neurosci 2001 Oct. 10 

Live-cell imaging from porites polyp

Live Zooxanthellae (Red)
Epidermis (Green)