Department of Molecular Biophysics & Physiology

Dr. Thomas Shannon is a member of the Section of Cellular Signaling. He is interested in ionic channels, voltage gated ionic channels, fluorescence signal detection and electrophysiology, particularly as they relate to excitation-contraction coupling in striated muscle. Dr. Shannon uses multiple biochemical and biophysical approaches to study the control of the load of calcium in the storage organelle (the sarcoplasmic reticulum) of normal and abnormal cells of the heart. He has demonstrated on beating heart cells that the load in the normal sarcoplasmic reticulum is released partially to the cytosol in the process of a heart beat. Quantitative determination of these released fractions will allow him to understand the mutual interactions of Ca load and Ca release, and thus the control of contractile force, an important determinant of cardiac ejection (blood flow) in health and disease. For instance, Dr. Shannon has also demonstrated that the SR Ca load is reduced during heart failure and his research suggests that this reduction may be a critical factor in causing reduced cardiac contraction in this condition. Ongoing experiments are aimed at determining what causes this reduced SR Ca load.

Shannon, T.R., Ginsburg, K. S. Bers, D.M. (2002) Quatitative Assessment of the SR Ca Leak-Load Relationship. Circ. Res. 91:594-600.

Shannon, T.R., Guo, T., Bers, D.M. (2003) Ca2+ Scraps: Local Depletions of Free [Ca2+] in Cardiac Sarcoplasmic Reticulum during Contractions Leave Substantial Ca2+ Reserve. Circ. Res. 93:40-5.

Shannon, T.R., Pogwizd, S. M., Bers, D.M. (2003) Elevated Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Ca Leak in Intact Ventricular Myocytes from Rabbits in Heart Failure. Circ. Res. (2003, in press).

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