Personal History:I was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with Dr. Gail Robertson from 1993-1998. While there I characterized the molecular and biophysical properties of a voltage-gated ion channel (HERG) that plays a role in repolarization of the cardiac action potential. Mutations in this potassium channel gene are associated with an inherited cardiac arrhythmia (the Long QT syndrome). I was a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Bill Zagotta at the University of Washington and Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Seattle from 1998 to 2004. My work there focused on the molecular physiology of cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) ion channels and their role in an inherited form of vision loss (retinitis pigmentosa) and the mechanism of their modulation by Ca2+-calmodulin. I joined the Department of Physiology as an Assistant Professor in 2004.
Dr. Trudeau is the recipient of the 2014 Paul F. Cranefield Award from the Council of the Society of General Physiologists.
Ion channels are integral membrane proteins that control the electrical properties that underlie signaling in the nervous system. Ion channels respond to a wide variety of stimuli, including temperature, mechanical force, transmembrane voltage and chemical messengers. Upon activation, channels undergo conformational changes that control the passage of ions through the channel pore and across the cell membrane, which in turn controls membrane voltage and ultimately neuronal signaling. In this way, channels transduce local sensory and electrochemical input into the electrical signals used by the nervous system. Detailed understanding of the basic properties of ion channels, including the molecular rearrangements associated with channel opening and closing, the rearrangements resulting from the actions of modulatory factors and the steps controlling channel density at the cell surface are necessary to understand the electrical properties of cells. In addition, such understanding lends insight into how inherited defects in channel genes result in disease states. To these ends, my lab investigates the molecular specializations underlying ion channel function in potassium channels activated by voltage and cation channels activated by intracellular cyclic nucleotides. The lab employs a variety of techniques to explore these questions including molecular biology, biochemistry, electrophysiology and fluorescence-based imaging.
Research Images:Over picture: FRET spectroscopy measurement of protein interactions in hERG K+ channels.