Huanghe Yang, PhD, PI
The hydrophobic core of the membrane lipid bilayer generates a huge energy barrier to hamper the free diffusion of charged molecules across the cell membranes, thereby isolating the cells from their external environment and creating different subcellular compartments. To circumvent this diffusion barrier, cells have evolved a large variety of membrane proteins (such as ion channels, ion transporters and lipid translocases) that catalyze movements of ions across cell membranes and translocations of phospholipids from one leaflet of the lipid bilayer to another leaflet.
Our laboratory is interested in understanding molecular basis of ion and lipid transport across cell membranes and their impacts on health and disease. We aim to provide insights and ultimately therapeutics to prevent and treat related disease. Our current focus is the newly discovered TMEM16 protein family, members of which include the calcium-activated ion channels and calcium-activated lipid scramblases.