We pursue biochemical and pharmacological studies aimed at understanding the fundamental structure-function relationship of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). We also study the molecular basis for the highly specific recognition of muscle-type nAChRs by certain snake venom-derived toxins classified as alpha-neurotoxins. More recently, we have used homologous recombination techniques to construct a knock-in mouse in which the alpha3 gene encoding one subtype of neuronal nAChRs has been minimally mutated to impart pharmacological sensitivity to the classic nicotinic antagonist, alpha-bungarotoxin. These mice should enable a systematic determination of the role of alpha3-containing nAChRs in behavior and nervous system function.
I received my Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Harvard and then moved from Gene Kennedy's lab in Biological Chemistry to the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School as a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellow working with Paul Patterson. Subsequently, after ten years on the faculty in the Department of Pharmacology at Yale University School of Medicine, I relocated to Brown University in 1990 initially as Chair of the Section of Molecular Pharmacology in the Division of Biology and Medicine. As a past Established Investigator of the American Heart Association and Upjohn Professor of Pharmacology, my research interests include the understanding of the structure and function of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors and of the neurotoxins that target these important receptors.
EDWARD HAWROT, Ph.D., Harvard University, 1976
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