Research in Dr. Abbott’s lab is focused on elucidating the molecular basis for ion channel and transporter physiology and pathophysiology. One of the main directions of the lab is understanding the molecular basis for our recent discovery that some neurotransmitters can directly activate voltage-gated potassium channels. Another current emphasis is investigating the molecular basis of action of botanical folk medicines, arising from our recent findings that KCNQ potassium channels are an important target for plant metabolites. The Abbott lab also continues to uncover the roles of the KCNQ and KCNE families of ion channel subunits, using a combination of techniques including mouse and human genetics, electrophysiology, pharmacology, and state-of-the-art imaging modalities. A further area of focus is studying the physiological roles of recently discovered macromolecular complexes comprising KCNQ family Kv alpha subunits and sodium-coupled solute transporters. Abnormal functioning of ion channels causes many different disorders, including cardiac arrhythmia, diabetes, epilepsy, myotonia and periodic paralysis. Dr. Abbott’s lab uses a multidisciplinary approach aimed at understanding the molecular bases for these “channelopathies” and also how these proteins function normally to enable the complex signaling and cellular processes required by living organisms.