Dr. Yoni Haitin

Our lab is interested in the effects anion channels have of the activity of immune cells. Ion channels are membrane-embedded molecular machines that enable cells to communicate with the extracellular world. In the immune system, microglial cells, the macrophages of the brain, express a variety of ion channels, which ignite and mediate cellular responses. However, microglial activation can be a double-edged sword, exacerbating acute brain pathologies including stroke, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Our research focuses on how anion selective channels, one of the least understood families of ion channels, contribute to the activation of the immune response. Using a combined multifaceted approach, which includes structural, electrophysiological and fluorescent techniques, we decipher the molecular mechanisms governing the activity and regulation of anion channels, and explore how they contribute to normal and pathophysiological microglial function.

The unique resources found in this I-CORE are essential for our inherently multidisciplinary research. Collaborations with experts in structural biology (Diskin, Fass, Landau, Nelson, Sussman groups and the Israel Structural Proteomics Center), electron microscopy (Minsky group), real-time multidimensional NMR (Frydman group), quantitative proteomics (Admon group), and molecular modeling of protein folding and assembly (Ben-Tal, Fleishman, Wolfson and Schreiber groups), will greatly enhance our understanding of the diverse roles ion channels play in the immune system, and enable novel insights into their emerging non-conducting functions.

Names of your PhD and Post-Doctoral students in your lab: To Be determined