Brain cells require all twenty amino acids to produce proteins. In addition many amino acids play specialist roles in the metabolism of neurons, for example in the production of neurotransmitters. This project aims to understand how the different amino acids are sequestered, produced or released by brain cells to support neuronal function.
The primary method cell use to regulate their amino acid profile is via plasma membrane amino acid transporters. This project will examine the function of the variety of amino acid transporters found in neuronal tissue. The techniques used will include electophysiological recordings from isolated brain tissue, fluorescent imaging of transported ions and amino acids in brain tissue, and/or mathematical modelling of the interactions between different transporter systems.