Research Topics / Calcium channels
   
Calcium channels control numerous vital cell functions such as neurotransmission, hormone secretion and muscle contraction. Cytoplasmic calcium signals regulate multiple cellular processes ranging from gene transcription to apoptosis. Accordingly aberrant calcium signaling causes disease and voltage-gated calcium channels are important targets for drugs used in the therapy of cardiovascular and neuronal disorders.

Calcium signaling research in Innsbruck
With several groups in three different Departments studying voltage-gated calcium channels, Innsbruck is one of the top European centers of calcium channel research. State-of-the-art biophysical and eletrophysiological techniques are combined with molecular genetics and high-resolution imaging approaches to study the functions of calcium channels in brain, skeletal and heart muscle and in endocrine cells. Moreover, the role of calcium signals in cell death in ischemic heart and kidney and in neurodegenerative diseases are studied within the MCBO consortium.

   
Teams


   
PhD training in MCBO

To the curriculum of MCBO doctoral program the members of the calcium channel signaling groups contribute lectures on excitation-secretion and excitation-contraction coupling and on calcium signaling as well as several hands-on laboratory courses on patch-clamp, fluorescent-calcium recording and imaging methods.

Research highlights:
In 2011 the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) established the special research network (SFB-F44, speaker: Jörg Striessnig) on Cell Signaling in Chronic CNS Disorders which focuses on the role of calcium channels and epigenetic mechanisms in neurodegenerative disorders.

Activities:
In May 2012 the MCBO faculty members Jörg Striessnig and Bernhard Flucher organized the first European Calcium Channel Conference in Alpbach Tirol. MCBO students and faculty had the opportunity to listen to and discuss their research projects with the leading scientists in the calcium channel field.

In October 2011 the MCBO calcium channel groups organized the second joint meeting with our partner PhD program on Calcium signaling and cellular nanodomains at the University of Saarland, in Homburg/Saar, Germany.

   
Projects