Robert Gourdie, a professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, was invited to speak at the 60th anniversary celebration of the Institute of Physiology of the Czech Academy of Sciences. His lecture, titled, “Multiple Roles of Connexins in Biology and Medicine,” will take place on October 13 in Prague.

Gourdie, who is also the director of the Center for Heart and Regenerative Medicine Research at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, studies the role of connexin proteins in electrical conduction in the heart. His research on how cardiac cells communicate led to the development of ACT1, a compound that halves the healing time of skin wounds. ACT1 operates by preventing a protein called connexin 43 from binding to another protein, buying time for the damaged tissue to repair itself.