Led by principal investigator Robert Gourdie, Ph.D., the Gourdie Lab studies subunit proteins called connexins, located in gap junctions. Connexins are the channels that enable direct communication between cells.
Projects in the laboratory include:
- Research on connexins in cardiac electrical excitation spread, including new ideas on how conduction of electrical impulses in the heart occurs via an ephaptic mechanisms.
- Studies of how connexin hemichannels are involved in determining injury severity following heart attack, stroke and traumatic brain injury.
- Drug discovery: development and testing of new compounds targeting connexin channels for use in diseases of the heart and brain, wound healing, and cancer.
- Research on how connexins are involved in the development of drug resistance by glioblastoma brain cancer patients being by treated anti-cancer drugs.
- Studies on preventing excessive scarring in breast cancer survivors undergoing breast reconstruction following mastectomy.
The Gourdie Lab has a number patents granted and patents pending on drugs developed by the laboratory, which include student inventors. One of the drugs developed in the Gourdie Lab has been licensed to a biotech company and completed Phase II clinical testing involving more than 250 patients, halving the healing time of venous leg ulcers and diabetic foot ulcers. The FDA recently approved pivotal Phase III clinical trials.