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 A student takes notes in her lab book while doing research on ion channels in cardiac muscle with Dr. Tamkun's lab

The Tamkun Laboratory


 Tamkun Lab Information


 Contact the Lab

​​Phone: (970) 491-3484

Location: W206 Anatomy/Zoology
Mailing Address:
1617 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523

​Ion channel regulation within neuronal and muscle membranes is an important determinant of electrical excitability in the nervous and cardiovascular systems, skeletal muscle, GI tract and uterus. In addition, ion channels are often drug targets since they control much of our physiology. Great progress has been made in ion channel molecular physiology over the past 20 years with the elucidation of structure-function relationships and the linking of gene mutations with human disease. However, the next challenge in ion channel research is to understand the regulation of cell surface expression. Thus, the Tamkun lab’s current efforts examine ion channel trafficking and cell surface localization mechanisms as well as the relationship between location and function. The lab uses confocal and TIRF-based live cell imaging to examine trafficking mechanisms and single channel diffusion.  Simultaneous imaging and voltage-clamp approaches are used to study channel activity as a function of cell surface location. We are currently working with fluorescent protein and epitope-tagged voltage-gated K+, Na+ and Ca2+ channels in addition to Trp channels. Given our recent discovery that non-conducting Kv2.1 channels form cell surface trafficking hubs for a variety of membrane proteins, the lab's interests are expanding into general cell biology. 


 Recent News


​In Dr. Michael Tamkun’s lab, even the smallest changes in molecular function enhance our understanding of neuro-protective response to stroke or epilepsy, and pave the way for more effective treatments in the future.

​​Ion channels – pore-forming proteins that are the basis for nerve activity and muscle contractions, among other physiological functions – also serve as important docking stations for other proteins that need help figuring out where to go, according to groundbreaking new research by a team of Colorado State University scientists.