Roles of Potassium Channels in Regulating Both Vascular and Uterine Smooth Muscle Excitability

Regulation of BK Channels in Smooth Muscle

  • Determining how intrinsic properties of BK alter its association with modulatory proteins
  • Defining the dynamics of BK binding to modulatory proteins in the myometrium during pregnancy
  • Determining how these modulatory proteins alter channel function and myometrial excitability

Role of Na+ Channels in Modulating Uterine Function

  • Determining the mechanism by which NALCN becomes sensitive to agents that induce contraction in human myometrial smooth muscle cells
  • Determining the mechanism by which NALCN localizes to the myometrial smooth muscle plasma membrane to modulate uterine excitability

Sensitivity to Oxytocin During Labor

  • Identifying genetic variants in the oxytocin receptor that correlate with oxytocin responsiveness
  • Determining the functional consequence of genetic variants in the oxytocin receptor gene

Chronodisruption as a Risk for Preterm Birth

  • Do endogenous circadian rhythms change during pregnancy?
  • Does disruption in circadian rhythms cause preterm birth?
  • How do peripheral oscillators (“clocks”) in reproductive tissues affect the timing of birth?
  • Does fetal circadian genotype affect the risk for preterm birth, and does discordance between maternal and fetal circadian rhythms increase risk for preterm birth?