My research interests focus on the role of individual ions (especially calcium) as second messengers in the regulation of a variety of cellular processes relevant to cardiovascular function. Active research projects include: (1) the investigation of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of excitation-contraction-relaxation coupling in normal cardiac cells and multicellular preparations (i.e. trabeculae) obtained from animal and human hearts, (2) the study of the cellular mechanisms responsible for the systolic and diastolic abnormalities of contraction characteristic of hypertensive heart disease (cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure) in single cells and traveculae obtained from anim al models of contractile dysfunction and failing human hearts, (3) the investigation of the biophysical properties and physiological function of a newly described calcium-permeable soldium channel in cardiac muscle. Experimental techniques include: (1) the patch clamp technique (whole-cell & single channel variations), (2) epifluorescence microscopy with ion-selective fluorescent indicator (indo-1 & fura-2), (3) flash photolysis of "caged" compounds, (4) laser scanning confocal microscopy (single & two photon), and (5) mathematical modeling.
Shorofsky, S.R., Izu, L., Wier, W.G. and Balke, C.W. (1998) Ca2+ sparks triggered by patch distribution in rat heart cells. Circulation Research 82, 424-429.
Izu, L., Wier, W.G. and Balke, C.W. (1998) Theoretical analysis of the Ca2+ spark amplitude distribution. Biophysical Journal 75, 1114-1162.