Norbert Weiss

Ion Channels

Research in the Weiss lab is directed toward understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying human diseases caused by dysfunction of ion channels, and more particularly calcium channels. Calcium is Mother Nature’s "ion-of-choice" for orchestrating fundamental cellular functions, as it contribute to neuronal excitability, muscle contraction, gene transcription, and a plethora of other key processes contributing to the normal physiology of the body. Calcium channels, which act as gated pathways for the movement of Ca2+ across the cell membranes, play a central part in the initiation of the Ca2+ signals, and defects in Ca2+ channel function have dramatic consequences resulting in sever human diseases, so-called channelopathies.


Channelopathies are a heterogeneous group of disorders resulting from the dysfunction of ion channels located in the membranes of all cells and many cellular organelles. These include diseases of the nervous system, the cardiovascular system , the respiratory system, the endocrine system, the urinary system, and the immune system. There are two types of channelopathies: congenital and acquired. Congenital conditions are genetic in nature and can be inherited or the result of spontaneous mutations. Acquired conditions occur usually later in life and are the result of alteration of ion channels functions caused by aging, drugs, toxins and other cellular environment.