By Tamer Gamal El-Din, Assistant Professor, University of Washington

Ion channels are trans-membrane proteins whose main function is the transport of ions from the inside of biological cell to the outside and vice versa. There are many types of ion channels classified by the nature of their gating or by the species of the transmitted ions. I’ll start by talking about ion channels in general and how they gate open, followed by focusing on voltage-gated ion channels and how they are selective to specific ions. How they shape the action potential which is the basis of neural coding. The drug interaction with voltage-gated ion channels will be discussed and showing how can we use recent advances of our understanding of ion channels to design smart drugs.