Researcher

Dr Trevor Lewis

My Expertise

Structure and Function of Ion Channels, Ligand Gated Ion Channels, Patch Clamp Electrophysiology, Homology Modelling

Field of Research (FoR)

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Biography

Dr. Trevor Lewis is a senior lecturer in Physiology within the School of Medical Sciences. He teaches across the science, medical science and medicine programs in physiology and neuroscience. His research explores the relationship between structure and function in ligand-gated ion channels and more broadly the processes underlying cellular excitability. This is investigated with the application of patch clamp electrophysiology to record...view more

Dr. Trevor Lewis is a senior lecturer in Physiology within the School of Medical Sciences. He teaches across the science, medical science and medicine programs in physiology and neuroscience. His research explores the relationship between structure and function in ligand-gated ion channels and more broadly the processes underlying cellular excitability. This is investigated with the application of patch clamp electrophysiology to record whole-cell and single channel responses, and imaging techniques for localisation of ion channels. Previous research has contributed to understanding of the molecular events leading to the opening of ligand-gated ion channels (channel gating), through the investigation of disease mutations in human glycine receptors, and the understanding ligand interactions at neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. The current focus is on novel mechanisms for activating ligand-gated ion channels at interfaces between channel subunits not typically involved in ligand binding.


My Qualifications

PhD (Physiology), Adelaide
Cert.Sci.Comm., ANU
BSc (Hons I), Adelaide


My Awards

2015 UNSW Vice Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence - Outstanding contributions to student learning.

2018 School of Medical Science Teaching Award - Outstanding contributions t the student experience.


My Research Activities

Ligand-gated ion channels are one of the fundamental building blocks for a functioning nervous system. They are responsible for the fast transmission of signals between nerve cells at specialised junctions called synapses. Research is undertaken on the human glycine receptor as a model system of ligand-gated channels in general. The overall aim is to relate the functional characteristics of the glycine receptor to what is know about its protein structure. Two strands are currently being investigated. The first is the conformational changes that follow ligand binding to allow the ion channel pore to open. This is investigating changes that occur at the interface between the transmembrane domain and the extracellular domain of the receptor, and at the inter-subunit interfaces. The second strand is the relationship between the structure of the ion channel pore and what characteristics determine ion selectivity.

Collaborative projects are also being undertaken with Prof Mary Collins and Dr Nathan Absalom (Pharmacy, University of Sydney) to characterise the binding site and actions of novel ligands at neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.

Broad Research Areas:
Physiology, Neuroscience

Specific Research Keywords:
Structure and Function of Ion Channels, Ligand Gated Ion Channels, Patch Clamp Electrophysiology, Homology Modelling

Memberships
Australian Physiological Society
Australian Society for Biophysics
Society for Neuroscience
Australian Society for Medical Research


My Research Supervision


Supervision keywords


Areas of supervision

Honours, Masters, PhD

Posgraduate projects are available in the areas of structure-function studies of ligand-gated ion channels, incorporating molecular modelling of channels, and the interaction with novel ligands that modulate channel function.


My Teaching

2015 UNSW Vice Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence - Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning

MFAC1521 Beginnings, Growth and Development B, co-convenor
NEUR3121 Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, convenor
PHAR3102 Molecular Pharmacology
Endocrine physiology components of MFAC1521/MFAC1522 Beginnings, Growth and Development, PHSL2201/PHSL2221/PHSL2502 Physiology 1B

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Location

Office: Wallace Wurth room 302
Lab: Wallace Wurth room 312

Map reference (Google map)

Contact

+61 2 9385 1102

Research Activities

This project seeks to provide insights into new mechanisms that could be used to enhance or inhibit neuronal signalling. The family of pentameric neurotransmitter receptors that are key components in the process of neuronal signalling and are the target of this study. It will investigate the molecular motions that occur when the receptor shifts from the resting state to the activated state in the presence of neurotransmitter. This critical to understanding the normal function of these receptors in the brain and how they can be modulated.

Each pentameric neurotransmitter receptor (or…