...to the Membrane Transport Physiology Laboratory, located in the Department of Anatomy and Physiology, Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
We are interested in how solutes and water move across the membranes that surround many kinds of cells, and particularly those that organize as epithelia.
What are epithelia?
Epithelia are specialized tissues composed of polarized cells that are joined by junctional complexes. Many line tubular structures that function as barriers (think of the lining of the airways) and can also negotiate the exchange of substances between the outside world and the internal milieu (like the intestines). Others, like the follicles forming the thyroid gland, produce and store hormones. Still others function as glial tissues (retinal pigment epithelium) or serve directly in sensation (olfactory epithelium). Regulation of whole animal fluid and electrolyte balance depends on function of an organized, complex collection of epithelial tubules within the kidneys. We can learn much about epithelia by interrogating how they secrete and absorb substances, using functional readouts of transport. Our Lab strives to understand the structure and function of the specialized proteins that subserve transport, as well as how they organize and behave within the cellular environment.
Banner: Thyroid follicular epithelial cells can be cultured to organize as both confluent monolayers and as cysts. Plane of focus is at the level of the monolayer; a single, detached cyst floats above and out of focus.