Manu Ben Johny, PhD

Manu Ben Johny, PhD

Research Interest

My research interest lies at the intersection of quantitative physiology and molecular biophysics with the goal of employing engineering principles to study and manipulate ion channel signaling complexes that are critical to neurological and cardiovascular function. Specifically, we seek to (1) elucidate the sophisticated spatiotemporal feedback regulatory mechanisms by which cytosolic signaling molecules and second messengers (e.g. Ca2+ ions) tune voltage-gated sodium (Na) and calcium (Ca) channels, (2) exploit such in depth understanding with emerging protein engineering methods to devise a next-generation optogenetic and synthetic modulatory toolkit that precisely tunes Na and Ca channel function, and (3) exploit these tools to both delineate the role of these channels in normal physiology and to clarify how channel misregulation underlies complex human diseases such as cardiac arrhythmias and neurological disorders. To do so, we utilize a variety of methods including state-of-the-art fluorescence microscopy, photouncaging, low-noise single channel and whole-cell electrophysiology, quantitative modeling, and molecular simulations. 

Ben-Johny, M., Yue, D.N., and Yue, D.T. (2016) Determining the stoichiometry of macromolecular complexes in live-cells. Nature Communications 7:13709.

Ben-Johny, M.,Yang, P.S., Niu, J., Yang, W., Joshi-Mukherjee, R., and Yue, D.T. (2014). Conservation of Ca2+/calmodulin regulation across Na and Ca2+ channels. Cell 157:1657-1670.

Ben-Johny, M., and Yue, D.T. (2014). Calmodulin regulation (calmodulation) of voltage-gated calcium channels. Journal of General Physiology 143:679-692.