© Schwab

Topics of research

We are investigating the roles ion channels and ion transporters play in tumor and immune cells. In particular, we focus on Ca2+ sensitive K+ channels, TRP channels, and the Na+/H+ exchanger. The key question addressed by our research is: How do these ion transport proteins contribute to tumor progression or inflammation? To this end we apply predominantly imaging techniques such as time-lapse videomicroscopy, live-cell fluorescence microscopy, TIRF microscopy, ionic imaging and atomic force microscopy.

ChemBIon project description

KCa3.1 channels in tumour pathophysiology
KCa3.1 channels belong to the family of Ca2+-sensitive K+ channels. Their pharmacological properties are well characterised so that several KCa3.1 channel modulators with nanomolar affinities are available. They can serve as tool compounds for the development of imaging probes selectively labelling KCa3.1 channels. KCa3.1 channels are involved in a variety of (patho-)physiological functions. Thus, they are important players in cancer (stroma) cells. Their altered expression in tumours is closely linked to the aggressiveness of the disease. This is at least in part due to the fact that KCa3.1 channels are important regulators of the aggressive cancer cell behaviour (e.g. migration / chemotaxis, proliferation / apoptosis) and because they are involved in the metastatic spread. Accordingly, the targeting of KCa3.1 channels in tumour therapy is now being evaluated as a novel strategy to overcome the development of therapy resistance. These efforts are supported by molecular modelling approaches to develop further specific channel modulators. In addition, imaging probes derived from these modulators will allow the analysis of the localisation and density of KCa3.1 channels in tumour cells with a view to monitoring disease progression.

  • Curriculum vitae

    After studying medicine in Würzburg I obtained my postdoctoral training at the universities of New Haven (Yale University), Würzburg and Nashville (Vanderbilt University).

    In 2003 I became professor at the Institute of Physiology II in Münster.