Pain, epilepsy, hearing, breathing and learning all require ion channels. The Neuroscience Graduate Program provides a strong collaborative environment for students to explore the role of ion channels in these key functions of the human mind. A general goal of our research is to identify the genes and proteins necessary for normal function and to understand why mutations in those genes cause dysfunction. Our general strategy is to use molecular and genetic techniques to manipulate gene and protein activity and electrophysiology to assay altered ion channel function. The combined approach has proven extremely powerful and has shed new light on the role of Ca2+ and Na+ channels in pain and epilepsy, GABAA receptors in epilepsy, K+ channels in hearing and breathing, mechanosensitive channels in hearing, and glutamate receptors in learning.