The general theme of the research in my laboratory is the role of protein structure in disease, particularly in neurological disease. One area of study is the structure and function of the superfamily of neurotransmitter-gated ion channels that includes nicotinic acetylcholine, serotonin 5HT3, glycine, and GABAA receptors. Members of this superfamily are involved in drug addiction and alcoholism, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer disease and Parkinson disease, genetic forms of epilepsy, and neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and depression. We are developing new approaches to elucidating the molecular structures of these ion channels from animals and bacteria. Cyclic nucleotide gated channels (CNGCs) are a second area of study. We are interpreting their electrophysiological properties in terms of structure and thermodynamics. Hearing is a third area of study. We are using computational models of calcium and potassium ion channels and mechanotransduction to explain electrophysiological function of cochlear hair cells. Fourth, analysis of genomes and tissue-specific transcriptomes of electrogenic animals (e.g., electric fish) is expected reveal new aspects of lifecycles of ion channels. Explaining neurological diseases in terms of protein structure is a theme linking our neuroscience research with neuropathology, my medical specialty.
- University of Pennsylvania - (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States), Postdoctoral Training 1999
- Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania - (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States), Medical Residency 1991
- M.D. in Medicine, University of Chicago - (Chicago, Illinois, United States) 1989
- Ph.D. in Biophysics and Theoretical Biology, University of Chicago - (Chicago, Illinois, United States) 1987
- B.A. in Chemistry, Northwestern University - (Evanston, Illinois, United States) 1981
- Traeger, L. L., Sabat, G., Barrett-Wilt, G. A., Wells, G. B., & Sussman, M. R. (2017). A tail of two voltages: Proteomic comparison of the three electric organs of the electric eel. Science advances. 3(7), e1700523-e1700523.
- Traeger, L. L., Volkening, J. D., Moffett, H., Gallant, J. R., Chen, P., Novina, C. D., ... Samanta, M. P. (2015). Unique patterns of transcript and miRNA expression in the South American strong voltage electric eel (Electrophorus electricus). BMC GENOMICS. 16(1), 243.
- Gallant, J. R., Traeger, L. L., Volkening, J. D., Moffett, H., Chen, P., Novina, C. D., ... Sussman, M. R. (2014). Genomic basis for the convergent evolution of electric organs. Science (New York, N.Y.). 344(6191), 1522-1525.
- Amici, S. A., McKay, S. B., Wells, G. B., Robson, J. I., Nasir, M., Ponath, G., & Anand, R. (2012). A Highly Conserved Cytoplasmic Cysteine Residue in the α4 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor Is Palmitoylated and Regulates Protein Expression. JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY. 287(27), 23119-23127.
- Person, A. M., & Wells, G. B. (2011). Characterizing low affinity epibatidine binding to α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors with ligand depletion and nonspecific binding. BMC Biophysics. 4(1), 19.
- Lindstrom, J., Anand, R., Gerzanich, V., Peng, X., Wang, F., & Wells, G. (1996). Chapter 10 Structure and function of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. PROGRESS IN BRAIN RESEARCH. Klein, J., & Loffelholz, K. (Eds.), Cholinergic Mechanisms: from Molecular Biology to Clinical Significance. (pp. 125-137). Elsevier.
- Wells, G. B., Ricci, A. J., Shera, C. A., & Olson, E. S. (2011). Exploring the Role of Mechanotransduction Activation and Adaptation Kinetics in Hair Cell Filtering Using a Hodgkin-Huxley Approach. WORKSHOP ON DARK MATTER, UNIFICATION AND NEUTRINO PHYSICS (CETUP 2012). 1403, 70-75.
- Woch, G., Wells, G. B., Scott, S. P., Bartoli, K., & Tanaka, J. C. (2003). Investigating the rod and cone beta subunits of cyclic nucleotidegated (CNG) channels.. Biophys J. 84(2), 400A-400A.
- DIETHELM‐OKITA, B., WELLS, G., KURYATOV, A., OKITA, D., HOWARD, J., LINDSTROM, J., & CONTI‐FINE, B. M. (1998). Biosynthetic and Synthetic AChR Sequences to Study T Cells in Myasthenia Gravisa. TRENDS IN COMPARATIVE ENDOCRINOLOGY AND NEUROBIOLOGY. 841(1), 320-323.