Center for Biophysics and Quantitative Biology PhD candidate Shashank Pant was among seven graduate students named 2019 Beckman Institute Graduate Fellows. This program offers University of Illinois graduate students at the graudate level the opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary research at the institute.
In his research study, “Anionic Lipids Modulate Structure and Function of Epilepsy-causing Voltage-gated Potassium Channels,” Shashank combines the low-resolution, in vivo technique of electrophysiology with atomic-resolution computational techniques to study the role of specific lipid-protein interactions in modulating the structure and function of ion channels. This study will shed light on how lipid-protein interactions can affect neuronal excitability, serving as a pathogenic mechanism underlying epileptic encephalopathy. It is envisioned that this study will provide a spatial and dynamically high-resolution description of the role of lipids in modulating structure and function of ion channels and its implication on epilepsy.
Shashank will be working on this project with Hee Jung Chung, Associate Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, and his advisor professor Emad Tajkhorshid of the Department of Biochemistry.