Disturbed intracellular calcium homeostasis is the hallmark of numerous cardiovascular diseases. The primary area of interest of the Ottolia laboratory is to understand how cytosolic calcium is regulated in cardiac cells. We focus on the role of the plasma membrane sodium-calcium exchanger (NCX) which constitutes the main calcium extrusion mechanism in the heart and alterations in its activity have been associated with ischemia reperfusion injury, arrhythmia and heart failure.
The implications of normal and aberrant NCX activity on cardiac function are investigated using a variety of approaches spanning from protein biophysics and single cell electrophysiology to organ and whole animal studies in genetically modified mouse lines.
The long-term objective of these studies is to understand the critical mechanisms and functional implications of calcium extrusion in cardiac cells, and to leverage our investigations of NCX and its modulation to control and suppress cardiac arrhythmias.