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Biophysics of Neural Systems Study Section [BPNS]

The Biophysics of Neural Systems [BPNS] Study Section reviews applications on signal transduction in nerve, muscle, and other excitable cells, with the primary focus on the structure and function of the transducers themselves. This includes basic studies of subunit structure, molecular dynamics, gating and selectivity, and second-messenger cascades. This also includes basic biophysical studies of excitable membranes and their components, the biophysical integration of neural function, mathematical modeling, and computational studies. General approaches may include molecular and structural biology, pharmacology, biophysics, electrophysiology, protein chemistry, imaging and labeling techniques. Emphasis is on fundamental molecular mechanisms at the structural level, including those relevant to disease processes.



  • Signal transduction molecules in neurons, glia, muscle, and excitable cells; sensory transducers; neuromodulators; voltage-gated and ligand-gated ion channels; gap junctions and connexins.
  • Model systems; relevant in vivo, in vitro, tissue slice, and tissue culture studies; molecular function in transgenic cells, cell lines, oocytes, and other expression systems; artificial lipid bilayers.
  • Structure and function relationships in neural proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and their complexes; structural biology, including tomographic, crystallographic, spectroscopic, and imaging studies; three dimensional structural analysis, including subunit multimerization, neural protein folding and misfolding, assembly and aggregation, protein dynamics and protein-ligand interactions; molecular modeling; constructs altered through molecular genetic and chemical means.
  • Neural protein interactions; local physical interactions; regulation of function; kinetics; microdomains; biophysics of membrane interfaces.
  • Biophysical integration of neural function; quantitative modeling of neural function, such as synaptic integration and spike encoding; mathematical modeling at the cellular and molecular level; theoretical and computational approaches to neural membranes and proteins.
  • Voltage dependence, ligand-gating and ionic selectivity, including patch-clamp and whole cell electrophysiology studies; activation, inactivation, pharmacology, and related aspects of molecular regulation.
  • Coupling to second messenger pathways, including G-proteins and other enzymatic effectors; cyclic nucleotides and lipid metabolites, and Ca2+; relevant enzyme pathways [kinases, phosphatases, phospholipases].

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