Christopher J. Benson, MD


Associate Professor of Internal Medicine  - Cardiovascular Medicine
Associate Professor of Pharmacology

Contact Information

Office: E315 GH
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-356-4991

Web: Internal Medicine


MD, Medicine, University of Minnesota School of Medicine

Residency, Internal Medicine, University of Minnesota
Fellowship, Cardiovascular Medicine , Oregon Health Sciences University

Licensure and Certifications

Medical License, Iowa Board of Medicine
Certification, Cardiovascular Disease, American Board of Internal Medicine
Certification, American Board of Internal Medicine

Education/Training Program Affiliations

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience
Medical Scientist Training Program

Research Summary

Dr. Benson's research interests include the study of ion channels involved in sensation. We have focused on a class of ion channels called Acid-sensing Ion Channels (ASICs), which play a role in responses to nociceptive, taste, and mechanical stimuli. We have discovered that ASICs are highly expressed in cardiac sensory neurons and we believe they are particularly important as pH sensors in the setting of myocardial ischemia. In addition, we are interested in how cardiac afferent activation might trigger deleterious neural reflexes in cardiac disease states. Our lab is also interested on the general physiology of ASIC channels, and has discovered several proteins and signaling pathways that modulate ASIC function. Our research methods utilize electrophysiology, whole animal recordings, molecular and cell biology, and protein biochemistry techniques.

Selected Publications

Show All

Kusama N, Gautam M, Harding A, Snyder P, Benson C.  Acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) are differentially modulated by anions dependent on their subunit composition.  Am J Physiol Cell Physiol.  2013 January 1. 304(1):C89-C101.

Collier D, Peterson Z, Blokhin I, Benson C, Snyder P.  Identification of extracellular domain residues required for epithelial Na+ channel activation by acidic pH.  J Biol Chem.  2012 November 30. 287(49):40907-40914.

Excoffon K, Kolawole A, Kusama N, Gansemer N, Sharma P, Hruska-Hageman A, Petroff e, Benson C.  Coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor (CAR) mediates trafficking of acid sensing ion channel 3 (ASIC3) via PSD-95.  Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun.  2012 August 17. 425(1):13-18.

Gautam M, Benson C.  Acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) in mouse skeletal muscle afferents are heteromers composed of ASIC1a, ASIC2, and ASIC3 subunits.  FASEB J .  2012 February. 27(2):793-802.

Gautam M, Benson C, Ranier J, Light A, Sluka K.  ASICs do not play a role in maintaining hyperalgesia induced by repeated intramuscular acid injections.  Pain Res. Treat.  2012. 2012:817347.

Kang S, Jang J, Price M, Gautam M, Benson C, Gong H, Welsh M, Brennan T.  Simultaneous disruption of mouse ASIC1a, ASIC2 and ASIC3 genes enhances cutaneous mechanosensitivity.  PLoS One.  2012. 7(4):e35225.

Walder R, Gautam M, Wilson S, Benson C, Sluka K.  Selective targeting of ASIC3 using artifical miRNAs inhibits primary and secondary hyperalgesia after muscle inflammation..  Pain.  2011 October. 152(10):2348-2356.

Gautam M, Benson C, Sluka K.  Increased response of muscle sensory neurons to decreases in pH after muscle inflammation..  Neuroscience.  2010 October 27. 170(3):893-900.

Kusama N, Harding A, Benson C.  Extracellular chloride modulates the desensitization kinetics of acid-sensing ion channel 1a (ASIC1a)..  J Biol Chem.  2010 June 4. 285(23):17425-17431.

Lu Y, Ma X, Sabharwal R, Snitsarev V, Morgan D, Rahmouni K, Drummond H, Whiteis C, Costa V, Price M, Benson C, Welsh M, Chapleau M, Abboud F.  The ion channel ASIC2 is required for baroreceptor and autonomic control of the circulation. .  Neuron.  2009 December 24. 64(6):885-897.

Date Last Modified: 10/09/2015 - 15:23:31