Postdoc Andrew Shepherd researches factors affecting cell life and death

Shepherd - featured in Grad Educ in Iowa Spr 2013

Postdoctoral fellow Andrew Shepherd was featured in the Spring 2013 issue of Graduate Education at Iowa. The article entitled “Live or Die” discusses the importance of the potassium channel Kv2.1 in the health of cells. The article also chronicles Dr. Shepherd’s academic journal.

A research as something special on the path together, a lot of basic research like ours must happen first,” says Shepherd, a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Pharmacology in the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine. “I consider our lab fortunate that we were able to take these existing ideas and observations and fit them into a clinically relevant context. That’s the single most exciting aspect about basic research to me.”

Shepherd’s most recent research endeavor involved uncovering a mechanism underlying the regulation of neuronal excitability, survival, and death—processes central to such diseases as epilepsy, neuro-HIV, and stroke. In a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience in December, Shepherd and his colleagues examined the release of a cell-signaling protein molecule, an inflammatory mediator called SDF-1alpha. Certain disease states prompt an abnormal release of SDF-1alpha molecules, which send signals telling cells to open the flood gates that control aspects of cellular voltage flow.

The full article is available at: