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Proposal for a short-term visit by Dr. Edward G. Rowan to Brazil

Grant number: 14/06385-4
Support type:Research Grants - Visiting Researcher Grant - International
Duration: June 01, 2015 - August 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Pharmacology
Principal Investigator:Lea Rodrigues Simioni
Grantee:Lea Rodrigues Simioni
Visiting researcher: Edward G. Rowan
Visiting researcher institution: University of Strathclyde, Scotland
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Médicas (FCM). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil

Abstract

The Neuromuscular Junction Laboratory (NJL) of the Department of Pharmacology of the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) has been investigating the neuromuscular actions of animal venoms (principally snake venoms and their neurotoxins and myotoxins) for over 25 years, with over 70 publications in peer-reviewed journals during this period. The NJL (~50 m2) has the basic infrastructure required for myographic and electrophysiological studies in skeletal muscle and nerve terminals using primarily avian and mammalian preparations in vitro. Recently, we have acquired a newer electrophysiological setup, being part of the financial resources from FAPESP, which is suitable for monitoring a variety of intra- and extracellular potentials (membrane potentials, end-plate potentials, mepps, compound action potentials from nerve and muscle, and perineural waveforms). Spontaneous and evoked currents can also be measured using the loose patch clamp, current/voltage clamp or patch clamp modes. In view of Dr. Rowan’s experience in the electrophysiology of animal toxins and our recent acquisition of a comprehensive system for measuring biopotentials, a visit by Dr. Rowan to our laboratory would be of considerable assistance in implementing and optimizing this system as we have encountered a series of difficulties in getting this setup to work. Our collaboration with Dr. Edward G. Rowan started in 2003 when a PhD student from our laboratory (Dr. Chariston André Dal Belo, currently a lecturer at the Universidade Federal do Pampa - Unipampa in Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul state, southern Brazil) did part of his doctoral training in Dr. Rowan´s laboratory at the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. The results of this work were published in Toxicon (Belo CA et al., 2005, Toxicon 46, 736-750). More recently (2013), another PhD student from this laboratory, Rafael Stuani Floriano, also undertook part of his doctorate in Dr. Rowan’s laboratory. In response to an invitation by Dr. Rowan, Mr. Floriano intends to return to Dr. Rowan’s laboratory for part of his post-doctoral training in 2015. In view of this ongoing collaboration and the common interests shared by our laboratories, we believe that a visit by Dr. Rowan to our institution would be very helpful in strengthening our ties and in providing Dr. Rowan with an opportunity to meet other Brazilian researchers involved in studying the neuromuscular actions of animal venoms. As indicated above, our laboratory has an established history of investigation into the cellular, biochemical and molecular mechanisms of the neuromuscular action of animal venoms and toxins. In view of this interest, it is our expectation that Dr. Rowan’s visit will be very useful in expanding our research options in electrophysiology, particularly considering his expertise in this field, especially in patch clamp techniques. Specifically, it is hoped that his visit will: (a) allow us to get our patch clamp system functioning, (b) provide basic electrophysiological training for members (students and staff) in our Department, (c) result in manuscripts for publication, and (d) stimulate post-graduate students to pursue electrophysiological studies in toxinology and molecular neurobiology. Finally, Dr. Rowan’s visit should be useful to him in establishing collaborations with other Brazilian researchers in this field of toxinology. This is particularly important in view of the increasing interest of Brazilian institutions in internationalization, not only in relation to undergraduate and post-graduate student exchanges, but also in establishing research collaborations with foreign institutions. (AU)