University of Wisconsin–Madison

Baron Chanda, Phd

Associate Professor, Neuroscience


9457 WIMR
1111 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI

Lab Website
Chanda Lab

Baron Chanda

Research Interests

The objective of my research is to understand how structure and dynamics determine the function of the voltage-dependent ion channels. In response to a change in membrane potential, voltage-dependent ion channels undergo a series of conformational changes culminating in the opening or closing of the channel. We use a variety of biophysical methods to track the structural changes that of these processes. Electrophysiological methods like ionic and “gating” current measurements provide information about the global structural changes. Site-specific fluorescence recordings and cysteine accessibility methods, on the other hand, provide information about the local structural changes in the protein. These methods complement one another and together they provide a detailed physical model of the workings of an ion channel.

We are currently focusing on understanding how the voltage-dependent gating behavior of sodium channels is modified by gating-modifier toxins and local anesthetics. Sodium channel malfunction has been associated with disease conditions like cardiac arrhythmias and epilepsies.

Local anesthetics alleviate these disease states by reducing electrical excitability of the sodium channels. We are using voltage-clamp fluorimetry to map the structural changes in the sodium channels induced by local anesthetics. These studies are expected to provide fundamental insights into the physical mechanisms of gating and modulation of the Na+ channel.

Another area of interest in the lab is to understand how temperature modulates voltage-dependent gating of TRP ion channels. Some members of the TRP family respond acutely either to a heat or to a cold stimulus. Recently, it has been shown that these channels are also voltage-dependent and that temperature affects their voltage-dependent gating. We are interested in understanding the biophysical principles that govern temperature dependent gating of these channels using both time-resolved spectroscopic as well as electrophysiological approaches.

Honors & Awards

  • Shaw Scientist Award – 2008 (description)
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship by American Heart Association
  • Scientist Development Award by American Heart Association

Selected Publications

(Find further publications on PubMed)

  • Oelstrom K.M., Goldschen-Ohm, M.P., Holmgren, M., and Chanda, B. (2014) Evolutionarily conserved intracellular gate of voltage-gated sodium channels. Nature Communications5:3420. doi:10.1038/ncomms4420.
  • Chowdhury, S., Jarecki, B.W., and Chanda, B. (2014) A molecular framework for temperature-dependent gating of ion channels. Cell 158, 1148-1158. (Highlighted in “Building a temperature-sensitive ion channel” by Ming-Feng Tsai and Christopher Miller, (ibid. Pgs. 977-979). A video abstract was featured as PaperFlick in the online issue.)
  • Chowdhury, S., Haehnal, B.M., and Chanda, B. (2014) A self-consistent approach for determining pairwise interactions that underlie channel activation. Journal of General Physiology 144: 441-455.
  • Chowdhury, S., Haehnal, B.M., and Chanda, B. (2014) Interfacial gating triad is crucial for electromechanical transduction in voltage-activated potassium channels. Journal of General Physiology 144:457-467.
  • Goldschen-Ohm, M.P., and Chanda, B.  (2015) How to open a proton pore-more than S4? Nature Structural and Molecular Biology 22(4): 277-8.