Optimization of novel drugs to treat cardiac arrhythmias
This project aims to validate and optimize drugs to treat heart rhythm disorders. The heart is a complex organ that uses tiny electrical signals to maintain a healthy rhythm. When these electrical signals are disturbed, it can change the regular rhythm, which can result in life-threatening consequences such as sudden cardiac death. Here, I will visualize one of the components of the heart that is responsible for the electrical signals, a specialized protein known as the sodium channel. I will look at the three-dimensional structure of this component both with and without drugs bound to it. This will tell us how exactly these drugs affect the function of the sodium channel, and also allows us to predict the drugs that can bind better and that are less likely to have side effects. I will then test such improved drugs through various biochemical assays.