T: 0141 331 8513
Dr Helene Widmer obtained her PhD in Biology at the University of Geneva in Switzerland working on the regulation of O2 metabolism in Invertebrate light-sensitive cells under the guidance of Dr. M Tsacopoulos and Dr. JA Coles. After completing her PhD, she successively took positions in various laboratories at the University of Montpellier, France, and UMASS Medical School in New England, USA, in pursuit of her interests in the understanding of the role of receptors to neurotransmitter and ion channels in shaping functional properties of native neurones. To understand the contribution of gene expression in the properties of individual neurones, she undertook a gene cloning project at the laboratory of Prof C. Barberis in Montpellier before joining the team of Prof M. Shipston at the University of Edinburgh where she investigated the role of BK channels splice variants in the cerebellum before moving to Dr. S. Cobb’s laboratory at the University of Glasgow, where she studied the role of muscarinic receptor subtypes in the regulation of cholinergic innervation in the hippocampus. She has various ongoing collaborations that have led to more than 20 publications.
particulars: She is a co-founding member of CreativeNeuroServices (www.creativeneuroservices.com), a consortium of neuroscientists based in various universities around Scotland offering expert advice and specialist services in compound testing in the central nervous system.
She is also a member of Praxis, the UK technology transfer training programme organised by the Cambridge-MIT Institute.
Over the last two decades molecular cloning has revealed a huge diversity of receptor subtypes, ion channel subunits and subunit splice variants, raising the question of how these many variations are used by neurones to ultimately tune their function to their needs. Although heterologous expression systems provide an invaluable means of investigating the specific phenotype displayed by receptor/ion channels, studies showing the functional role of all these variants in native neurones are still sparse. Most of my work has been dedicated to the understanding of the way the various subtypes of ion channels/receptors eventually shape the specific response of neurones in a close-to-native environment. I presently have two main lines of interests: i) the functional role and regulation of large conductance potassium (BK) channels in native neurones and ii) the role of vasopressin receptors in the hypothalamo- neurohypophysial system in integrating information at the supraoptic nucleus.
Dufer, M., Y. Neye, et al. (2010). "BK channels affect glucose homeostasis and cell viability of murine pancreatic beta cells." Diabetologia.
Widmer H., Ferrigan L, Davies CH and Cobb S. (2006). Evoked slow muscarinic acetylcholinergic synaptic potentials in rat hippocampal interneurones. Hippocampus 16(7): 617-628.
Widmer H, Rowe IC and Shipston MJ (2003). Conditional protein phosphorylation regulates BK channel activity in rat cerebellar Purkinje neurones. Journal of Physiology 552: 379-391.
Widmer H., Ludwig M., Bancel F., Leng G. and Dayanithi G. (2003). Neurosteroid regulation of oxytocin and vasopressin release from the rat supraoptic nucleus. Journal of Physiology (Lond.) 548.1: 233-244.
Dopico AM, Widmer H, Wang G, Lemos J. and Treistman SN (1999). Rat supraoptic magnocellular neurones show distinct large conductance, Ca2+-activated K+ channel subtypes in cell bodies versus nerve endings. Journal of Physiology (Lond.)15 (519): 101-14.
Widmer H, Lemos, JR and Treistman SN (1998). Ethanol reduces the duration of single evoked spikes by a selective inhibition of voltage-gated calcium currents in acutely dissociated supraoptic neurones. Journal of Neuroendocrinology 10(6):399-406.
Alonso G and Widmer H (1997) Clustering of Kv4.2 potassium channels in postsynaptic membrane of rat supraoptic neurones: an ultrastructural study. Neuroscience 77 (3): 617-621.
Widmer H., Amerdeil H, Fontanaud P and Desarménien MG (1997) Postnatal maturation of rat hypothalamo-neurohypophysial neurons: evidence for a developmental decrease in calcium entry during action potential. Journal of Neurophysiology 77 (1), 260-271.
Dayanithi G, Widmer H, and Richard Ph (1996) Vasopressin-induced intracellular Ca2+ increase in isolated rat supraoptic cells. Journal of Physiology (Lond) 490.3: 713-727.
Hamann M, Chamoin MC, Portalier P, Bernheim L, Baroffio A, Widmer H, Bader CR, and Ternaux, JP (1995) Synthesis and release of an acetylcholine-like compound by human myoblasts and myotubes. Journal of Physiology (Lond) 489.3: 791-803.
Widmer H, Poitry S and Tsacopoulos M (1990). The increase of oxygen consumption after a flash of light is tightly coupled to sodium pumping in the lateral ocellus of the barnacle. Journal of General Physiology 96: 83-108.
Poitry S and Widmer H. (1988). Kinetics of oxygen consumption after a flash of light in the lateral ocellus of the barnacle. Biophysical Journal 54: 655-667.
2009- jointly awarded a BBSRC-funded Industrial CASE PhD studentship with BIOPTA ltd to develop a predictive in vitro model for cardiac safety in the treatment of heart conditions. Dr Widmer is currently supervising two PhD students.
Prof MJ Shipston, University of Edinburgh- structure/function of large-conductance potassium channels
Prof. G. Leng, University of Edinburgh- aspects of neural control in the supraoptic nucleus
Dr S. Cobb, University of Glasgow- role and regulation of the cholinergic innervation in hippocampal function