Award-winning pharmacologist visits to discuss cell biology in lecture

Biology and biochemistry majors at Birzeit University were able to deepen their understanding of voltage-gated calcium channels and neuropathic pain in a lecture presented by Annette Dolphin, professor of pharmacology in the Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology at University College London, on February 13, 2019. 

Dolphin explained the importance of the calcium-channel auxiliary α2δ subunits in neuropathic pain and detailed their role in neuronal calcium-channel trafficking both in vitro, i.e., in a testing environment, and in vivo, i.e., in a living organism. Reviewing some of the key features essential to the function of this protein, Dolphin described how the α2δ ligands gabapentin and pre-gabalin, used therapeutically to alleviate various neuropathic pain conditions, influence voltage-gated calcium channels.

Dolphin holds a BA in Natural Sciences from the University of Oxford and a Ph.D. from the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London. She was granted postdoctoral fellowships at the College de France in Paris, Yale University, the National Institute for Medical Research, and the Pharmacology Department of St. George’s, University of London. 

The recipient of numerous awards and honors for the research into voltage-gated calcium channel functions, Dolphin was appointed Chair of the Department of Pharmacology at Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, University of London in 1990, and moved to University College London in 1997. She was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1999, a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2015, and a member of Academia Europea in 2018.