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Research interests

The Hershfinkel laboratory is investigating the pathways that are activated by zinc to mediate physiological​​ functions. Zinc is an essential micronutrient and plays a central role in the function of the skin, nervous and digesti​ve systems.As many as 24 zinc transporters are involved in maintaining the cellular levels of zinc, and transport this metal ion across cellular and organellar membranes​.  ​​​
Our lab identified a distinct zinc sensing receptor, ZnR/GPR39, that upon changes in extracellular zinc levels triggers major signaling pathways in epithelial cells and neurons. We focus on revealing the physiological roles of ZnR/GPR39. 
As many as 24 zinc transporters are involved in maintaining the cellular levels of zinc, and transport this metal ion across cellular and organellar membranes.  Our lab identified a distinct zinc sensing receptor, ZnR/GPR39, that upon changes in extracellular zinc levels triggers major signaling pathways in epithelial cells and neurons. We focus on revealing the physiological roles of ZnR/GPR39. 
​Using molecular biology, biochemistry and live cell imaging techniques we study how zinc ions are transported into the cell, which signaling pathways they activate, and how they regulate important ion transporters to control cell survival, as well as water absorption in the digestive system, salivary gland secretion and seizure. ​

Keywords

  • QP Physiology
  • Zinc biology
  • Zinc signaling
  • Calcium signaling
  • Cancer
  • Neuroscience

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