Full Name:  Katarzyna Cialowicz
Phone:  +44 131 451 4748
Email kThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

William Perkin Annexe 1.01
Heriot Watt University
EH14 4AS


Project title: Understanding the functions and molecular distribution of calcium channels using super resolution microscopy

Project outline:
Calcium ions in the human body serve as second messengers and are responsible for cell homeostasis. Muscle contractions and neuronal communication are supported by electrical activity. Voltage-activated calcium channels are crucial for many cellular events. They play an important role in transducing the initial stimulus to the effector systems that modulate insulin secretion in pancreatic cells or neurotransmitter at nerve terminals. Dysfunction of these processes may cause many conditions, including diabetes or Alzheimer’s disease. In recent years the amount of research on Ca2+ channels has markedly increased, but there are limitations related to physical restrictions in the spatial resolution of fluorescence microscopy. This phenomenon results in a loss of information with regard to the true location of a point source that is emitting light. Newly developed methods such as Stimulated Emission Depletion Microscopy (STED) or Photoactivated localization microscopy (PALM) allow imaging close to the molecular scale.
The general aims of this project include:

  • Understanding the mechanism of action and distribution of N-type calcium channels using novel tools I have helped to develop for calcium channel imaging.
  • Investigating if Cav2.2 Ca2+ (Neuronal type) channels are in a clustered conformation or randomly distributed in the cellular plasma membrane, gated- (g)STED).
  • Quantifying the mobility and location of N-type calcium channels using single molecule localisation techniques
  • Studying single endogenous channel nano-scale locations in live cells by uncaging through photoactivation

kate image 2

Microscope images of secretory cells. At the image of cells under 60x lens (a) we can see the patch clamp pippete. The widefield image 150x (b) shows expression of R-Geco-Snap25 at the membrane of the cell. Last image (c) shows the secretory cell imaged in TIRF mode after depolarization the membrane.

List of conferences:

  1. 3/6/2015 Photonex Scotland in Glasgow
  2. 13/10/2015 ESRIC Interdisciplinary Meeting in Edinburgh
  3. 24/11/2015 Scottish Microscopy Group Symposium in Dundee
  4. 07/08/15 ESRIC Super-Resolution Summer School
  5. 2-6/4/2016 Experimental Biology Conference in San Diego
  6. 8/6/2016 Photonex Scotland in Edinburgh