My lab studies mechanisms underlying pain sensation. One focus of the lab is a group of ion channel proteins of the Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid (TRPV) family. These channels share the intriguing feature that they can be activated by warm or painfully hot temperatures, as well as by many nonthermal stimuli. For example, TRPV1, the founding member of this family, can be activated by painful heat (>42°C), by protons, or by pungent chemicals such as capsaicin. This channel is strongly expressed in nociceptive neurons and is essential for normal behavioral responses to noxious heat. By examining these channels in recombinant and native systems, and taking advantage of knockout mice lacking one or more subtypes, we are dissecting the biological contributions of these channels to pain sensation and other processes in both neuronal and nonneuronal cells. A second focus of the lab is the use of cutting-edge molecular, cellular, genetic, behavioral and physiological approaches to understand the biological and pathophysiological basis of chronic pain in animal models and in human disease.
Research in our laboratory is focused on the understanding of molecular mechanisms that regulate the mitochondrial contribution to programmed cell death and inflammation signaling. Both processes are fundamental to a variety of diseases, including cancer, neurodegeneration and infectious diseases. In this context we are specifically interested in mitochondrial autophagy and interorganellar interactions, including with the endolysosomal compartment. We are applying a combination of fluorescence microscopy, molecular and cell biological, and biochemical approaches. Our studies aim at uncovering novel cell biological insights that can be exploited to combat diseases.
Research in the Jordan laboratory focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating DNA repair, chromosome segregation and cell cycle progression. Their lab studies the importance of Structural Maintenance of Chromosomes (SMC) complexes and cell cycle kinases, particularly Polo-like (PLK) kinases and Aurora kinases. The Jordan lab uses mouse and human pluripotent stem cells to help define the function of these proteins within essential molecular pathways of the cell. They also use mouse as a model organism to study consequences of gene mutation and chromosome missegregation, which give rise to physical and mental developmental defects, infertility and cancer predisposition. Current research from the Jordan laboratory encompasses the following:
1) Gametogenesis (spermatogenesis and oogenesis)
2) Pluripotent stem cell preservation, proliferation, and differentiation
Neurodegeneration is a poorly understood biomedical phenomenon and a major public health challenge in our increasingly aging society. Our goal is to describe at the molecular and cellular levels how specific neurons degenerate, how protein folding and misfolding operate in the cell, and how protective systems fail at disease stages.