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Dr Paola Vergani
240 Medical Sciences Building
Gower Street
Tel: 020 7679 7908
Fax: 020 7679 7298
  • Senior Lecturer
  • Neuro, Physiology & Pharmacology
  • Div of Biosciences
  • Faculty of Life Sciences

I graduated in 1991 from the University of Pavia, Italy. I obtained my PhD from the University of Milan, studying transport mechanisms in yeast. After doing a first postdoctoral research period at Wye College, University of London, I moved to the Rockefeller University in New York where I started working on the structure/function of CFTR. In 2006 I joined the then Pharmacology Department at UCL as a lecturer.

Research Themes
Research Summary

Cystic fibrosis is the most common life-threatening inherited disease in the UK. We study the protein whose dysfunction causes cystic fibrosis, CFTR. This same protein is responsible for the excessive salt/water loss occurring during secretory diarrhoeas (e.g. cholera). CFTR belongs to the superfamily of ABC proteins, which couple hydrolytic cycles at conserved nucleotide-binding domains (NBDs) to diverse cellular functions. CFTR is unique among ABC proteins in that its transmembrane domains comprise an ion channel. Opening and closing (gating) of the ion-permeation pathway is "remotely" controlled by ATP binding and hydrolysis at its NBDs . With our experiments we aim at deepening our understanding of  how CFTR works, setting foundations for pharmacological alteration of its activity. In addition, by allowing us to uniquely track conformational changes affecting the ion-permeation pathway, our CFTR studies may help better understand conserved ABC mechanisms.

Teaching Summary

I contribute to undergraduate teaching for Science students, and preclinical teaching for Medical students on several physiology and pharmacology modules. Since 2009, I am programme tutor for BSc and IBSc in Physiology and Pharmacology, and since 2015 I am stream representative for Biomedical Sciences on the Natural Sciences programme.

Academic Background
1995 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Cell and Molecular Biology Universita degli Studi di Milano
1991 MSc Master of Science (by research) – Biological Sciences Universita degli Studi di Pavia
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