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Allen, William E. Associate Professor

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Our research is focused on developing new molecules that can promote transport of anions (X-) across cell membranes. The hallmark symptom of cystic fibrosis (CF), thick mucus in the lungs, arises in part from poor regulation of chloride and/or bicarbonate (Cl-/HCO3-) flow through lipid bilayers. In healthy cells, the cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator protein forms channels in the membrane that allow passage of these anions.In so doing, proper osmotic pressure (and water flow) is maintained, as is the extracellular alkalinity implicated in mucin discharge.We are working to determine if designed systems that don't form channels can facilitate anion flow.If so, they could provide a selective means to reduce mucus build-up outside of CF tissues.

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