Faculty: Peter S. Pennefather, PhD

Peter S. Pennefather, PhDPeter S. Pennefather, PhD

General Research Area: Cardiovascular/Neuropharmacology
Neuronal and Cardiac Ionic Signals

My research program is directed at developing a biophysical understanding of how cellular signals, carried by hormones, neurotransmitters, membrane potential, and intracellular second messengers, modulate transmembrane ion channels and how that signalling can be modified by pharmacological agents. The long term goal of this work is to understand how different modulatory mechanisms act in synchrony with one another to produce changes in cellular behaviour. Currently, my research is focused on several issues: (1) The factors that interact to shape intracellular calcium signals responsible for calcium dependent conductances; (2) The factors that control synaptic transmission between neurons by excitatory amino acids; (3) Computer modelling of ionic signals in cells. These issues are investigated using electrophysiological measurements of cellular currents and microspectrofluorometric measurements of intracellular ionic signals in cultured cells obtained from neuronal and cardiac sources. Throughout this work, ways are sought to selectively modulate ion currents so that the mechanistic determinants of neuronal and cardiac modulation can be understood and the functional consequences of that modulation at the cellular level can be determined. 

Selected Publications:

Feeney CJ, Frantseva MV, Carlen PL, Pennefather PS, Shulyakova N, Shniffer C, Mills LR. Vulnerability of glial cells to hydrogen peroxide in cultured hippocampal slices. Brain Res. 2008 Jan 3; [Epub ahead of print]

Tonkikh A, Janus C, El-Beheiry H, Pennefather PS, Samoilova M, McDonald P, Ouanounou A, Carlen PL. Calcium chelation improves spatial learning and synaptic plasticity in aged rats. Exp Neurol. 2006 Feb;197(2):291-300. Epub 2005 Jul 22.

Buck S, Pennefather PS, Xue HY, Grant J, Cheng YL, Allen CJ. Engineering lipobeads: properties of the hydrogel core and the lipid bilayer shell. Biomacromolecules. 2004 Nov-Dec;5(6):2230-7.

Eghbal MA, Tafazoli S, Pennefather P, O'Brien PJ. eroxidase catalysed formation of cytotoxic prooxidant phenothiazine free adicals at physiological pH. Chem Biol Interact. 2004 Dec 30;151(1):43-51.

Eghbal MA, Pennefather PS, O'Brien PJ. H2S cytotoxicity mechanism involves reactive oxygen species formation and mitochondrial depolarisation. Toxicology. 2004 Oct 15;203(1-3):69-76.

Ng CC, Cheng YL, Pennefather PS. Properties of a self-assembled phospholipid membrane supported on lipobeads. Biophys J. 2004 Jul;87(1):323-31.

Gyulkhandanyan AV, Pennefather PS. Shift in the localization of sites of hydrogen peroxide production in brain mitochondria by mitochondrial stress. J Neurochem. 2004 Jul;90(2):405-21.

Park PS, Ng CC, Buck S, Wells JW, Cheng YL, Pennefather PS. Characterization of radioligand binding to a transmembrane receptor reconstituted into Lipobeads. FEBS Lett. 2004 Jun 4;567(2-3):344-8.


Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy
University of Toronto
144 College Street
Toronto, Ontario
M5S 3M2 
Phone: [416] 978-6607 
FAX: [416] 979-8511
Email: p.pennefather@utoronto.ca