Sang Don Koh: Biography/Education


Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology | Department of Physiology and Cell Biology


I achieved my Ph.D. under Prof. Kee Soon Kim at Hanyang University, Korea. I started patch clamp experiments on gastrointestinal smooth muscle cells at Kyushu University, Japan, under the supervision of Prof. Kuriyama. I have always had a lot of interest in the spontaneous electrical rhythmicity of the gastrointestinal tract. I met Dr. Kenton M. Sanders in 1991. I then moved to Dr. Sanders lab at the University of Nevada, Reno in 1992.

The research in our laboratory is aimed at investigating the electrical activity of colonic myocytes and ICC. In the laboratory the patch clamp and Ca2+ imaging techniques are utilized to study cultured or freshly dispersed ICC? or gastrointestinal myocytes.

The main aims of the study are to understand: 1) the mechanisms of spontaneous rhythmicity in ICC, 2) the intracellular signaling pathways by enteric neurotransmitters, and 3) the physiological meaning of intracellular Ca2+ puff and it regulation.

I have worked mainly on the research of the properties on the delayed rectifier K+ channels, KATP, Ca2+-activted small conductance K+ channels, A-type channels and inwardly rectifying K+ channels and their regulations in colonic myocytes with the collaboration of Dr. James L. Kenyon. Dr. Burton Horowitz has also cloned and expressed many potassium channels in oocytes and mammalian cell line in order to compare expressed and native channel characteristics. Recently I have been studying the role of Ca2+/calmodulin kinase and K+ channel regulation with Dr. Brian A. Perrino.

In 1996 Dr. Sean M. Ward developed an ICC culturing technique and I recorded spontaneous electrical activity from cultured ICC. This will give us a better insight into the pacemaker role of ICC. ICC can also be controlled by enteric neuronal stimulation and therefore it will be a very important tool in solving the gastrointestinal response to this stimulation.

I always believe that God must create the unique channels in gastrointestinal tract that are not even found in brain. I am always trying to find God's creations.

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