Shailesh Agarwal

Shailesh Agarwal, Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor


  • Ph.D., 2007, University of Montana, Missoula
  • Bachelor of Pharmacy, 1997, University of Pune, India


Regulation of ion channels and cell signaling by autonomic nervous system in mammalian heart.

The focus of our lab is to study the regulation of cardiac function by autonomic nervous system in health and disease. The sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of autonomic nervous system act in concert to maintain autonomic tone and control the activity of ion channels in the heart. This regulation of electrical activity is accomplished by signaling via production of a common second messenger cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). Maintaining specificity of responses following the activation of autonomic pathways is believed to be accomplished by compartmentation of cAMP signaling into highly localized and distinct subcellular microdomains. However, what constitutes these compartments is unclear. Dysregulation of spatiotemporal gradients of cAMP can disrupt localized signaling and contribute to development of abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmias. Cardiac arrhythmias are associated with life-threatening medical emergencies and sudden cardiac death, the leading cause of death in humans. To elucidate the complex subcellular mechanisms that are important for cell signaling and ion channel regulation in cardiac myocytes, we utilize a variety of biophysical techniques. These include electrophysiological measurements such as whole cell patch clamp recordings as well as advanced imaging techniques including fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) and confocal microscopy. Our long-term goal is to identify the causes for impaired subcellular signaling and develop novel therapeutic remedies for newly identified targets in disease state.