EMU Grad to Present at Science Seminar

Kenton Swartz
Kenton Swartz, a senior member of the molecular physiology and biophysics section at National Institutes of Health

A research scientist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md., will discuss the ways that voltage sensors and electrical signaling happen in animal and human nervous systems at the next Suter Science Seminar.

Kenton Swartz, a senior member of the molecular physiology and biophysics section at NIH, will give his presentation 4 p.m. Monday, Mar. 30, in room 104 of the Suter Science Center at EMU.

"Kenton Swartz is a leader in his field who will speak about how brain cells called neurons create (bio)electricity," said Greta Ann Herin, assistant professor of biology at EMU. "Cells such as these control simple diffusion of charged atoms into and out of the cell using specialized gates called ion channels. Kenton will show us how ion channels’ construction makes them responsive to signals, controllable and very fast. It’s very exciting to have him come to speak," Dr. Herin added.

Dr. Swartz joined NIH as an investigator in 1997 and was promoted to senior investigator in 2003. His laboratory uses biochemical, molecular biological and biophysical techniques to investigate the structure of voltage-activated ion channels and to explore the molecular mechanics by which these channels gate.

Swartz received a BS degree in chemistry and biology in 1986 from EMU. In 1992, he received a PhD in neurobiology from Harvard University, studying the regulation of voltage-gated calcium channels. He did postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School, where he began isolating and studying toxins that interact with voltage-activated potassium channels.

Refreshments will be served 15 minutes prior to the presentation, which is open to everyone free of charge.

For more information, contact Dr. Roman J. Miller, Suter Endowed Professor of Biology, at 540-432-4412; email: millerrj@emu.edu.