Skip to primary navigation.
Skip to secondary navigation.
Skip to page content.

Return to top of page.
Skip to secondary navigation.
Skip to page content.
Return to top of page.
Return to primary navigation.
Skip to secondary navigation.

Dr. Leigh Anne Swayne

(image: Brain weights)

Research

Ion Channels: Molecular Determinants of Health and Disease in the Head and Heart

The brain and heart share the "spark of life".

While they are vastly different in many respects, in order to function properly, both the brain and the heart rely on large, complicated proteins called ion channels. These proteins facilitate the controlled flow of ions in and out of cells by forming pores that stud cellular membranes.

Specialized brain cells called neurons utilize ion channels and the resulting electrical signals that they generate to communicate with one another. A repertoire of different ion channels also shape the birth, growth and development of neurons. During brain injury, ion channel activity can render populations of neurons vulnerable to damage. However, following injury, ion channels can also sensitize surviving neurons and modify their structure and function in ways that allow them to respond, adapt and promote repair. Similarly, the electrical activity underlying the coordinated beating of heart muscle cells is generated by the concerted actions of a cohort of ion channels.

It follows that mutations in the proteins that form ion channels can manifest in a spectrum of clinical neurological and heart conditions.

I combine my expertise in ion channel biochemistry, cell biology, electrophysiology, and systems biology, along with key collaborations, to bridge critical knowledge gaps in the understanding of ion channel function and dysfunction in the brain and heart.

  • My major focus has been the cell biology of pannexin ion channels and their role in neuronal development and injury-triggered plasticity.
  • In collaboration with a group at the University of Ottawa, I am also studying how probenecid, a drug that stops the function of pannexins, impacts on stroke recovery.
  • To "cast a wider net" to identify novel ion channel regulators of developmental and injury-triggered neuronal plasticity, my lab is combning basic biochemistry with cutting edge expertise at the UVic Genome BC Proteomics Centre.
  • My expertise in unraveling the cell biology of several other types of ion channels over the course of my research career has led me to develop collaboration with the BC Community Genetics Research Program. In this partnership with Dr. Laura Arbour, I am investigating the cell biological underpinnings of clinically relevant ion channel mutations.

Swayne Lab

Additional Appointments:

Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology

Department of Biology

Affliliate Assistant Professor in the Department of Cellular Physiology, UBC

News

Honors Fest

Two students from Dr. Leigh Ann Swayne's lab received awards during Honours Fest held on February 28, 2014. Scott Bell received Top Presenter award for his poster entitled "Effect of Probenecid on the Neural Precursor Response to Stroke"and a one year membership in a professional membership of his choice.

Ross Prager received Best overall Honours Poster for all faculties with his poster entitled "Characterization of a novel Pannexin 1 channel internalization stimulus" and the "Boehm Family Award for Excellence in Science" plus $2000.

Scott (top) is pictured below with Dean Lipson from the Faculty of Science. Ross (bottom) is pictured with Dean Lipson and Associate Dean Kathryn Gillis from Faculty of Science. Congratulations to both of you for a job well done!

Scott Bell with Dean Lipson from the Faculty of ScienceRoss Prager

Catalyst Grant from Heart & Stroke Foundation for Stroke Recovery

Dr. Leigh Anne Swayne has been awarded $98,000 for her proposal entitled "Preclinical Testing of Probencid for Stroke Recovery Treatment". Congratulations on your award and we look forward to seeing exciting results from your catalyst grant!

Swayne Research featured in Times Colonist

Growing New Neurons to Heal Injured Brains

Grad Position in stroke recovery research in Swayne Lab

Despite the grey picture of massive cell death often accompanying stroke, the brain has a remarkable capacity for "recovery". Currently, we are largely unable to optimize this process of innate recovery and repair due in part to knowledge gaps in our understanding of the underlying cellular and molecular processes that modulate plasticity during stroke recovery.

There is an opportunity for you to become involved in this exciting area of research through a new graduate student position opening in the Swayne lab. Our relatively new lab has an excellent track record for publications and student scholarships. It is a stellar training environment both in terms of scientific training and career development and we are looking to recruit the best and brightest to join our research team.

If you are interested in applying, please send a CV and unofficial transcripts to Dr. Leigh Anne Swayne, lswayne@uvic.ca

Research Topic in Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience

Dr. Leigh Anne Swayne is creator and co-editor of a research topic published in Frontiers of Cellular Neuroscience. Read more.

New Publication

Dr. Swayne and two of her graduate students, Leigh Wicki-Stordeur and Andrew Boyce recently had a paper published entitled Analysis of a pannexin 2-pannexin 1 chimeric protein supports divergent roles for pannexin C-termini in cellular localiztion. Read the abstract.

Student Awards

For her graduate studies in the Swayne Lab, Leigh Wicki-Stordeur has been selected to receive the following two awards from the Faculty of Graduate Studies Donar Awards. Leigh was awarded the Howard E. Petch Research Scholarship ($7500) and the Edythe Hembroff-Schleicher Scholarship ($9000). Leigh also awarded an NSERC PGSM earlier this year.

Congratulations Leigh and best wishes for continued success in your graduate program.

Funding

Heart and Stroke Foundation for Stroke Recovery - ($98,000, 2013-2015) Preclinical testing of probencid for stroke recovery, PI: Swayne

NSERC Engage grant ($25,000, 2013) in partnership with StressMarq - Generation of novel Pannexin antibodes, PI: Swayne

NSERC Discovery Grant (2011-2016, $180K) Pannexin signalling in neural progenitor cells, PI: Swayne

NSERC Early Career Supplement (2012-2013, $10,000) Pannexin signalling in neural progenitor cells, PI: Swayne

Victoria Foundation ($6,000) Fellowships for graduate students in the area of biomedical and neuroscience. (January 2012-June 2012)

CFI - LOF / BCKDF ($300,000) Live and fixed cell neuro-imaging facility, PI: Swayne

Publications

Selected Publications (frome a total of 25, see PubMed for a complete list)

2014

Boyce AKJ, Wicki-Stordeur LE, Swayne LA. (2014) Powerful partnership: crosstalk between pannexin 1 and the cytoskeleton. FRONT PHYSIOL, Jan 30;5:27. eCollection 2014.

Wicki-Stordeur LE, Swayne LA (2013) The emerging Pannexin 1 signalome: a new nexus revealed? FRONT CELL NEUROSCI, Jan 8;7:287. eCollection 2014.

2013

Boyce AKJ, Prager RT, Wicki-Stordeur LE, Swayne LA (2013) Pore positioning: Current concepts in Pannexin channel trafficking. CHANNELS, Dec 3;8(2). [Epub ahead of print]

Wicki-Stordeur LE and Swayne LA (2013) Panx1 regulates neural stem and progenitor cell behaviours associated with cytoskeletal dynamics and interacts with multiple cytoskeletal elements. CELL COMMUN SIGNAL, 11: 62.

Wicki-Stordeur LE. Boyce AKJ, Swayne LA. (2013) Analysis of a pannexin 2-pannexin 1 chimeric protein supports divergent roles for pannexin C-termini in cellular localization. Cell Commun Adhes, 20: 73-79.

2012

Wicki-Stordeur LE, Swayne LA (2012) Large pore ion and metabolite-permeable channel regulation of postnatal ventricular zone neural stem and progenitor cells: interplay between aquaporins, connexins, and pannexins? Stem Cells Int, 2012: 454180.

Swayne LA, Wicki-Stordeur LE (2012) Ion channels in postnatal neurogenesis: potential targets for brain repair. Channels, 6: 69-74.

Wicki-Stordeur LE, Dzugalo AD, Swansburg RM, Suits JM, Swayne LA (2012) Pannexin 1 regulates postnatal neural stem and progenitor cell proliferation. Neural Dev, 7:11.

Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience Research Topic: The truth in comlexes: why unraveling ion channel multi-protein signaling nexuses is critical for understanding the function of the nervous system.

People

Leigh Anne Swayne

Leigh Anne Swayne

Leigh Anne was an avid sportswoman of all sorts (rugby, basketball, volleyball, running...). She now spends her spare time doing crossfit and continues to fuel her lifelong passion for books and movies. Together Leigh Anne and her husband share two wonderful dogs.

Leigh Anne's Favourites.

Places: Plage de l'Espiguette, St. Guilhem le Desert, Aitutaki

Movies: Too many...Dr. Zhivago, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Batman Trilogy (Nolan)

Books: The Birth of Venus, The Poisonwood Bible, Mystery novels by Ian Rankin, PD James, Arnaldur Indridasson etc.

Leigh Wicki-Stordeur -  BSc (Honours) Biochemistry

Leigh Wicki Stordeur

Current: PhD student in Neuroscience

Awards: Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, NSERC CGS-M, Howard E. Petch Research Scholarship, Edythe Hembroff-schleicher Graduate Scholarsip

Project: Pannexin 1 regulation of postnatal neural stem and progenitor cells

Interests: Soccer, skiing, the outdoors, reading novels

Andrew Boyce - BSc Biology and Anthropology (Double Major)

Andrew Boyce

Current: MSc student in Neuroscience

Awards: Alexander Graham Bell NSERC CGS-M

Project: Molecular determinants of Pannexin 1 trafficking

Interests: Reading novels (esp. by Kurt Vonnegut), soccer, outdoors (and therefore loves living in Victoria).

Ross Prager

Ross Prager

Current: BSc Honours Microbiology (Co-op)

Awards: Jamie Cassels Undergraduate Research Award (JCURA)

Project: Molecular determinants of Pannexin 1 trafficking

Interests: Badminton/tennis, outdoors (camping, kayaking etc), working as an EMT in his spare time.

Scott C. Bell

Scott C. Bell

Current: BSc (Honours) Biology, minor in Biochemistry

Project: Effects of probenecid on stroke recovery.

Interests: Co-president of the University of Victoria Kayak club and enjoys martial arts (Karate, Muy Thai, Brailian Jujitsu), music (guitar).

Jeremy H. Christensen

Jeremy Christensen

Current: BSc (Honours) Biochemistry

Project: Role of novel ankyrin-B mutation in long QT syndrome (co-supervised by Dr. Laura Arbour).

Interests:Voluteering with the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue and working with the Canadian Coast Guard rescue.

Ester (Tesi) Carmona-Wager

Ester Carmona-Wager

Current: BSc Biology (Co-op), minor in Economic Policy

Project: Effects of probenecid on stroke recovery.

Interests: Nature (birds, conservation, sustainability), Arts (crafts, music), Catholicism.

"Alumni"

Adrian Dzugalo (co-op)

Rose Swansburg (co-op)

Jocelyne Suits (part time lab tech)

Gaurav Sekhon - BSc Microbiology

Emma Jones (co-op)

Emma Boyce (work-study)

Opportunities

This could be you!

Please contact Dr. Swayne ( lswayne@uvic.ca) with the following information to inquire about the following positions.

Post Doctoral Researchers

No available positions at this time.

Graduate Students

Graduate Student position available in stroke recovery research: Despite the grey picture of massive cell death often accompanying stroke, the brain has a remarkable capacity for "recovery". Currently, we are largely unable to optimize this process of innate recovery and repair due in part to knowledge gaps in our understanding of the underlying cellular and molecular processes that modulate plasticity during stroke recovery.

There is an opportunity for you to become involved in this exciting area of research through a new graduate student position openng in the Swayne lab. Our relatively new lab has an excellent track record for publications and student scholarships. It is a stellar training environment both in terms of scientific training and career development and we are looking to recruit the best and brightest to join our research team.

If you are interested in applying, please send a CV and unofficial transcripts to Dr. Leigh Anne Swayne, lswayne@uvic.ca

Undergraduate Students

If you are interested in volunteering/working in Swayne Lab, please submit the following documents.
CV with references
Transcript
Paragraph explaining your interest in the lab

Return to top of page.
Return to primary navigation.
Skip to page content.

button: Neuroscience

button: Support UVic

button: Library Services

button: Island Medical Program

Upcoming Medical Sciences events

Message from Division Head

Links of interest

Find out more about our FASD Research Study here

Neuroscience Graduate Oral Defense

Funding Opportunities

Summer 2013 IMP/DMSC Newsletter

Return to top of page.
Return to primary navigation.
Return to secondary navigation.
Return to page content.