UW Medicine

Claudia Moreno

Claudia Moreno


Assistant Professor of Physiology and Biophysics

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Molecular Basis of Aging

The goal of the Moreno lab is to understand how the function and regulation of ion channels change during the natural process of aging. Aging comes with a vast set of impairments, hearing loss, cardiac dysfunction, and hypertension, are only a few on the list. Most of these impairments are caused by a loss on the capacity­ of excitable cells to generate and/or propagate electrical signals. As ion channels are the basis of electricity in our body, we study how aging affects ion channel function and how these changes can lead to the onset of aging-related pathologies.

To understand the link between ion channel function and the aging process, we study one of the most electrical active tissues in the body, the pacemaker of the heart. On average, our heart beats 100.000 times a day and 2.5 billion times during an average lifetime. Each heartbeat is initiated in the heart’s pacemaker, a few thousands of pacemaker cells that drive the contraction of the more than 2 billion cardiomyocytes of the heart. Aging leads to a decrease in pacemaker activity, and in pathological cases to pacemaker dysfunction, which accounts for 60% of the implantations of artificial pacemakers worldwide. We combine electrophysiology with super-resolution imaging to study the age-related changes in ion channel function, organization, and modulation in the pacemaker. We also combine transcriptomics and proteomics to understand the remodeling that the pacemaker undergoes during aging to identify molecular mechanisms behind pacemaker dysfunction.

Areas of Interest

  • Cell and molecular biophysics
  • Cardiac physiology
  • Molecular physiology and neurobiology