Dr. Joseph DENT
[visit the Dent Lab Website]

Joseph Dent earned a B.S. from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in the laboratory of Michael Klymkowsky at the University of Colorado at Boulder.  After a brief stint with Min Han, also at the University of Colorado, Joe Dent pursued a postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Leon Avery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. He has been Assistant Professor of Biology at McGill University since 199 and Associate Professor since 2005.

Research in the Dent laboratory

The Dent laboratory is interested in the function of neurotransmitter receptors. Neurotransmitter receptors allow neurons to receive chemical messages and are the target of sedatives and nicotine.

The Dent lab studies a simple model organism, the nematode C. elegans, which has an unusually large number and variety of receptors. The applied research the Dent lab does involves identifying receptors that are unique to nematodes. These represent promising targets for the development of pesticides and antiparasitic drugs that are harmless for animals. The basic research done in the Dent lab involves making mutant channels with new properties, such as the ability to bind different neurotransmitters, to better understand how the structure of the receptors affects their function. Ultimately, these studies will help to design drugs with more specific effects on how a receptor acts.

Selected Publications

Dent, J.A. (2006) Evidence for a diverse cys-loop ligan-gated ion channel superfamily in early bilateria. Journal of Molecular Evolution 62: 523-535.

Dernovici, S., Starc, T., Dent, J.A. and Ribeiro, P. (2006) The serotonin receptor SER-1 (5HT2ce) contributes to the regulation of locomotion in Caenorhabditis elegans. Journal of Neurobiology (published online)

Putrenko, I., Zakikhani, M. and Dent, J.A. (2004) A family of acetylcholine-gated chloride channel subunits in Caenorhabditis elegans. J. Biol. Chem. 280 (8): 6392-6398.

Dent, J.A., Smith, M., Vassilatis, D.K. and Avery, L. (2000) The genetics of ivermectin resistance in Caenorhabditis elegans. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 97 (6): 2674-2679.

Davis, M.W., Fleischauer, R., Dent, J.A., Joho, R.H. and Avery, L. (1999) A mutation in the C. elegans EXP-2 potassium channel that alters feeding behavior. Science 286 (5449): 2501-2504.

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