Dr Alex Conner - Aquaporin 4: water and our brains

Jun 02, 2014, 08:14 AM

Do you always wear a helmet when cycling, playing contact sports or doing activities which may risk you getting a blow to the head? Sam talks to Dr Alex Conner, Senior Lecturer in Medical Sciences at the University of Birmingham, about brain swelling. Alex runs a small research group looking at protein structure and function, with a specific focus on a protein called aquaporin 4 which is found in brain cells. Alex explains ‘we have to regulate the size of the cells and the one way we do that is through water. Aquaporins let water come in and out of the cell.’ But after a stroke or a concussion this process can go wrong, with too much water entering brain cells leading to harmful swelling. If the objectives of Alex’s research group are reached and a method of regulating aquaporin 4 is identified, it could prove a life saving discovery. Transcript: http://bit.ly/1pLcTJZ .