Dr. John O'Reilly
Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
Ph.D., Yale University, 1997
Office: 306 Biology Building
Phone: (985) 549-3536
Office Hours:as posted on office door
Teaching Expertise: Anatomy & Physiology; Animal Physiology; Neurobiology; Animal Behavior
Research Interests: Neurophysiology.
My broad interests are in the function of the nervous system, mainly in humans. The
human brain is comprised of roughly a trillion (1,000,000,000,000) nerve cells, called
neurons, that make about a quadrillion (1,000,000,000,000,000) connections, called
synapses, with other neurons. By studying the function of individual neurons and synapses,
we can begin to understand the behavior of neuronal circuits and systems. This information
may eventually lead us to an understanding of the underlying mechanisms that produce
the remarkable complexity and diversity of human behavior.
Biophysics of Ion Channels. Normal function of excitable tissues such as the nervous system is dependent on transmembrane proteins called ion channels, and the the function of these ion channels is dependent on normal molecular structure. Studying the function of ion channels with altered or mutated structure provides an understanding of the biophysical relationship between protein molecular structure and physiological function. This information can be directly related to heritable mutations that underly human diseases such as epilepsy, myotonias, and sudden cardiac death.