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Fellows Directory

William Catterall

Professor William Catterall ForMemRS

Foreign Member

Elected: 2008


William Catterall is a professor of pharmacology distinguished for his work on voltage-gated ion channels, which are essential for electrical signalling in the brain and body. He discovered the proteins that make up the sodium and calcium channels and shaped our understanding of their atomic-level structure and its relevance to medicine.

Electrical signalling is the method through which all our most rapid responses take place, in neurons and cardiac muscle for example. The process relies on the regulated transport of charged atoms through specialised ion channels that span cell membranes. William’s research unearthed the proteins that form the channels specific to sodium and calcium ions.

Furthermore, William determined how toxins and common medicines interact with sodium channels to block ion transport. Local anaesthetics, pain killers and drugs for epilepsy and irregular heart rhythms all work through sodium channel interaction. William is now using his expertise to identify potential solutions for diseases that are caused by channel dysfunction.

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