Dr Anthony Albert's research focuses on how muscle cells found on the walls of blood vessels work.
His laboratory investigates cell signalling – how receptors on the surface of these muscle cells cause activation of TRPC channels (transient receptor potential channels). These are an ion channel (one of the types of molecule that comprise the cell 'machine') responsible for important processes: TRPC channels control the movement and growth of muscles cells on blood vessel walls, and thus the diameter of blood vessels. These processes affect diseases such as hypertension, angina, stroke, and atherosclerosis. Drugs that alter TRPC channels may therefore be useful treatments for cardiovascular diseases: Dr Albert's laboratory has pioneered the use of antibodies to target ion channel proteins and block their function.
Dr Albert's distinct approach is to investigate TRPC channel activation in muscle cells taken from freshly isolated blood vessels using single channel recording techniques from isolated membrane patches.
His research also uses RT-PCR, co-immunoprecipitation, Western blotting and phospholipid dot-blot techniques to identify the molecular structure of TRPC channels, and interactions between phospholipids, phosphorylation and channel proteins.
Dr Albert joined St George's in 1998 as a postdoctoral researcher, working with Professor William Large, now Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology. Their work investigated the functioning of vascular smooth muscle cells.
Currently a Reader in Cell Physiology, Dr Albert graduated with a BSc in Human Biology from Oxford Brookes University (1990), and completed an MSc in Neuroscience at Edinburgh University (1991).
He obtained his PhD in Neurophysiology from the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, University of London (1997), working in the laboratory of Professor Mike Spyer, investigating the effect of serotonin on vagal preganglionic neurones.
Davis AJ, Shi J, Pritchard HA, Chadha PS, Leblanc N, Vasilikostas G, Yao Z, Verkman AS, Albert AP & Greenwood IA. Potent vasorelaxant activity of the TMEN16A inhibitor T16A(inh)-A01. Br J Pharmacol. 2013, 168, 773-784.
Stenback G, Lawrence KM, Albert AP. Hormone-stimulated modulation of endocytic trafficking in osteoclasts. Front Endocrinol, 2012, 3, 103.
Shi J, Ju M, Large WA, Albert AP. Pharmacological profile of phospatidylinositol 3-kinases and related phosphoinositols mediating endothelin(A) receptor-operated TRPC channels in rabbit coronary artery myocytes. Br J Pharmacol. 2012, 166, 2161-2175.
Combs CE, Fuller K, Kumar H, Albert AP, Pirianov G, McCormick J, Locke IC, Chambers TJ, Lawrence KM. Urocortin is a novel regulator of osteoclast differentiation and function through inhibition of a canonical transient receptor potential 1-like cation channel. J Endocrinol, 2012, 212, 187-97.
Shi J, Ju M, Abramowitz J, Large WA, Birnbaumer L, Albert AP. TRPC1 proteins confer PKC and phosphoinositol activation on native heteromeric TRPC1/C5 channels in vascular smooth muscle: comparative study of wild-type and TRPC1-/- mice. FASEB J. 2011, 26, 409-419.
Albert AP. Gating mechanisms of canonical transient receptor potential channel proteins: Role of phosphoinositols and diacylglycerol. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2011, 304, 391-411.
Saleh SN, Albert AP, Large WA. Diverse properties of store-operated TRPC activated by protein kinase C in vascular myocytes. J Physiol. 2008, 586, 2463-2476.
Albert AP, Pucovsky V, Prestwich SA, Large WA. TRPC3 properties of a native constitutively active Ca2+-permeable cation channel in rabbit ear artery myocytes. 2006, J Physiol 571, 361-369.
Albert AP & Large WA. Activation of store-operated channels by noradrenaline via protein kinase C in rabbit portal vein myocytes. J Physiol. 2002, 544, 113-125.
Dr Albert's research group comprises Dr Jian Shi, research fellow (activation mechanism of TRPC channels in vascular smooth muscle cells) and PhD student Harry Greenberg (Ca2+-sensing receptors in the vasculature).
Dr Albert is investigating TRPC channels in muscle cells from genetically-modified mice, developed to express non-working TRPC channel proteins. This work is in collaboration with Professor Lutz Birnhaumer, a leading expert in the field of ion channels and cell signalling, who is based in the Transmembrane Signaling Group at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in the USA.
Dr Albert’s laboratory also collaborates with other researchers in the Biomedical Sciences Research Centre at St George's, including Professor Iain Greenwood (TMEM16A channels in vascular smooth muscle), Dr Nidhi Sofat (TRP channels and bone pain in osteoarthritis) and Dr Soo-Hun Kim (TRP channel and GnRH-containing neurones).
Dr Albert obtained a Postgraduate Certificate in Healthcare and Biomedical Education at St George's in 2008.
He gives lectures to medical students, students on the Biomedical Science BSc course, the Pharmacy MPharm course and the BSc Health Science (Physiological Sciences) course. He also teaches on the Physician Associate Studies Postgraduate Diploma and supervises PhD students.
He runs a Novel therapeutic targets for cardiovascular disease module offered to third year BSc Biomedical Science students and medical students who choose to undertake an Intercalated BSc.