Dr. Joseph Ransdell joined the Department of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology as an Instructor on July 1, 2019.
Dr. Ransdell’s goals as a researcher are to determine the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie and regulate neuronal firing and determine how these mechanisms are affected by diseases that affect membrane excitability.
Dr. Ransdell was born and raised in Columbia, Missouri. He attended the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and graduated with a B.S. in Neuroscience. Following graduation, he attended the University of Missouri Columbia and completed a Ph.D. in the Department of Biology. During graduate school, he worked in the laboratory of David Schulz and used molecular and electrophysiology techniques to explore how neurons in rhythmic (invertebrate) motor networks generate their signature electrical outputs. Also during graduate training, Dr. Ransdell taught the laboratory components of Animal Physiology and Computational Neuroscience courses and he mentored several undergraduate students and supervised their research projects. For postdoctoral training, Dr. Ransdell entered the laboratory of Jeanne Nerbonne at Washington University in Saint Louis and learned mammalian (mouse) neurophysiology techniques. Studies during his postdoctoral work defined the physiological roles of sodium channel accessory subunits (iFGF14 and Navβ4) in regulating the firing rates of cerebellar Purkinje neurons and maintaining animal balance and motor coordination. Observations from these studies demonstrate that iFGF14 and Navβ4 play crucial, albeit different roles in regulating Purkinje neuron Nav channel/current properties and Purkinje neuron firing. Importantly, these investigations directly linked changes in Purkinje neuron firing to locomotor phenotypes. The goal of Dr. Ransdell’s ongoing work is to determine the molecular mechanisms that underlie differences in Purkinje neuron firing that exist across functionally distinct areas of the cerebellum. He is also working to define how diseases that affect Purkinje neuron excitability affect cerebellar function and cerebellum-related behaviors.