Daniel J. Foster , Ph.D.
B.S. Biochemistry/Cell Biology from Bucknell University, 2005
Ph.D. Pharmacology from the University of Michigan, 2010
Biosketch and Research Interests
Dan Foster is a post-doctoral research fellow who joined the Conn lab in the summer of 2010. He completed his graduate work in pharmacology at the University of Michigan where he studied the mechanisms whereby certain G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) including protease-activated receptors, muscarinic receptors, and lysophopholipid receptors activate signaling pathways that modulate neural cell volume in a cell-swelling-dependent manner (receptor activation has no effect on cell volume under resting conditions but drastically reduces the volume of swollen cells). Dan’s research interests are in the field of signal transduction (including context-dependent agonism whereby ligands can selectively modulate subsets of signaling pathways) and the physiological consequence of modulating such pathways. He is particularly interested in the molecular mechanisms whereby allosteric modulators alter receptor function. Dan continues to pursue his interest in GPCR signal-transduction in the Conn lab by working to characterize and develop compounds that selectively modulate the M5 muscarinic receptor. The M5 receptor is expressed in dopaminergic neurons within the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area and studies from genetic-knockout animals suggest that this receptor subtype is able to modulate dopamine release from these cells. These findings, combined with a relatively restricted expression pattern, make the M5 receptor an ideal pharmacological target for treating pathologies in which dopamine release is altered such as drug addiction as well as attention deficit disorder. The end goal of Dan’s research is to use M5-specific modulators to probe the physiological role of the M5 receptor in dopaminergic neurons.
Fisher, S.K., Heacock, A.M., Keep R.F., & Foster, D.J. Receptor regulation of osmolyte homeostasis in neural cells. Journal of Physiology, 588, 3355-64 (2010).
Foster, D.J., Heacock, A.M., & Fisher, S.K. Muscarinic receptor stimulation of D-aspartate uptake into human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells is attenuated by hypoosmolarity. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 333, 297-309 (2010).
Foster, D.J., Vitvitsky, V.M., Banerjee, R., Heacock, A.M., & Fisher, S.K. Muscarinic receptor regulation of osmosensitive taurine transport in human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells. Journal of Neurochemistry 108, 437-49 (2009).
Fisher, S. K., Cheema, T. A., Foster, D. J. & Heacock, A. M. Volume-dependent osmolyte efflux from neural tissues: regulation by G-protein-coupled receptors. Journal of Neurochemistry 106, 1998-2004 (2008).
Foster, D. J., Heacock, A. M., Keep, R. F. & Fisher, S. K. Activation of muscarinic cholinergic receptors on human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells enhances both the influx and efflux of K+ under conditions of hypo-osmolarity. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 325, 457-65 (2008).
Heacock, A. M., Foster, D. J. & Fisher, S. K. Prostanoid receptors regulate the volume-sensitive efflux of osmolytes from murine fibroblasts via a cyclic AMP-dependent mechanism. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 319, 963-71 (2006).