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Chih King

Chih standing in office


215-898-0181 (lab)


Biographical Sketch

I grew up in Salem, Oregon, and in order to move to a place with less rain I went to the University of Iowa where I graduated in 2003 with a BA in economics.  During college I was involved in several research projects, including a study of Multi-Agent System and its applications on Game Theory, helping to design programs and to construct a multi-core supercomputer in order to simulate demand-and-supply systems and economics models, as well as doing an honors research thesis on the pharamaceutical spending in the U.S.  I was also able to analyze the relationship between Drosophila simulans and Wolbachia pipientis as a Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Fellow.  Following graduation I entered the MD program at the University of Pittsburgh, where at Dr. Robert Bowser’s lab I had a chance gain further research experience by trying to identify protein alterations in G39A SOD1 transgenic mice plasma that are unique to ALS pathogenesis.  After two years of medical school I felt a need to further augment my medical training with research experience in neuroscience, so I decided take a leave of absence from medical school to enroll in the PhD program at the University of Pennsylvania.  After several research rotations I decided that Dr. Steven Scherer’s lab fits my research interest the closest.

Current Projects

In brief, currently I have two research focuses in the Scherer lab, both centered on the KCNQ family of potassium channels, which is a subtype of the slowly activating channels that are responsible for the M-current.  Since the KCNQ channels are thought to play a role in maintaining normal membrane resting potential, mutation of these channels can lead to abnormal neuronal activity.  Currently there are five known KCNQ channels – KCNQ1 to 5.  My first research focus is on the KCNQ5 channel.  In this project I am trying to ascertain the expression pattern of KCNQ5 channel in the CNS and the PNS, and more importantly, whether KCNQ5 channels are expressed by the unmyelinated and/or the myelinated sensory neurons.  I am currently using multiple techniques to examine the expression pattern of KCNQ5, and I hope to have the results soon. 

The other research focus that I have in the Scherer lab is on the role of KCNQ2 on neuronal activity.  In order to achieve this I am using the cre-lox system to generate conditional knockout KCNQ2 mice in the sensory neurons (since a straight knockout will kill the animal).  Thus far I have crossed multiple cre lines to our KCNQ2-floxed mice, and I plan to generate the conditional knockout animal with the most specific and efficacious cre line.  After the generation of the conditionally knockout mice I will analyze the function of the KCNQ2 with electrophysiology.