Clay M. Armstrong

Emeritus Professor


B701 Richards Building

3700 Hamilton Walk

Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Description

Our laboratory is interested in mechanisms of ion permeation across cell membranes and intracellular signaling, particularly in epithelial cells, and the roles of these processes in diseases, including cystic fibrosis. The lab has two distinct major foci of research efforts.

Transmembrane ionic channels and membrane potentials are properties common to all cells. My laboratory works on permeability mechanisms of ionic channels, the gating processes that open and close the channels, and the role of channels and membrane potentials in cell function.

Sodium and potassiun channels in excitable membranes are activated by changes of the membrane voltage. The laboratory is examining the gating of these channels in the membranes of one of the classical excitable cells, the squid giant axon. In this preparation, the investigator can control the solution bathing the internal and external surfaces of the membrane, and very rapid changes of the membrane potential can be imposed, allowing excellent time resolution of the gating processes. Gating current, an important indicator of gating activity, can best be measured from squid giant axons.

Excitability is a property of many cells, including endocrine cells. Cells derived from the pituitary have action potentials and pacemaking activity, and a full complement of ionic channels, including sodium channels, 2 or more types of potassium channels, and at least 2 types of calcium channels. My research is examining these cells using the patch clamp technique, and is attempting to extend studies of this type to neurons from the central nervous system (CNS) to achieve a better understanding of the cellular electrophysiology of these complex cells.

Degrees & Education

BA, Rice University, 1956

MD, Washington University, 1960

Honors & Awards

2001 Gairdner Foundation International Award

2000 John Scott Award

1999 Laskar Award, Basic Science

Member, National Academy of Sciences

Jacob Javits Neuroscience Research Award of NIH

Other Perelman School of Medicine Affiliations

Neurosciences Graduate Group

Professional Affiliations

American Physiological Society

Biophysical Society

Society of General Physiologists

Editorial Board, Journal of General Physiology

Editorial Board, Journal of Neurophysiology