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Welcome to the Lewis Lab

Over 99% of the body’s calcium is immobilized to provide the structure and strength of bones and teeth, but the remaining 1% in the form of soluble ionized Ca2+ carries out an amazing variety of signaling functions in every cell throughout the body.  Calcium signals are shaped by diverse classes of ion channels that regulate the flow of calcium into the cell and transporters that actively remove it.

Our lab studies calcium signaling mechanisms and their consequences for cell behavior, with a particular focus on store-operated calcium channels.  These ubiquitous channels, made from STIM and Orai proteins, are highly unusual in their properties and regulation, and are essential for a diverse and ever-expanding array of functions.  They are absolutely required for triggering immune and allergic responses, and also contribute to blood clotting by platelets; muscle contraction; cell migration, secretion, and gene expression; and neuronal development and plasticity.  By achieving a deeper understanding of how store-operated channels work, we aim to uncover new strategies for treating a wide variety of human health disorders including autoimmune disease.