Torben Neelands

Research Interests:

My entire research career has been focused on the functional and pharmacological properties of ion channels using patch-clamp electrophysiology.  It all started when I started a rotation in graduate school in the laboratory of Robert Macdonald at the University of Michigan recording GABAA chloride channels and voltage-gated Calcium channels (VGCC) expressed in transiently transfected cells and naturally occurring in NT2-N cells (a human neuronal cell line).  As a Post-Doc at OHSU in Portland, Oregon, I studied calcium activated Potassium channels (SK) in skeletal myocytes and expressed in Xenopus oocytes.  I then began a career in the pharmaceutical industry, first at BMS in Connecticut, then at Abbott/AbbVie Labs in Illinois.  In the nearly 20 years working in these corporate settings I primarily worked on trying to discover novel pain therapeutics.  In collaboration with medicinal chemists and other electrophysiologists, molecular and behavioral scientists we developed small molecular compounds (mostly inhibitors) targeting various ion channels including: TRPV1, TRPA1, TRPV3, VGCC, voltage-gated Sodium channels, ASICs, P2X receptors, etc.  In the last few years of my research at AbbVie I joined a team working on CFTR channels trying to provide an alternative set of modifiers and correctors of this protein to treat Cystic Fibrosis.  One of the triple drug combinations that were developed by this team are currently in clinical trials to determine the efficacy in humans relative to the combination developed and marketed by Vertex.  At the beginning of 2020, just prior to the total shutdown due to Covid-19, I retired from AbbVie.  Recently I moved to the region and was fortunate to find a part-time position in the Maduke lab where I can get back to where I started my scientific journey: studying Chloride channels!

Favorite ice cream flavor: Raspberry chocolate chip (Kimbal Farms, Carlisle, MA)

Favorite movie: Rear Window

Hometown: Ann Arbor, MI

Hobby: Woodworking, playing guitar, gardening, baking, walking our two dogs

Favorite Wu-Tang Member: How can I pick one??? Actually, I never got into their music.

Contact: torben68 at stanford dot edu