Alex M. Dopico, M. D., Ph.D.

Alex M. Dopico, M. D., Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor

Department of Pharmacology

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
874 Union Avenue
Memphis, TN 38163
Tel: (901) 448-3822 (office)
448-1695 (lab)
Fax: (508) 448-7206
Lab: 201 Crowe Research Building
Email: Alex M. Dopico


  • Ph.D. Institution: University of Buenos Aires (UBA)
  • Postdoctoral: University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), Department of Physiology; University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), Department of Pharmacology


Pharmacology - Alex M. Dopico

Research Interests

The laboratory is interested in determining the molecular mechanism of the action of alcohol and other small amphiphiles on ion channel function, and its modulation by membrane lipids. We explore drug action on the function of channels in freshly isolated cells, following heterologous expression of channel proteins cloned from brain and cerebrovascular vessels, and/or incorporating ion channels into artificial lipid bilayers, where lipid composition can be controlled. Electrophysiological studies of mutagenized channel proteins allow us to probe selective regions of the channel as specific recognition sites for drug action.

Representative Publications

  • Kuntamallappanavar G, Toro L, Dopico AM. Both Transmembrane Domains of BK β1 Subunits Are Essential to Confer the Normal Phenotype of β1-Containing BK Channels. PLoS One. 2014 Oct 2;9(10):e109306. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0109306. eCollection 2014. PubMed PMID: 25275635; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4183656.
  • Dopico AM, Bukiya AN. Lipid regulation of BK channel function. Front Physiol. 2014 Aug 22;5:312. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2014.00312. eCollection 2014. Review. PubMed PMID: 25202277; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4141547.
  • Bukiya AN, Kuntamallappanavar G, Edwards J, Singh AK, Shivakumar B, Dopico AM. An alcohol-sensing site in the calcium- and voltage-gated, large conductance potassium (BK) channel. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jun 24;111(25):9313-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1317363111. Epub 2014 Jun 9. PubMed PMID: 24927535; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4078796.
  • Ye Y, Jian K, Jaggar JH, Bukiya AN, Dopico AM. Type 2 ryanodine receptors are highly sensitive to alcohol. FEBS Lett. 2014 May 2;588(9):1659-65. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2014.03.005. Epub 2014 Mar 12. PubMed PMID: 24631538; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4193545.
  • Bukiya A, Dopico AM, Leffler CW, Fedinec A. Dietary cholesterol protects against alcohol-induced cerebral artery constriction. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2014 May;38(5):1216-26. doi: 10.1111/acer.12373. Epub 2014 Mar 3. PubMed PMID: 24588122; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4010119.
  • Bukiya AN, McMillan JE, Fedinec AL, Patil SA, Miller DD, Leffler CW, Parrill AL, Dopico AM. Cerebrovascular dilation via selective targeting of the cholane steroid-recognition site in the BK channel β1-subunit by a novel nonsteroidal agent. Mol Pharmacol. 2013 May;83(5):1030-44. doi: 10.1124/mol.112.083519. Epub 2013 Mar 1. PubMed PMID: 23455312; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3629834.

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