Kristen M.S. O'Connell, Ph.D.

Kristen Connell

Associate Professor
Phone: 901-448-2648
Fax: 901-448-7126
Lab Email:
Full CV


B.S., Villanova University
Ph.D., University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

Research Interest

At its root, obesity is caused by eating too much, but it is now apparent that obesity is associated with dysfunction in appetite circuits in the brain, especially in the hypothalamus, that regulate food intake and energy expenditure. However, precisely what has gone awry is still poorly understood. The focus of my lab is to understand the neural control of appetite and how diet and body weight affect the intrinsic properties of the neurons responsible for food intake.

We use both cellular and brain slice electrophysiology, live-cell imaging, confocal microscopy, behavioral assays, and transgenic models.


Research Support

 2006-2012, NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00), Cell Biology of Cardiac Ion Channels, P.I.

Selected Publications

1.  O'Connell, K.M., J.D. Whitesell, and M.M. Tamkun. 2008. Localization and mobility of the delayed-rectifer K+ channel Kv2.1 in adult cardiomyocytes. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 294:H229-237. 
2.  Tamkun, M.M., O'Connell K.M., and A.S. Rolig. 2007. A cytoskeletal-based perimeter fence selectively corrals a sub-population of cell surface Kv2.1 channels. J Cell Sci. 120:2413-2423. 
3.  O'Connell, K.M., A.S. Rolig, J.D. Whitesell, and M.M. Tamkun. 2006. Kv2.1 potassium channels are retained within dynamic cell surface microdomains that are defined by a perimeter fence. J Neurosci. 26:9609-9618. 
4.  O'Connell, K.M., and M.M. Tamkun. 2005. Targeting of voltage-gated potassium channel isoforms to distinct cell surface microdomains. J Cell Sci. 118:2155-2166. 
5.  O'Connell, K.M., J.R. Martens, and M.M. Tamkun. 2004. Localization of ion channels to lipid Raft domains within the cardiovascular system. Trends Cardiovasc Med. 14:37-42.