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

  • Dopico AM, Bukiya AN, Martin GE. Ethanol modulation of mammalian BK channels in excitable tissues: molecular targets and their possible contribution to alcohol-induced altered behavior. Front Physiol. 2014 Dec 2;5:466. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2014.00466. eCollection 2014. Review. PubMed PMID: 25538625; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4256990.
  • McMillan JE, Bukiya AN, Terrell CL, Patil SA, Miller DD, Dopico AM, Parrill AL. Multi-generational pharmacophore modeling for ligands to the cholane steroid-recognition site in the β₁ modulatory subunit of the BKCa channel. J Mol Graph Model. 2014 Nov;54:174-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jmgm.2014.10.008. Epub 2014 Oct 24. PubMed PMID: 25459769; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4268273.
  • Bukiya AN, McMillan J, Liu J, Shivakumar B, Parrill AL, Dopico AM. Activation of calcium- and voltage-gated potassium channels of large conductance by leukotriene B4. J Biol Chem. 2014 Dec 19;289(51):35314-25. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.577825. Epub 2014 Nov 4. PubMed PMID: 25371198; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4271218.
  • 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.

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