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Neuroscience Center Biography ‎

Founding the Neuroscience lab will give An-Najah University the opportunity to be the ‎first university in Palestine and even Arab world to preform such an advance ‎Neuroscience research.

Dr. Mohammad Qneibi, Lab founder and Principal Investigator will help the University to Pursue vital research programs that try to ‎comprehend how complex neural circuits are shaped and reshaped through the ‎development of the brain. Dr. Qneibi’s lab will contribute to global progress in brain ‎science and establish the An-Najah University as one of the world’s leading ‎neuroscience centers. With outstanding faculty recruits, talented students, state-of-the-‎art equipment, and modern new facilities, the lab, together with established ‎neuroscientists at the An-Najah University will have a major role in generating ‎significant intellectual home for cutting-edge Neuroscience research. Moreover, An-‎Najah University will be the first institution in Palestine and even Arab universities to ‎have a neuroscience lab that can investigate neurological diseases at the molecular level ‎by using state-of-art techniques such as electrophysiology. Our future studies might ‎represent novel therapeutic targets to treat various neurological diseases such as ‎neurodegeneration, disorders of cognitive function, epilepsy, Parkinson’s and ‎psychiatric disorder. ‎

Dr. Mohammad Qneibi’s research will concern the membrane proteins on the cell ‎surface. The activity of virtually every cell is regulated by extracellular signals, such as ‎neurotransmitters, hormones, and sensory stimuli. These signals are transmitted into the ‎cell interior via membrane receptor proteins. Understanding how these membrane ‎proteins mediate signal transmission and transduction is the primary research interest in ‎my laboratory. In particular, we are interested in the structure and function relationship, ‎the kinetic and molecular mechanism of protein function by protein-protein and protein-‎drug interactions. We also attempt to develop better inhibitor/potentiators to regulate ‎membrane protein functions. In the long term, we hope that our research will provide ‎not only insight into the mechanisms of action of these molecular machines, but also ‎clues for the design of molecular devices which can be used (i) for studying signal ‎transduction pathways and (ii) as diagnostic/detection tools for disease treatment. We ‎use an interdisciplinary approach in our research, including rapid kinetic techniques ‎suitable for membrane proteins, biochemical and biophysical chemistry, molecular ‎biology, electrophysiology, and neuroscience.‎

The research centers on glutamate ion channel receptors (GluRs). These receptors ‎mediate synaptic neurotransmission and are indispensable in the brain activity, such as ‎memory and learning. Upon binding to glutamate, the glutamate receptor rapidly ‎changes its conformation and opens its ion channel pore to allow small cations such as ‎sodium ions to flow across the cellular membrane, thus transmitting an electrical signal ‎between neurons. Because the receptor channel opens in the microsecond second time region and desensitizes even in the millisecond (ms) time domain, a rapid kinetic ‎technique must be used that not only has a sufficient time resolution but also is suitable ‎for studying these channel proteins embedded in the membrane. We use a fast exchange ‎solution (i.e., piezo device) technique, which permits glutamate to bind to the receptor ‎with a time constant of ~30 μs. This technique, combined with electrophysiological ‎recordings, serves as a unique functional tool so that we can investigate the mechanism ‎of channel formation, inhibition and regulation within the μs-to-ms time domain. ‎

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