The Department of Biophysics and Molecular Physiology is a joint department of KAU and the Bogomoletz Institute of Physiology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

The Department provides Master’s and PhD research-intensive education programs on contemporary areas of fundamental biophysics, molecular physiology and neurophysiology. The specialisation 105 - Applied Physics and Nanomaterials - includes such modern areas as molecular biophysics, neuromuscular physiology, molecular pathophysiology, intercellular signaling, genetics, sensory signaling. 

Master students participate directly in research work from the 1st year of their study (50% of time), and during the 2nd year they work exclusively on their diploma projects. The most motivated students can be employed in the laboratory already from the first year of the studies, and be involved in international projects. After completing a master's degree, such students have a priority right to enter the educational program of PhD. As for PhDs, the department guarantees employment in the best laboratories in Europe and the United States. 

Research at the Department is conducted in the following departments of the Institute of Physiology:

Molecular Biophysics

In our work, we try to understand how individual neurons and small neural networks function in the brain structure under normal and pathological conditions. The main research areas of the Department of Molecular Biophysics in recent years have been the mechanisms of signaling of neuronal calcium sensor proteins, evaluation of inhibitory synaptic receptor parameters as well as peripheral and central mechanisms of neuropathic pain. In experiments we use neurons that are isolated or in culture, as well as sections of the brain and intact spinal cord. We use the following modern experimental methods in research: optical (digital and confocal microscopy), electrophysiological (microelectrodes, iontophoresis, patch-clamp), genetic (transfection, infection, site-directed mutagenesis), and mathematical (mathematical modeling, mathematical statistics). 

The Department conducts joint research and has joint grants with many domestic and foreign laboratories. Our partners are:

Our projects are supported by the following grants:

  • “New nanomaterials and nanotechnologies” NASU (#67/15-Н) - 01/01/2015–12/31/2019
  • “Studies of genetically-determined molecular mechanisms of inter- and intracellular signaling in normal and pathological conditions” NASU (# ІІ - 1- 12) - 01/01/2017–12/31/2022
  • “The Role of the Complement System in Spinal Mechanisms of Chronic Pain” The National Institutes of Health of USA (1R01NS113189-01) - 06/15/2019 – 05/31/2024
  • “Pan-European twinning to re-establish world-level Neuroscience Centre in Kiev (NEUROTWIN)” Horizon 2020 Framework Programme (857562 — NEUROTWIN) - 01/08/2019 – 31/07/2022

Neuromuscular Physiology

The Department of Neuromuscular Physiology is focused on research connected with the molecular mechanisms of function and regulation of ion channels and how they are involved in pathological processes such as cancer, epilepsy and diabetes. 

We try to understand how changes in the functioning of ion channels affect the pathophysiological characteristics of various cells and tissues, which are signs of these diseases, and on the basis of this understanding we try to make practical recommendations for the possible use of ion channels as therapeutic targets.

Our efforts in recent years are aimed at making the most significant possible contribution to the understanding of the pathophysiological role of ion channels on the basis of animal and cell models of diabetes, cancer and epilepsy using the methods of electrophysiology, fluorescence microscopy, molecular biology, immunochemistry in the following projects:

  • Involvement of ion channels and calcium signaling in malignant transformation of a cell and carcinogenesis.
  • The role of thermo- and mechanically sensitive ion channels in the functioning of smooth muscles of the organs of the genitourinary system.
  • The effect of diabetes on neuromuscular transmission of excitation contraction in smooth muscles of the genitourinary system.
  • Ion channels as targets of modulatory action of endogenous (endocannabinoids) and exogenous (potassium channel activators) factors.
  • Expression, biophysical properties, pharmacology and epigenetic regulation of low-threshold calcium channels in normal and experimental absence epilepsy.

Molecular Pathophysiology

Our main scientific interest is to understand the molecular mechanisms of diseases, especially cardiovascular ones. We use experimental systems of various levels - from isolated organelles to the whole organism, and a wide range of methods: registration of cardiac hemodynamics, biochemical reactions, immunofluorescence and electron microscopy, RNA interference, qPCR, unicellular RT-PCR and many others. We use these approaches to understand cardiovascular pathology and develop new therapies. Additionally, we conduct population, functional, sports genetics and pharmacogenetics studies. We use modern data analysis methods (MDR, random forest and others) to obtain more valuable results from our experimental data. Our friendly team is open for cooperation!

Sensory Signaling 

At the Department we study the molecular mechanisms of acute and chronic pain. The main purpose of the research is to better understand the functioning of nociceptive (pain) neurons of the posterior root ganglia and neurons of the posterior horn of the spinal cord in different models of neuropathic and inflammatory pain. Understanding the functions of calcium-regulating systems and ion channels in these neurons is extremely important for the development of new approaches in the treatment of pain of various origins.

The Department uses the latest equipment for simultaneous measurement of intracellular concentration of calcium ions and transmembrane currents, as well as methods for studying the behavioral responses of animals. This allows us to study the relationship between changes in molecular mechanisms at the cellular level with certain disorders of sensory sensitivity of animals at the organism level.

The Department conducts joint research and has joint grants with many domestic and foreign laboratories. Our partners are:

Our projects are supported by the following grants:

  • “Development of the new analgesics based on inhibitors of calcium-permeable AMPA receptors” NASU (№ ІІ-3-15) - 01/01/2015–12/31/2019
  • “Studies of genetically-determined molecular mechanisms of inter- and intracellular signaling in normal and pathological conditions” NASU (# ІІ - 1- 12) - 01/01/2017–12/31/2022
  • “The Role of the Complement System in Spinal Mechanisms of Chronic Pain” The National Institutes of Health of USA (1R01NS113189-01) - 06/15/2019 – 05/31/2024
  • “Pan-European twinning to re-establish world-level Neuroscience Centre in Kiev (NEUROTWIN)” Horizon 2020 Framework Programme (857562 — NEUROTWIN) - 01/08/2019 – 31/07/2022

The department collaborates with University College of London (London, UK), University of Iowa (Iowa City, USA), École Polytechnique CNRS (Paris, France), Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA), University of Liverpool (Liverpool, UK), Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology (Porto, Portugal), University of Lille (Lille, France)