The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) has recognized Dr. Vivas as one of the nation’s highly talented and promising investigators to receive a 2021 Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA). The award will provide five years of significant funding for Dr. Vivas’ laboratory’s research. The goals of the MIRA program are to provide investigators with stability and flexibility to enhance scientific productivity and the chances for important breakthroughs.
Dr. Vivas’ MIRA will support his work on clustering of BK and calcium channels. Named after their “big potassium (K+)” conductance, BK channels play vital roles in the function of the nervous, gastrointestinal, reproductive, endocrine, lymphatic, skeletal muscle, and cardiovascular systems. BK channel mutations also underlie human diseases characterized by neurodevelopmental delay, seizures, and movement disorders. Work in the Vivas laboratory aims to understand how BK channels cluster near calcium sources and how their clustering modulates channel function in health and disease.