Neuroscience in Denmark

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General information

Name (center, department, group or other)
Pless Lab (Center for Biopharmaceuticals, Dep. of Drug Design & Pharmacology, UCPH)
Contact name
Stephan Alexander Pless
Contact email
Contact title
University of Copenhagen
25. January 2016

Brief description of research activities

Our primary research focus is to develop and employ cutting edge approaches to study ion channels, membrane proteins that are critical players within the nervous system. In particular, we use a combination of synthetic amino acids and fluorescence spectroscopy to study different aspects of the molecular structure & function, as well as pharmacology of a diverse set of ion channels. This provided novel insights into 1) how drugs bind to ion channels, 2) how conformational changes in protein structure relate to protein function and 3) how intra- and intermolecular interactions can fine-tune protein function and pharmacology. These unique approaches allow insight into the atomic-level function and pharmacology of physiologically relevant membrane proteins in living cells and in real time.


Ion channels
Unnatural amino acids
Chemical biology
Molecular pharmacology
Fluorescence spectroscopy

Research tools and techniques

Incorporation of unnatural amino acids
Patch-clamp fluorometry
Voltage-clamp fluorometry
Molecular biology

Scientific Personnel

No of Associate Professors/Postdocs: 2
No of PhD students: 4
Other: 4

Key references from within the last 5 years

Kim, R.Y., Yau, M.C., Galpin, J.D., Seebohm, G., Ahern, C.A., Pless, S.A., Kurata, H.T., “Atomic basis for therapeutic activation of neuronal potassium channels”, Nature Communications, 2015, 6:8116. doi: 10.1038/ncomms9116

Pless, S.A., Galpin, J.D., Niciforovic, A.P., Kurata, H.T., Ahern, C.A.; “Hydrogen bonds as molecular timers for slow inactivation in voltage-gated potassium channels”, eLife, 2013, 2:e01289. doi: 10.7554/eLife.01289

Pless, S.A., Niciforovic, A.P., Nunez, J.J., Galpin, J.D., Kurata, H.T., Ahern, C.A.; “A novel mechanism for fine-tuning open state stability in a voltage-gated potassium channel”; Nature Communications, 2013, 4:1784. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2761

Pless, S.A., Galpin, J.D., Niciforovic, A.P., Ahern, C.A.; “Contributions of counter charge in a potassium channel voltage sensor”; cover article in Nature Chemical Biology, 2011, 7(9):617-23. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.622

Pless, S.A., Galpin, J.D., Frankel, A., Ahern, C.A.; “Molecular basis for inhibition of cardiac sodium channels by class Ib anti-arrhythmic drugs”; Nature Communications, 2011, 2:351. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1351

Scherfigsvej 7
2100 Copenhagen Ø
Tel. +45 39 12 80 00
CVR-nr. 11 81 49 13
Nils Axelsen Ralf Hemmingsen Lauritz Holm-Nielsen Ralf Hemmingsen Jens Oddershede Jens Frederik Rehfeld Anders Bjørklund