Rose Ellen Dixon, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
4453A Tupper Hall
Davis Campus

Research Interests

Research in my laboratory centers around a class of ion channel expressed in cardiac muscle (and all excitable cells) called CaV1.2. These L-type Ca2+ channels play an essential role in cardiac excitation-contraction coupling (EC coupling) and so it follows that any alterations in their activity or gating exerts profound effects on cardiac performance. My NIH-funded research team is currently implementing an integrative experimental approach to study the trafficking and regulation of cardiac voltage gated L-type CaV1.2 channels and excitation-contraction coupling in health and disease. These approaches include cutting-edge imaging modalities (including super-resolution single molecule localization microscopy), electrophysiology, optogenetics, and molecular biology. My lab is currently invested in two complementary areas of research: 1) Molecular choreography of CaV1.2 channels in the aging myocardium, and 2) Phosphoinositide regulation of CaV1.2 L-type calcium channels and EC-coupling in the heart. Our research agenda aims to deepen our understanding of the basic physiology underlying cardiac function and to generate new insights into several clinically relevant questions including why cardiac performance suffers with age, and how lipids contribute to the development of heart disease. In addition to our main research foci, my lab enjoys diverse collaborations locally, nationally, and internationally.

Specialties / Focus

Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Physiology

  • Cardiorespiratory Physiology
  • Cellular Physiology
  • Reproductive Physiology

Graduate Group Affiliations

An updated list of current publications: PubMed | Google Scholar

Tiscione SA, Casas M, Horvath JD, Lam V, Hino K, Ory DS, Santana LF, Simó S, Dixon RE, Dickson EJ. "IP3R-driven increases in mitochondrial Ca2+ promote neuronal death in NPC disease" 2021 Oct 5;118(40). doi: 10.1073/pnas.2110629118. PubMed PMID: 34580197.

Kutchukian C, Vivas O, Casas M, Jones JG, Tiscione SA, Simó S, Ory DS, Dixon RE, Dickson EJ. "NPC1 regulates the distribution of phosphatidylinositol 4-kinases at Golgi and lysosomal membranes". EMBO2021 Jul 1;40(13):e105990. doi: 10.15252/embj.2020105990. 

del Westhoff M, Dixon RE. "Mechanisms and Regulation of Cardiac CaV2 Trafficking". Int J Mol Sci. May 2021, 31;22(11). doi: 10.3390/ijms22115927.

del Villar S, Voelker TL, Westhoff M, Reddy G, Spooner HC, Navedo MF, Dickson EJ, and Dixon RE. "β-adrenergic control of sarcolemmal CaV2 abundance by small GTPase Rab proteins". PNAS. Feb 2021, 118 (7) e2017937118; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2017937118

Tiscione SA, Vivas O, Ginsburg KS, Bers DM, Ory DS, Santana LF, Dixon RE, Dickson EJ. "Disease-associated mutations in Niemann-Pick type C1 alter ER calcium signaling and neuronal plasticity". J Cell Biol. 2019 218(12):4141-4156. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201903018.

Sato D, Hernández-Hernández G, Matsumoto C, Tajada S, Moreno CM, Dixon RE, O'Dwyer S, Navedo MF, Trimmer JS, Clancy CE, Binder MD, Santana LF. "A stochastic model of ion channel cluster formation in the plasma membrane". J Gen Physiol. 2019 Sep 2;151(9):1116-1134. doi: 10.1085/jgp.201912327. Epub 2019 Aug 1. PMID: 31371391; PMCID: PMC6719406.

Vivas O, Tiscione S, Dixon RE, Ory DS, Dickson EJ. "Nieman-Pick Type C Disease reveals a link between lysosomal cholesterol and PtdIns(4,5)P2 that regulates neuronal excitability". Cell Rep. 2019 May; 27: 1-13. One of the figures from this publication was chosen as the ‘cover art’ for the issue.

Ito DW, Hannigan KI, Ghosh D, Xu B, Del Villar SG, Xiang YK, Dickson EJ, Navedo MF, Dixon RE. "β-adrenergic-mediated dynamic augmentation of sarcolemmal CaV2 clustering and co-operativity in ventricular myocytes". J Physiol. 2019 Apr;597(8):2139-2162. 

De La Mata A, Tajada S, O'Dwyer S, Matsumoto C, Dixon RE, Hariharan N, Moreno CM, Santana LF. "BIN1 Induces the Formation of T-Tubules and Adult-Like Ca2+ Release Units in Developing Cardiomyocytes". Stem Cells. 2019 Jan;37(1):54-64. doi: 10.1002/stem.2927.

Dixon RE. "The anti-arrhythmic drIP3from a leaky SR". J Physiol. 2018 Sep;596(18):4291-4293. doi: 10.1113/JP276793. 

Ghosh D, Nieves-Cintrón M, Tajada S, Brust-Mascher I, Horne MC, Hell JW, DixonRE, Santana LF, Navedo MF. "Dynamic L-type CaV2 channel trafficking facilitates CaV1.2 clustering and cooperative gating". Biochim Biophys Acta. 2018 Jun 27. pii: S0167-4889(18)30143-5. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2018.06.013.

Sato D, Dixon RE, Santana LF, Navedo MF. "A model for cooperative gating of L-type Ca2+ channels and its effects on cardiac alternans dynamics". PLoS Comput Biol. 2018 Jan 16;14(1):e1005906. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005906.

Dixon RE, Vivas O, Hannigan KI, Dickson EJ. "Ground State Depletion Super-Resolution Imaging in Mammalian Cells". J Vis Exp. 2017 Nov 5;(129). doi: 10.3791/56239.

Moreno CM, Dixon RE, Tajada S, Yuan C, Opitz-Araya X, Binder MD, Santana LF. "Ca2+ entry into neurons is facilitated by cooperative gating of clustered CaV3 channels". eLife 2016 May 17;5. doi: 10.7554/eLife.15744.

Dixon RE, Moreno CM, Yuan C, Opitz-Araya X, Binder MD, Navedo MF, Santana LF. "Graded Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent coupling of voltage-gated CaV2 channels". eLife 2015 Feb 25;4. doi: 10.7554/eLife.05608.

Drum BM, Dixon RE, Yuan C, Cheng EP, Santana LF. "Cellular mechanisms of ventricular arrhythmias in a mouse model of Timothy syndrome (long QT syndrome 8)". J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2014 Jan; 66: 63-71.

Dixon RE, Santana LF. "A Ca2+- and PKC-driven regulatory network in airway smooth muscle". J Gen Physiol. 2013 Feb; 141(2): 161-4.

Dixon RE, Cheng EP, Mercado JL, Santana LF. "L-type Ca2+ channel function during Timothy syndrome". Trends Cardiovasc Med. 2012 Apr; 22 (3): 72-6. One of the figures from this publication was chosen as the ‘cover art’ for the issue.

Dixon RE, Yuan C, Cheng EP, Navedo MF, Santana LF. "Ca2+ signaling amplification by oligomerization of L-type Cav2 channels". PNAS 2012 Jan 31; 109 (5): 1749-54. This publication was evaluated by Faculty of 1000 (F1000) and classified as a ‘must read’.

Dixon RE, Hennig GW, Baker SA, Britton FC, Harfe BD, Rock JR, Sanders KM, Ward SM. "Electrical slow waves in the mouse oviduct are dependent upon a calcium activated chloride conductance encoded by Tmem16a". Biol Reprod. 2012 Jan 19; 86 (1): 1-7.

Means CK, Lygren B, Langeberg LK, Jain A, Dixon RE, Vega AL, Gold MG, Petrosyan S, Taylor SS, Murphy AN, Ha T, Santana LF, Tasken K, Scott JD. "An entirely specific type I A-kinase anchoring protein that can sequester two molecules of protein kinase A at mitochondria". Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Nov 29; 108 (48): E1227-35.

Dixon RE, Britton FC, Baker SA, Hennig GW, Rollings CM, Sanders KM, Ward SM. "Electrical slow waves in the mouse oviduct are dependent upon extracellular and intracellular calcium sources". Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2011 Dec; 301 (6): C1458-69.

Cheng EP, Yuan C, Navedo MF, Dixon RE, Nieves-Cintron M, Scott JD, Santana LF. "Restoration of normal L-type Ca2+ channel function during Timothy syndrome by ablation of an anchoring protein". Circ Res. 2011 Jul 22; 109 (3): 255-61.

Dixon R, Hwang S, Britton F, Sanders K, Ward S. "Inhibitory effect of caffeine on pacemaker activity in the oviduct is mediated by cAMP-regulated conductances". Br J Pharmacol. 2011 Jun; 163 (4): 745-54.

Dixon RE, Ramsey KH, Schripsema JH, Sanders KM, Ward SM. "Time-dependent disruption of oviduct pacemaker cells by Chlamydia infection in mice". Biol Reprod. 2010 Aug 1; 83 (2): 244-53.

Dixon RE, Hwang SJ, Hennig GW, Ramsey KH, Schripsema JH, Sanders KM, Ward SM. "Chlamydia infection causes loss of pacemaker cells and inhibits oocyte transport in the mouse oviduct". Biol Reprod. 2009 Apr; 80 (4): 665-73.

Ward SM, Dixon RE, de Faoite A, Sanders KM. "Voltage-dependent calcium entry underlies propagation of slow waves in canine gastric antrum". J Physiol. 2004 Dec 15; 561 (Pt 3): 793-810.

Book Chapters

Dixon RE, Hwang SJ, Kim BH, Sanders KM, Ward SM. "Myosalpinx contractions are essential for egg transport along the oviduct and are disrupted in reproductive tract diseases". In: Smooth Muscle Spontaneous Activity. Editors: Hashitani H, Lang RJ. Publisher: Springer (2019). ISBN 978-981-13-5895-1

  • 2015 - AHA Scientist Development Grant
  • 2012 - FASEB Sizzling New Investigator Award
  • American Heart Association
  • Biophysical Society