Robert Farley

Robert Farley is a professor of physiology and biophysics at the Keck School of Medicine in the department of physiology and neuroscience. The Farley lab, supported by grants from the National Science Foundation-sponsored Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment, is devoted to understanding the mechanisms that cells have developed to move ions and small molecules across cell membranes. This work has implications for better understanding specific forms of neurological disorders such as severe early onset epilepsy.

For more than twenty-five years, the Farley lab has been using methods of protein chemistry, electrophysiology, molecular biology, and experimental biophysics to investigate mechanisms of proteins like the P-type ATPases NA,K-ATPase, Ca-ATPase, and gastric H,K-ATPase (the neurotransmitter transporters for serotonin and GABA), and the small pepite transporter PepT1. More recently, the lab’s primary investigative tool has been molecular dynamics simulation of the mechanisms of these transporters and of ion-selective ion channels. Working with collaborators at USC, the University of Calgary, and the University of Pennsylvania, the Farley lab has developed new non-equilibrium simulation methods to study the mechanisms that ion channels use to a) allow certain ions to permeate through the channel, and b) exclude other ions with similar properties.

HPC has been critical to this work, assisting with traditional experimental methods and mechanistic modeling. The lab has benefited both from access to the computing resources at HPC and from the HPC staff’s assistance and advice.

Farley is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has been an established investigator of the American Heart Association, and is the recipient of several awards for distinguished teaching at Keck. He also holds appointments in the department of biochemistry and molecular medicine at Keck and in the department of physics and astronomy in the USC Dornsife School of Letters, Arts and Sciences.