Frances Plane

Dr Frances Plane    

Associate Professor

PhD Pharmacology, University of London, London, U.K., 1992

Contact Information:
Office: 9-62A Medical Sciences Bldg
Lab: 9-62 Medical Sciences Bldg


Teaching: PMCOL425

Currently hold NSERC Discovery Grant and Research Grant from Marshall Eliuk Fund for Medical Research


Research: Endothelial ion channels as drug targets for the treatment of cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular Research Institute

Research Interests / Laboratory Techniques

The goal of our research is to understand how blood vessels function under normal and disease conditions with the aim of developing strategies to overcome the vascular dysfunction that contributes to clinical outcomes in pathological states such as diabetes.

The diameter of small blood vessels, resistance arteries, is the main factor determining arterial blood pressure, local blood flow and tissue perfusion, and so must be tightly controlled. The two main cell types that make up blood vessels are the endothelial cells lining the lumen and the smooth muscle cells which make up the vessel wall. Communication between these two cell types is crucial for the appropriate regulation of resistance artery diameter: endothelial cells regulate the contractile state of the surrounding smooth muscle cells via the release of diffusible factors, such as nitric oxide, and by direct electrical coupling with smooth muscle cells via myoendothelial gap junctions. Disruption of endothelial-smooth muscle cell communication is a hallmark of cardiovascular disease contributing to clinical manifestations such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, thrombosis and loss of limbs. Indeed, impairment of endothelium-dependent vasodilation can be used to identify individuals at increased risk for future cardiovascular events providing a "barometer" for vascular health.

We are currently using a combination of functional, electrophysiological and molecular techniques to further elucidate how endothelial and smooth muscle cells interact to regulate resistance artery diameter and to identify novel therapeutic targets to restore endothelial function in disease. Our current focus is on endothelial dysfunction associated with metabolic diseases.

Selected Recent Publications

1. Back V, Asgari A, Franczak A, Saito M, Castaneda Zaragoza D, Sandow SL, Plane F, Jurasz P. Inhibition of platelet aggregation by activation of platelet intermediate conductance Ca2+ -activated potassium channels. J Thromb Haemost. 2022 Nov;20(11):2587-2600. doi: 10.1111/jth.15827. Epub 2022 Aug 7. PMID: 35867883