Dr. Blount's research is aimed at determining molecular, biochemical, and biophysical mechanisms underlying an organisms’ ability to detect mechanical forces. Such mechanosensation is necessary not only in our sense of touch, but in the ear for hearing and balance, as well as cardiovascular regulation. Because of its tractability and simplicity, he has primarily studied mechanosensitive channels in bacteria.

Dr. Blount’s laboratory utilizes a multidisciplinary approach that includes microbial genetics, biochemical, biophysical and electrophysiological approaches to explore the general functional principles of biological mechanosensors.

His work has also recently expanded to include investigating the potential use of bacterial mechanosensors as potential drug targets, developing them into ‘triggered nanovalves’ that could be used in drug-release devices or “smart” contrasts for MRI, and the biophysical characterization of candidate mammalian mechanosensitive channels.


University of California-San D (1983)
Graduate School
Washington University (1990)

Research Interest

  • Bacterial channels
  • Mechanosensation
  • mechanosensitive channels
  • Microbial homeostasis
  • Osmoregulation


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Ion channels of microbes.
Saimi Y, Martinac B, Preston RR, Zhou XL, Sukharev S, Blount P, Kung C Soc. Gen. Physiol. Ser. 1994 49 179-95
Functional nonequivalence of structurally homologous domains of neurokinin-1 and neurokinin-2 type tachykinin receptors.
Blount P, Krause JE J. Biol. Chem. 1993 Aug 268 22 16388-95
Characterization of an adult muscle acetylcholine receptor subunit by expression in fibroblasts.
Blount P, Merlie JP J. Biol. Chem. 1991 Aug 266 22 14692-6
BIP associates with newly synthesized subunits of the mouse muscle nicotinic receptor.
Blount P, Merlie JP J. Cell Biol. 1991 Jun 113 5 1125-32
ACh receptor-rich membrane domains organized in fibroblasts by recombinant 43-kildalton protein.
Phillips WD, Kopta C, Blount P, Gardner PD, Steinbach JH, Merlie JP Science 1991 Feb 251 4993 568-70
Mutational analysis of muscle nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit assembly.
Blount P, Merlie JP J. Cell Biol. 1990 Dec 111 6 Pt 1 2613-22
Assembly intermediates of the mouse muscle nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in stably transfected fibroblasts.
Blount P, Smith MM, Merlie JP J. Cell Biol. 1990 Dec 111 6 Pt 1 2601-11
Molecular basis of the two nonequivalent ligand binding sites of the muscle nicotinic acetylcholine receptor.
Blount P, Merlie JP Neuron 1989 Sep 3 3 349-57
Native folding of an acetylcholine receptor alpha subunit expressed in the absence of other receptor subunits.
Blount P, Merlie JP J. Biol. Chem. 1988 Jan 263 2 1072-80


Featured Books Legend Featured Books

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • Member of the American Society for Microbiology
  • Member of the Biophysical Society