Our Research

Dr. Benson's research interests include the study of ion channels involved in sensation. We have focused on a class of ion channels called Acid-sensing Ion Channels (ASICs), which play a role in responses to nociceptive, taste, and mechanical stimuli. We have discovered that ASICs are highly expressed in cardiac sensory neurons and we believe they are particularly important as pH sensors in the setting of myocardial ischemia. ASICs also function as metabolic sensors in skeletal muscle sensory neurons, and we have been studying their role in exercise. In addition, we are interested in how cardiac afferent activation might trigger deleterious neural reflexes in cardiac disease states. Our lab is also interested on the general physiology of ASIC channels, and has discovered several proteins and signaling pathways that modulate ASIC function. Our research methods utilize electrophysiology, whole animal recordings, molecular and cell biology, and protein biochemistry techniques.

Key Collaborators

Key Collaborators

Recent Publications


Paradoxical Potentiation of Acid-Sensing Ion Channel 3 (ASIC3) by Amiloride via Multiple Mechanisms and Sites Within the Channel. Matasic DS, Holland N, Gautam M, Gibbons DD, Kusama N, Harding AMS, Shah VS, Snyder PM, Benson CJ. Front Physiol. Doi: 10.3389/fphys.2021.750696. Epub 2021 Oct 15.

Comparison of murine behavioural and physiological responses after forced exercise by electrical shock versus manual prodding. Khataei T, Romig-Martin SA, Harding AMS, Radley JJ, Benson CJ. Exp Physiol. 2021 Apr;106(4):812-819. doi: 10.1113/EP089117. Epub 2021 Feb 15.PMID: 33527606


ASICs are required for immediate exercise-induced muscle pain and are downregulated in sensory neurons by exercise training. Khataei T, Harding AMS, Janahmadi M, El-Geneidy M, Agha-Alinejad H, Rajabi H, Snyder PM, Sluka KA, Benson CJ. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2020 Jul 1;129(1):17-26. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00033.2020. Epub 2020 May 28.PMID: 32463731 


TMEM16B determines cholecystokinin sensitivity of intestinal vagal afferents of nodose neurons. Wang R, Lu Y, Cicha MZ, Singh MV, Benson CJ, Madden CJ, Chapleau MW, Abboud FM. JCI Insight. 2019 Mar 7;4(5):e122058. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.122058. eCollection 2019 Mar 7.PMID: 30843875 


Acid Sensing Ion Channel 1a (ASIC1a) Mediates Activity-induced Pain by Modulation of Heteromeric ASIC Channel Kinetics. Gregory NS, Gautam M, Benson CJ, Sluka KA. Neuroscience. 2018 Aug 21;386:166-174. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2018.06.033. Epub 2018 Jun 30.PMID: 29964154


MG53 is dispensable for T-tubule maturation but critical for maintaining T-tubule integrity following cardiac stress. Zhang C, Chen B, Wang Y, Guo A, Tang Y, Khataei T, Shi Y, Kutschke WJ, Zimmerman K, Weiss RM, Liu J, Benson CJ, Hong J, Ma J, Song LS. J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2017 Aug 16. pii: S0022-2828(17)30288-2. doi: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2017.08.007. 

The volume-regulated anion channel (LRRC8) in nodose neurons is sensitive to acidic pH. Wang R, Lu Y, Gunasekar S, Zhang Y, Benson CJ, Chapleau MW, Sah R, Abboud FM. JCI Insight. 2017 Mar 9;2(5):e90632. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.90632.

Treatment persistence and hospitalization rates among patients with schizophrenia: a quasi-experiment to evaluate a patient information program. Pilon D, Amos TB, Germain G, Lafeuille MH, Lefebvre P, Benson CJ. Curr Med Res Opin. 2017 Apr;33(4):713-721. doi: 10.1080/03007995.2016.1277989.


Heart failure induces changes in acid-sensing ion channels in sensory neurons innervating skeletal muscle. Gibbons DD, Kutschke WJ, Weiss RM, Benson CJ. J Physiol. 2015 Oct 15;593(20):4575-87.

ASICs and cardiovascular homeostasis. Abboud FM, Benson CJ. Neuropharmacology. 2015 Jul;94:87-98.  Review


Intersubunit conformational changes mediate epithelial sodium channel gating. Collier DM, Tomkovicz VR, Peterson ZJ, Benson CJ, Snyder PM. J Gen Physiol. 2014 Oct;144(4):337-48.

ASIC2 subunits facilitate expression at the cell surface and confer regulation by PSD-95. Harding AM, Kusama N, Hattori T, Gautam M, Benson CJ. PLoS One. 2014 Apr 3;9(4):e93797.

All Publications

See Dr. Benson's complete list of publications on PubMed.

Contact the Benson Lab

Eckstein Medical Research Building

Medical Laboratories

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Campus Map | Directions

Office Location:

Office Location:
E315 GH
Iowa City, IA 52246

Ph: 319-356-4991

Lab Location:

Lab Location:
3180 ML
Iowa City, IA 52246

Ph: 319-335-8412