Skip Navigation
  Search Menu
Find an Expert


Frank Bosmans, M.S., Pharm.D.

Photo of Dr. Frank Bosmans, M.S., Pharm.D.

Associate Professor of Physiology

Research Interests: Voltage-gated sodium channels

Contact for Research Inquiries

725 N Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21205 map


Dr. Frank Bosmans is an assistant professor of physiology and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. His research focuses on voltage-gated sodium channels.

His lab discovered that auxiliary “helper” proteins influence sodium channels, a finding that could help drug development for epilepsy, neurological diseases, muscular disorders and pain syndromes.

Dr. Bosmans' team is currently investigating the molecular organization and pharmacological properties of the voltage-gated sodium channel signaling complex.

Dr. Bosmans received his B.S., M.S. and Pharm.D. degrees from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. He was a post-doctoral fellow at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, where he studied ion channel structure and function. Dr. Bosmans joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2012.

He serves on the editorial board of the neuroscience division of Scientific Reports and is a member of the American Heart Association and the Society of General Physiologists. more


  • Associate Professor of Physiology
  • Associate Professor of Neuroscience

Departments / Divisions



  • B.S., Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium) (1996)
  • M.S., Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium) (1999)
  • Pharm.D., Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium) (2005)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Voltage-activated sodium (Nav) channels are found throughout the human body, where they form the cornerstones of fast electrical signaling by regulating the Na+ permeability of the cell membrane. As such, Nav channels are among the most widely targeted ion channels by both drugs and animal toxins. Their medical relevance is underscored by mutations that underlie debilitating disorders such as epilepsy, muscle weakness, cardiac arrhythmias and pain syndromes. Despite their physiological importance, scientists' understanding of these channels is hampered by a lack of insight into their complex structures and working mechanisms. Rather than existing as independent units, Nav channels are part of a signaling complex that involves auxiliary proteins and membrane lipids.

Dr. Bosmans' goal is to address fundamental questions on the identities of the Nav channel signaling complex components and to resolve their mechanisms of action at the molecular level. To this end, his research team combines several techniques, including molecular biology, electrophysiology, genetics and biochemistry. Successful completion of these goals will reveal key elements in the Nav channel signaling complex, help define Nav channel function in normal and pathological states, and may offer novel strategies for developing therapeutic drugs.


Dr. Bosmans’ laboratory efforts focus on advancing our structural and mechanistic understanding of ion channels and their relationship to auxiliary subunits found in human tissues. One of their central goals is to obtain thorough insights into the sodium channel complex in vivo and how aberrant channel behavior results in epilepsy and pain.

Selected Publications

1. From Foe to Friend: Using Animal Toxins to Investigate Ion Channel Function. Kalia J, Milescu M, Salvatierra J, Wagner J, Klint JK, King GF, Olivera BM, Bosmans F. J Mol Biol. 2014 Aug 1. pii: S0022-2836(14)00394-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2014.07.027. [Epub ahead of print] Review.

2. A distinct sodium channel voltage-sensor locus determines insect selectivity of the spider toxin Dc1a. Bende NS, Dziemborowicz S, Mobli M, Herzig V, Gilchrist J, Wagner J, Nicholson GM, King GF,Bosmans F. Nat Commun. 2014 Jul 11;5:4350. doi: 10.1038/ncomms5350.

3. Animal toxins influence voltage-gated sodium channel function. Gilchrist J, Olivera BM, Bosmans F. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2014;221:203-29. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-41588-3_10. Review.
4. Nav1.1 modulation by a novel triazole compound attenuates epileptic seizures in rodents. Gilchrist J, Dutton S, Diaz-Bustamante M, McPherson A, Olivares N, Kalia J, Escayg A, Bosmans F.

5. A first exploration of the venom of the Buthus occitanus scorpion found in southern France. Martin-Eauclaire MF, Bosmans F, Céard B, Diochot S, Bougis PE. Toxicon. 2014 Mar;79:55-63. doi: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2014.01.002. Epub 2014 Jan 10.

6. New rule(r)s for FRET. Bosmans F. Biophys J. 2013 Dec 17;105(12):2619-20. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2013.11.011. No abstract available.

7. Gilchrist J, Das S, Van Petegem F, Bosmans F. "Crystallographic insights into sodium-channel modulation by the β4 subunit." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Dec 17;110(51):E5016-24. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1314557110.

8. Gilchrist J, Bosmans F. "Animal toxins can alter the function of Nav1.8 and Nav1.9." Toxins (Basel). 2012 Aug;4(8):620-32. Epub 2012 Aug 14. Review.

9. Bosmans F, Milescu M, Swartz KJ. "Palmitoylation influences the function and pharmacology of sodium channels." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Dec 13;108(50):20213-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1108497108. Epub 2011 Nov 28.

10. Bosmans F, Puopolo M, Martin-Eauclaire MF, Bean BP, Swartz KJ. "Functional properties and toxin pharmacology of a dorsal root ganglion sodium channel viewed through its voltage sensors." J Gen Physiol. 2011 Jul;138(1):59-72. doi: 10.1085/jgp.201110614. Epub 2011 Jun 13.

11. Bosmans F, Swartz KJ. "Targeting voltage sensors in sodium channels with spider toxins." Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2010 Apr;31(4):175-82. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2010 Jan 25. Review.

12. Bosmans F, Martin-Eauclaire MF, Swartz KJ. "Deconstructing voltage sensor function and pharmacology in sodium channels." Nature. 2008 Nov 13;456(7219):202-8. doi: 10.1038/nature07473.

13. Milescu M, Bosmans F, Lee S, Alabi AA, Kim JI, Swartz KJ. "Interactions between lipids and voltage sensor paddles detected with tarantula toxins." Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2009 Oct;16(10):1080-5. doi: 10.1038/nsmb.1679. Epub 2009 Sep 27.

Activities & Honors


  • Winner of Innocentive® Challenge #7435556, 2009
  • Honorary Fellow for postdoctoral research in the USA, B.A.E.F. , 2006 - 2007


  • American Heart Association, 2012
  • Biophysical Society, 2001
  • Biophysical Society Early Career Members Committee, 2014
  • International Society of Toxinology, 2001
  • Society of General Physiologists, 2010

Professional Activities

  • Editorial Board, Scientific Reports, 2011

Videos & Media

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

Frank Bosmans on Using Toxins to Study Nerve Cells. (Funamentals)

Is this you? Edit Profile