Bertil Hille
Get Bertil Hille essential facts below. View Videos or join the Bertil Hille discussion. Add Bertil Hille to your topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Bertil Hille

Bertil Hille (born October 10, 1940) is a professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Washington. He is particularly well known for his research and expertise on cell signalling by ion channels.


Early life and education

Hille was born in New Haven, Connecticut. His father is Carl Einar Hille, a Yale math professor and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He attended the Foote School and Westminster School (Connecticut) and received his B.S. summa cum laude in Zoology from Yale University (1962) and his Ph.D. in Life Sciences from The Rockefeller University (1967). During his PhD, Hille started his long-term collaboration with Clay Armstrong, who he shared many awards with several decades later. After completing his Ph.D, Hille did postdoc research with Sir Alan L. Hodgkin (1963 Nobel laureate for the basis of nerve action potentials) and Richard Keynes at the University of Cambridge, England.

Personal life

He is married to Merrill Burr Hille, Professor Emerita of Biology at the University of Washington, and has two sons, Erik Darwin Hille and Jon Trygve Grey.

Scientific contributions

Bertil Hille pioneered the concept of ion channels as membrane proteins forming gated aqueous pores (with Clay Armstrong). He showed that Na+ and K+ channels of axons can be distinguished by drugs such as tetrodotoxin and tetraethylammonium ion, and that their ionic selectivity can be understood by a limiting pore size, the selectivity filter, and by movements of ions through a series of saturable sites. He showed that local anesthetics enter Na+ channels in a state-dependent manner.

In 1984, Hille started a new direction of studying the modulation of ion channels by G protein-coupled receptors. He distinguished two new signaling pathways for excitable cells. A fast, pertussis toxin-sensitive pathway turned on inward rectifier K+ channels and turned off Ca2+ channels by G protein G subunits. A slow, pertussis toxin-insensitive pathway turned off some K+ and Ca2+ channels by depleting the plasma membrane phosphoinositides, phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2). New tools and findings from the Hille lab, together with the initial finding (1996) from Donald W. Hilgemann's lab at UT southwestern, demonstrated that PIP2 is an essential cofactor for many ion channels and transporters. The low-abundance signaling lipid PIP2 indeed plays a significant role in regulating neuronal and cardiac excitability.

In addition to his significant research contributions (~22,000 paper citations), he is the author of several editions of Ion Channels of Excitable Membranes, described as the widely used key textbook on ion channels.[1] Hille's book is known for its clarity and precise language, for its attention to the history of neural membrane research, and for the breadth and depth of its scientific coverage.

Hille has supervised and trained 18 PhD students and more than 50 postdoctoral fellows, most of whom have become major independent investigators in academia and industry.

Awards and distinctions


  1. ^ "Reviews: Ionic Channels of Excitable Membranes". Lukas K. Buehler. May 5, 2003. Retrieved 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Gairdner Award". Archived from the original on 1 August 2009. Retrieved 2010.
  3. ^ "The Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize for Biology Or Biochemistry". Retrieved 2010.
  4. ^ "Two Biophysicists Win Columbia's Horwitz Prize". Columbia University Record. October 11, 1996. Retrieved 2010.
  5. ^ "Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award". LASKER FOUNDATION. 2009. Retrieved 2010.
  6. ^ "Bertil Hille". National Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on 10 December 2012. Retrieved 2010.
  • Bertil Hille Ion channels of excitable membranes, 3rd ed., Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MA (2001). ISBN 0-87893-321-2

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes