Our aim is to "develop chemistry to understand biology" by the invention of chemical and biochemical tools that can increase our understanding of biological mechanisms, and establish how intervention could treat diseases.
Much of the work in the group is based on modern organic synthesis methods whether small molecules or peptides are created. Analytical methods like NMR and LC-MS are employed to monitor and understand the outcome of our reactions. When appropriate we employ pharmacological assays and molecular modeling in the research.
We focus on modulating the action of neurotransmitters in the central nervous system, and modulating epigenetic mechanisms. The projects are medicinal chemistry projects involving both small molecule organic synthesis, and peptide chemistry. They are interdisciplinary, involving collaboration with experts in pharmacology, structural biology and molecular modeling.
Through the design and organic synthesis of small molecules that interacts with receptors for the neurotransmitter glutamate, we are developing highly selective compounds by changing the chemical structure and studying the structure activity relationships. Compounds should ultimately modulate individual cloned subtypes of glutamate receptors, but strategies for region selective modulation (but subtype-unselective) are also pursued. We have been succesful in developing selective compounds for NMDA and AMPA receptors that may help us understand how these receptors are involved in brain disorders, like schizophrenia, depression, etc. The group is also involved in development of selective GABA reuptake inhibitors, and tool compounds for understanding GHB pharmacology.