Cecilie Thørring Bonnesen

Cecilie Thørring Bonnesen

Enrolled PhD student

The serotonin 5-HT2A receptor is a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) expressed widely throughout the central nervous system and is a validated drug target for many CNS-related disorders and hallucinogens. GPCRs signal through multiple transducers including G proteins, beta-arrestins, and G protein-coupled receptor kinases. Functionally selective agonists are biased towards a specific signaling pathway, and they are expected to be more precise in regulating biological functions of GPCRs. Functionally selective agonists as therapeutics can increase drug efficacy and reduce undesired side effects, making them new novel mechanisms for the design of safer drugs.

We aim to crystallize and determine structures of the serotonin 5-HT2A receptor in complex with functionally selective ligands to reveal the bioactive ligand conformation and receptor binding site layout. This would constitute the ideal basis for rational structure-based drug design.

During the first half of my PhD, I will gain GPCR crystallography expertise and obtain a thermostable 5-HT2A construct suitable for crystallography at the University of Copenhagen under the supervision of Prof. Jette Sandholm Kastrup and Ass. Prof. David Gloriam. During the second half of my PhD, I will implement and expand my GPCR knowledge at SARomics Biostructures AB under the supervision of Ass. Prof. Derek Logan and CEO Björn Walse.

This PhD project is a part of the European PhD Training Network: Selective Agonists For the 5-HT2A Serotonin Receptor (SAFER).
SAFER is funded by EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 765657.

Further information about this project can be found on our website: http://www.safer-itn.eu/ 



2014-2017 MSc in Biochemistry 


2018 PhD student, Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, UCPH

2013 Student assistant, Child and Adolescent Health and Wellbeing, National Institute of Public Health, SDU, Copenhagen

2012 Student assistant, Institute of Epidemiologic Cancer Research, Cancer Society, Copenhagen


2017 Membrane Protein Structural Biology Group at the Department of Biomedical Sciences, UCPH



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