Faculty and Staff
|Department:||Department of Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences
College of Pharmacy
Doctor of Philosophy, Chemistry, 2005
Zhejiang University, China
Postdoctoral researcher, Chemistry, 2006-2009
Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies
My research focuses on the design and synthesis of novel chemical compounds for use in biological systems. We are exploring the potential therapeutic applications of the compounds for the treatment of drug abuse, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and infectious diseases.
My primary research interest is to develop a safer and more potent pain modulator without the undesired side effects such as respiratory depression, dependence, and addiction. My laboratory is interested in developing the G protein-biased ligands that only engage the G protein signaling pathway without activating β-arrestins at the opioid receptors. Such ligand will produce more potent and safer analgesia than the traditional analgesics. We have developed novel cyclic peptide-based and heterocycle-based G protein-biased ligands at the mu-opioid receptor. We are conducting medicinal chemistry research to improve their agonist activity and degree of bias at the receptor. In close collaboration with neurobiologists and neuropharmacologists, we are prepared to demonstrate their in vitro and in vivo biological activities in pain management, including prolonged and neuropathic pain.
Other medicinal chemistry research projects are conducted in my laboratory as well; multiple hits have been designed and identified including novel mutant KRas inhibitors for cancer therapy, novel TFEB activators for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, and novel GyrB inhibitors for infectious diseases. To develop cell permeable macrocycles as potential cancer therapy targeting protein-protein interactions, my laboratory is also interested in developing NMR methods to study the conformations of macrocycles in solution as well as in membrane-mimicking environment, and applying our findings to design new molecules.