Examining Novel Compounds to Treat Brain Disorders by Restoring Homeostasis
Glutamate is a chemical that facilitates the communication between brain cells called neurons. Glutamate transporters are proteins that move glutamate back into cells after a message is transmitted, allowing glutamate to be recycled and used again. In many neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders, this system is disrupted by changes in glutamate transporter function. Therefore, restoring the proper function of these glutamate transporters could provide new treatment options for many disorders.
My research focuses on understanding how novel compounds identified by our lab affect glutamate transporter function. Through medicinal chemistry, we built a library of new compounds that can increase or decrease the transporters’ ability to move glutamate by interacting with a key region of the transporter. My data supports the idea that these new compounds could be therapeutic in ischemic stroke and cocaine use disorder in rodent models. We hypothesize that our compounds may provide clinical benefit by interacting with this key region of the glutamate transporter.
This PhRMA Foundation award is very meaningful to me, as it will support my research that strives toward developing novel therapies for neuropsychiatric disorders. As these disorders currently lack adequate treatments, it is an honor to contribute to discovering new therapies to improve patients’ lives.