Doctoral candidates at FAU’s Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy have learnt from some of the best in the world. Along with many renowned international researchers, Nobel laureate in chemistry Brian Kobilka recently visited the University for a symposium held by Research Training Group 1910. The Stanford professor has been collaborating closely with the Research Training Group’s speaker, Prof. Dr. Gmeiner, for many years. Together they are conducting research that aims to develop new drugs that interact with G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) – a family of receptors that are responsible for communication between nerve cells. This topic was the main focus of the symposium.
The effects of more than a third of all pharmaceuticals are the result of interactions with GPCR. Antihypertensive beta blockers, for instance, work by inhibiting the function of a GPCR. Strong painkillers such as morphine work by activating opioid receptors, which also belong to the class of GPCR. The human body produces approximately 800 different GPCR, but only a small percentage has been researched so far. Gmeiner, Kobilka and their research partners aim to address this lack of information.