Drug targets and validation
Drug validation is the process whereby the role of a potential drug target (eg a membrane receptor) in a disease is clearly defined and so can become a target for drug development. The theme of Drug Targets and Validation at Bristol exists to achieve the above and to facilitate mutually beneficial research interactions with the drug industry.
Focussed mainly within the School of Physiology and Pharmacology, members of this theme are interested in:
- Developing chemical tools and technologies to facilitate biomedical research;
- Defining cell processes as valid targets for drug intervention;
- Developing drugs with potential therapeutic applications.
Our research areas
- Developing chemical tools and technologies to facilitate biomedical research
- Defining cell processes as valid targets for drug intervention
- Developing drugs with potential therapeutic applications
- Excitatory amino acids
- Learning and memory
- Neural-vascular interactions
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Neuronal control of respiration
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Heart disease and arrhythmias
- Neurogenic hypertension
- Opioids, pain and drug abuse
- Neuropathic pain
- Platelet signalling and drug action
- Depression and schizophrenia
- Wound healing
- Neural mechanisms of obesity
- Cerebellar dysfunction
Research technologies in use
- Models of disease; depression, anxiety, pain, dementia, heart failure, arrhythmias, Down’s Syndrome, Rett syndrome and hypertension
- Molecular modelling
- Organic synthesis and medicinal chemistry
- Advanced imaging (TIRF, electron microscopy)
- Brain slice electrophysiology
- Single-channel patch-clamp recording
- Cell signalling assays
- Primary neuronal culture
- Zebrafish and drosophila models
Ongoing collaborations with industry
Neuronal networks, cognitive function, learning, memory, schizophrenia. Matt has cultivated collaborations with Eli Lilly & Co, Janssen, GSK, Pfizer and others, always driven by scientific need. "I've always collaborated with industry," says Matt. "A range of companies have provided access to the pharmacological tools, disease models and techniques that I need for my research. Ultimately, if you want to have a positive impact on patients, then you need industry's support. See also http://www.mrc.ac.uk/skills-careers/overview/case-studies-dr-matt-jones/
Translational animal tests for depression and cognitive function. Emma has worked closely with industry to develop better methods to study cognitive and emotional behaviours in animals. “I have been keen to find new approaches to studying emotional and cognitive function in animals to try to improve the translation of basic research to clinical benefit. Working with industry has been valuable in helping to identify areas of need and our collaborations have led to some important advances, particularly in the area of depression.” Emma also works to support industry collaborations in her role a Faculty Business Fellow and is a point of contact for those wanting to work with industry and potential partners looking for academic collaborations.
Development of novel drugs that interact with ionotropic and metabotropic glutamate receptors. David has a longstanding collaboration with Eli Lilly to develop novel pharmacological tools for metabotropic glutamate receptors and the kainate receptor subtype of ionotropic glutamate receptors. He was a founder member of the Centre of Cognitive Neuroscience at Eli Lilly. David has worked as a consultant for neurochemical companies such as Tocris Bioscience and Abcam to distribute the novel chemical probes developed in his group to the worldwide neuroscience community and is currently on the scientific advisory board of Hello Bio. David is the MSci with Study in Industry degree course organiser and is responsible for arranging industrial placements for students studying Neuroscience, Pharmacology or Physiology.
New targets for treatment of respiratory and cardiovascular dysautonomia. Ana has been working closely with industry to validate new pharmacological treatments for diseases that affect respiratory and cardiovascular autonomic control. She has special interest in rare diseases and is currently involved in an orphan drug development program. “A robust understanding of fundamental disease mechanisms in a framework of clinical and commercial awareness has provided for a smooth transition from basic research through to clinical application. Collaborations with clinicians and industrial partners have been an essential and rewarding aspect of my work.” Ana maintains close collaborations with computational neuroscientists, clinical scientists, clinicians, patient advocacy groups and industrial partners and has been keenly contributing to every step of the drug validation journey.