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The major goal for this program is to leverage our expertise to study fundamental mechanisms of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), ion channels, and cell adhesion molecules to identify new drug targets and mechanisms by which these targets function, with the ultimate goal of discovering “new drugs to cure disease.” GPCRs and ion channels are major targets for drug therapy. Drugs aimed at these targets generally possess high potency and selectivity, permitting the use of low drug dosages and minimizing side effects.

We envision that these molecules will remain major drug targets in the future, and thus, we will continue to pursue cutting-edge research designed to identify new GPCR and ion channel drug targets and to investigate new mechanisms by which to target existing molecules and/or the signals they modulate. We also envision that cell adhesion molecules will emerge as major drug target class in the future. These molecules orchestrate how cells interact with each other in functional tissues. Identifying these molecules and understanding how they function should provide many new targets for drugs to either enhance or block cell communication.

Each of these programs is comprised of a strong core of basic researchers who have established extensive, vibrant collaborations with clinical, translational, and basic science faculty from divisions throughout URMC and River Campus. These groups are poised to identify and recruit new leaders in these fields to strengthen and expand these programs in ways that will result in new discoveries at the frontier of knowledge that lead to new drug therapies in the future.