Alan V. Smrcka, Ph.D. View Smrcka profile Professor and Louis C. Lasagna Professor of Experimental Therapeutics Pharmacology and Physiology Biochemistry and Biophysics Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute Affiliations: Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Biophysics, Structural and Computational Biology Research Overview We work with the tools of biology, chemistry, and genetics to understand basic mechanisms of cellular signaling and develop therapeutic strategies for heart disease, cancer, and inflammatory diseases. G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) form a large family of cell surface receptors responsible for triggering cellular responses to a large number of extracellular stimuli including hormones such as adrenaline, serotonin, or acetylcholine and receive sensory stimuli responsible for perception of light, smell, and taste. This family of receptors is an important target for pharmaceuticals and defects in GPCR systems and are responsible for a number of diseases. All GPCRs function through activation of trimeric G proteins located on the inner surface of the plasma membrane. When GPCRs interact with an activating ligand they bind to the G protein and catalyze their activation. The activated G proteins then target ion channels or enzymes that produce second messengers to regulate cell physiology and growth. We use chemical, structural and genetic methods to understand and manipulate G protein pathways. Because of the underlying involvement of G protein signaling in many aspects of cellular physiology, targeting these pathways has many implications for therapy. Projects G Proteins Phospholipases Recent Publications Click here for a list of PubMed publications.