Molecular neuropharmacology, ion channel and neurohormone function and drug discovery

A focus of Aberdeen neuroscientists is on the chemicals that modify central nervous system function (Neuropharmacology) and the function of ion channels, membrane receptors and neurohormones.  Drugs acting on these have the potential to treat a wide range of disorders including depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer disease and Parkinsons and the scientists involved in this research are listed in this and other Aberdeen neuroscience categories.  Neuropharmacological research in Aberdeen makes use of unique chemicals derived from exotic species such as marine sponges or employs unusual model species such as the Siberian hamster while the neurobiology of the common tick is studied to develop drugs against these arachnids.  Development of novel markers of oxidative in stress may provide new techniques to diagnose neurodegenerative diseases such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease and understand the pathogenesis of these disorders.

An area of focus is the influence of cannabinoid-based drugs on the CNS. The human body contains receptors, known as cannabinoid receptors, which interact with these compounds which are found in cannabis. Endogenous activators of these receptors also exist and are known as “endocannabinoids”. The cannabinoid receptors are found in the nervous system and immune system.  Cannabinoid receptor pharmacology is the subject of intense academic and commercial research effort. In Aberdeen, we are making novel compounds are that selectively tune the ‘endocananbinoid’ system, thereby heralding a new generation of lead compounds with potential for the treatment of pain, inflammation, osteoporosis, obesity and mental illness.