Professor and Canada Research Chair in Clinical Neuroscience
MD, PhD (Queen's), FRCP(C) (Dalhousie)
Professor, Chemistry, Dalhousie
Voice: (902) 494-7183
FAX: (902) 494-1310
Our research focusses on the design and synthesis of novel drugs for the treatment of chronic neurologic disorders, such as epilepsy and Alzheimer's dementia. The techniques of rational drug design are exploited in the design strategy. First, target molecules central to the underlying disease process are selected. In epilepsy, these target macromolecules include voltage gated ion channel proteins (e.g. Na channel) and receptor gated ion channel proteins (e.g. NMDA receptor). Extensive use of computer assisted molecular design (CAMD) is then employed to facilitate the design of novel drug molecules. These new compounds are then synthesized and characterized. New compounds are evaluated for activity in experimental seizure models. Compounds which show promising activity are optimized through quantitative structure-activity relationship studies. Multiple lead compounds developed in our laboratory have demonstrated significant activity in preclinical studies in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Antiepileptic Drug Development Program. In Alzheimer's disease, compounds are designed to inhibit aggregation of beta-amyloid peptide. The activities of our research group are completed in an organic chemistry laboratory and in a molecular modelling computer laboratory. The computer laboratory is equipped with IBM RS/6000 RISC computers permitting a wide variety of quantum pharmacology (e.g. molecular mechanics, quantum mechanics) calculations. Attempts are made to correlate basic science with clinical science, thereby enabling a "bench top to bedside" philosophy in drug design.
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