Wayland Cheng MD, PhD has been awarded an NIH K08 grant.

Aug 03, 2017

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Wayland Cheng MD, PhD has been awarded an NIH K08 grant.

Wayland Cheng MD, PhD has been awarded an NIH Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development grant (K08). This award will provide four years of support for research in the molecular mechanisms of anesthesia, and will facilitate Dr. Cheng’s transition to becoming an independent investigator.

Dr. Cheng received the grant from the NIH for his project titled “Characterizing Neurosteroid Binding in the GABA(A) Receptor Using Top-Down Mass Spectrometry”. Neurosteroids are positive allosteric modulators of the GABA(A) receptor and have therapeutic potential as anesthetics and anti-convulsants. The proposed research will use photoaffinity labeling to map neurosteroid binding sites in the GABA(A) receptor. In addition, Dr. Cheng will apply top-down mass spectrometry to determine the stoichiometry and orientation of neurosteroid binding as well as the dependence of binding on GABA(A) receptor post-translational modifications. This work will define the structural determinants of neurosteroid modulation of the GABA(A) receptor, and may inform the design of neurosteroid-based therapeutics with greater specificity.

Dr. Cheng’s research specializes in the pharmacology of neuronal receptors such as ion channels and G-protein coupled receptors. His long-term interest is to apply mass spectrometry and structural biology techniques to study the molecular basis of anesthetic action, and to characterize the interaction between lipids, which vary significantly in different disease states, and anesthetics in modulating receptors in the brain.

Dr. Cheng previously was awarded a prestigious IARS (International Anesthesia Research Society) Mentored Research Award this summer. 

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