Understanding the basic neurobiology of the brain and identifying the molecules, proteins and pathways that are relevant to brain health and disease has been key to recent advances in neurotherapeutics. Continued exploration of the physiology and pharmacology of the nervous system is required in order to further appreciate its potential for dysfunction and its amenability to drug treatment.
Research undertaken by Dr Tim Green seeks to understand regulation of ion channel function in the brain, with a specific focus on ionotropic glutamate receptors. These ligand-gated channels mediate rapid excitatory signalling in the mammalian CNS and operate via the opening of an integral cation channel in response to binding of the endogenous ligand, glutamate.
Using a combination of biophysical, pharmacological and biochemical techniques, this work explores the molecular events that underpin glutamate receptor activation or gating. The ultimate goal is to identify movements at the protein level responsible for the entire process, from ligand binding through to receptor desensitization. These studies will allow more targets and opportunities for modulation of a key CNS neurotransmitter pathway.