"My passion is to do great science that will someday result in innovative new medicines that will make patient's lives better."
Ever since I was a graduate student at the University of California San Francisco, I have been fascinated by the structure, function, and pharmacology of ion channels. These critical proteins form the functional basis of the nervous system, and without them, our neurons would not be able to send signals down their axons or communicate with each other through synaptic transmission. Despite their importance in physiology, ion channels also make excellent drug targets for a variety of neurological disorders, as long as we can figure out how to target them selectively and in the right way. Currently my lab is leading efforts in the development of novel pain drugs that take advantage on ion channels as targets.
Genentech is a place where you can do science at the highest possible level within a highly multi-disciplinary research environment with cutting-edge infrastructure. The postdoc program at Genentech provides a place for young scientists to dive into this environment and make fundamental contributions to our understanding of the biology of neurological disorders, laying the groundwork for the discovery of the next generation of high-impact therapeutics.
One major focus of my lab is the development of selective voltage-gated sodium channel modulators. Our work on Nav1.7, an important pain target, has led to the discovery of a novel binding site that allows the development of highly isoform-selective sodium channel blockers that some day might lead to a revolutionary new type of pain drug. Another focus has been on selective positive allosteric modulators of NMDA receptors, which could lead to new drugs for epilepsy, schizophrenia, or Alzheimer's disease. Also, our work on the human genetics of pain and studies of the circuitry of pain within the spinal cord are yielding new mechanistic insights that may lead to novel ways to target pain in the future.