Dietary trace amines have been implicated in diseases of the cardiovascular (hypertension, angina, heart attacks and stroke) and central nervous systems (depression, ADHD, schizophrenia). Responses to trace amines are mediated by trace amine-related receptors. Until recently, trace amine-related receptors were thought to be located on the outer cellular membrane. However, our recent finding, supported by data from other labs, demonstrates that trace amine-related receptors are actually located inside vascular smooth muscle cells. Trace amines do not easily diffuse across the cell membrane and therefore require transporters to access receptors inside cells. The transporter limits the amount of trace amine able to access these receptors and is a barrier to progressing our understanding of how trace amine-related receptors function. As part of this research project, we will design and make chemically modified trace amine molecules that can cross the cell membrane without needing a transporter. The compounds with the best activity will then be used in studies to further our understanding of trace amine-related receptor vascular pharmacology which will improve our understanding of how dietary trace amines affect cardiovascular disease.
By working on this project, the student will acquire detailed knowledge of trace amines pharmacology, drug design, cell culture, design of biological assays, data analysis including statistics, data interpretation and problem solving. The student will also have the opportunity to present his/her research in our weekly lab meetings and will be encouraged to attend and present his/her research findings in national and international meetings. Also, he/she will be encouraged to attend the various training opportunities offered by the School and University e.g., “presenting research to non-specialists”, “writing abstracts”, “research philosophy and ethics”. Collectively, the skills the potential student will acquire from working on this project will be extremely valuable for those wishing to pursue a career in academia or with pharmaceutical/biotechnology companies.
The work will be based at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Cardiff University, UK. Contact Dr. William R. Ford ([email protected]
) for informal inquiries.