Mei-Chuan Ko, PhD
| ||Mei-Chuan Ko, PhD|
|Dept. of Physiology & Pharmacology|
Wake Forest School of Medicine
Medical Center Boulevard
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157
University of Michigan Medical School, Postdoctoral Fellow, 1999
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, PhD, 1998
National Chengchi University, Taiwan, BS, 1993
Sensory processing (pain vs. itch), Opioid abuse and dependence, Spinal cord, and Non-opioid analgesics.
Brief Summary of Research
The Ko laboratory investigates the pharmacological profiles of both clinically used drugs and newly developed ligands in rodents and nonhuman primates. We have developed several experimental pain and itch models in nonhuman primates with translational values. By using a variety of behavioral and physiological assays, our research focuses on elucidating the receptor mechanisms for regulating sensory processing, responses to stress, and drug dependence. In addition, our studies aim to establish the therapeutic profiles of novel ligands following acute and chronic administration in subjects under different states. We have collaborations with faculty members to study different aspects (e.g., gene expression, G protein signaling, and neuroadaptations) of drug actions. Current projects investigate the therapeutic potentials of (1) nociceptin/orphanin FQ peptide receptor-related ligands as safe, non-addictive analgesics, (2) kappa opioid receptor agonists and gastrin-releasing peptide receptor antagonists as antipruritics, and (3) novel targets as pharmacotherapy for opioid abuse and dependence. Our pharmacological studies not only provide the functional evidence of receptor activation in primates, but also transform discoveries of novel ligand-receptor systems into future therapies.
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