Steven R. Childers, PhD
Steven R. Childers, PhD - Research Interests
Our research focuses on molecular and biochemical mechanisms in neuropharmacology with a special interest in characterizing drug effects at the level of receptors and second messenger systems. Two classes of drugs of abuse, opioids and cannabinoids, bind to receptors which act through specific G-proteins to inhibit adenyl cyclase. This laboratory characterizes these reactions by exploring components in the pathway, including the receptor, the inhibitory G-proteins, the adenyl cyclase catalytic unit, and the inhibition of protein phosphorylation. This research examines the effect of chronic opioid and the treatment of signal transduction to understand how tolerance may be produced by changes in receptor coupling to effectors. Another major research goal in the laboratory is purification of endogenous cannabinoid substances from brain. A final research interest involves mechanisms of cocaine action to define the structural aspects of the cocaine pharmacophore. The procedures used in our laboratory include receptor binding techniques, assay of G-proteins and cyclic nucleotides, protein phosphorylation, and mRNA analysis.