Not all GPCR ligands are created equal.
Over the past two decades, it has become increasingly clear that GPCRs are not simply light switches with only two positions–“on” and “off.” Individual GPCRs turn on a number of signaling pathways inside of cells. When different ligands bind to GPCRs, the receptors can preferentially activate different pathways. If we can understand HOW and WHEN ligands induce this type of selective signaling, we may be able to develop drugs with unique pharmacological profiles or fewer “on-target” side effects. Our lab aims to answer these questions using diverse approaches—biochemistry, biophysics, pharmacology, cell biology, and protein engineering.