Towards a single-molecule pharmacology of G-protein-coupled receptors: understanding receptor dynamics to develop innovative drugs 

Year of award: 2018


  • Dr Davide Calebiro

    University of Birmingham

Project summary

Cell to cell communication depends upon a specialised family of proteins called G-protein-coupled receptors. These receptors mediate the effects of hormones and neurotransmitters, are deeply implicated in human disease and are the targets of common drugs like beta-blockers. Although long considered as simple on-off switches, we are now beginning to understand that G-protein-coupled receptors are far more dynamic and function through a complex series of events. This presents unanswered questions, including where and how these events take place in our cells to produce specific effects. Collecting this information will be essential to the design of better drugs. 

We will use cutting-edge microscopy technologies that can visualise these events in unprecedented detail and give previously unimaginable insights into G-protein-coupled receptor function. We will investigate this under normal conditions and in cell models of heart disease, with the ultimate goal of developing new therapies for diseases such as heart failure or diabetes.