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Professor Barry Potter
Professor Barry Potter
Faculty 1000

Internal News - 02 April 2007

Three research papers highly commended

Three research papers co-authored by scientists in the Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology have been highlighted as some of the most interesting current papers in biology and chemical biology, based on the recommendations of over 1,000 leading scientists.

The papers highlighted by the Faculty of 1000 describe research into the creation and application of novel compounds that are useful tools in studying the structure-activity relationship of crucial receptors that release calcium ions within the cell.

The research team, led by Professor Barry Potter, is working on ubiquitous molecules that carry messages inside cells and that can be modified by chemical design and synthesis, such as inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate and cyclic ADP-ribose.

They discovered that one novel double-headed molecule surprisingly releases calcium with a much higher potency than the natural messenger.

They also explored, using synthetic chemistry and computational methods, how a naturally occurring molecule could be modified and bind to receptors for such messengers with higher affinity.

Such compounds are useful pharmacological tools for studying calcium signalling in cells and can expose novel pathways for drug design.

"Cellular signalling processes underpin a vast amount of modern biology,” said Professor Potter.

“Designing ‘tailor-made’ chemical compounds that can interfere with such processes, either as chemical biological tools or even as potential drug candidates, is an important part of modern interdisciplinary science and drug design that is fundamental to the scientific remit of our Department."

The papers were published in the prestigious American Chemical Society journals Bioconjugate Chemistry and Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, as well as the Journal of Cell Science. They were authored by collaborators from the universities of Bath, Cambridge and Hamburg. The research was funded by the Wellcome Trust, including a joint Biomedical Research Collaboration grant with the Hamburg group.

Faculty of 1000 Biology is an award-winning online service that highlights and evaluates the most interesting papers published in the biological sciences, based on the recommendations of over 1000 of the world's top researchers.

Faculty members are asked to evaluate and comment on up to four of the most interesting papers they read each month.

The three commended papers are: