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- Churchill Group | Chemical Tools and Drugs Discovery Research Group
Grant C Churchill
Associate Professor in Chemical Pharmacology
- Director of Graduate Studies
- Tutor in Medicine at New College
My work focuses on understanding how small molecules inside cells act as messengers to control physiology and how mimics of these messenger molecules can be used as chemical tools and drugs.
Recently, my group used repurposing to identify ebselen as a lithium mimetic and possible safer treatment for bipolar disorder. We took ebselen from molecule, through mouse to man. We have now licensed ebselen to a biotech who are taking it into phase 2 clinical trials for efficacy in treating bipolar disorder.
In the past, we developed chemical tools and methods related to calcium signalling that provided conclusive evidence that NAADP was a second messenger. Additionally, we used shape-based virtual screening to identify the NAADP antagonist Ned-19, which has greatly facilitated studies of NAADP in intact cells and whole animals.
Currently, we are identifying new chemical tools to help unravel the calcium signalling mechanisms and in so doing identify new drug targets. We are also interested in how NAADP is made and degraded as well as its perplexing desensitization and irreversible binding.