Home Back Issues February 2014 Happy chemicals

Happy chemicals

| Print |  Email
Articles - February 2014
Tuesday, January 21, 2014

0214 NEXTBY LINDA BAKER

Although millions of people take anti-depressants, scientists know astonishingly little about how these therapies actually work. “It was kind of hit or miss; the measure was whether the person got better or not,” says Eric Gouaux, a senior scientist at OHSU’s Vollum Institute. Now Gouaux and his lab are shedding new light on a previously cloudy process: Their research focuses on the dopamine transporter, a protein that helps regulate levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter. Abnormal levels of dopamine are present in a variety of disorders, including depression. So what is Gouaux’s scientific breakthrough? “For the first time, we are able to visualize the molecular details of what the antidepressant does when it binds to a biologically active site,” he says. In layman’s terms: “We can finally see the lock in which keys have been placed.” The key to success was solving the 3-D crystal structure of the dopamine transporter, a notoriously difficult task that has stymied scientists for decades. The next step is to gain insight into better therapies, as well as to visualize the impact of drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine, which exert much of their biological effect by inhibiting the dopamine transporter. In the meantime, Gouaux, who has labored four years on the project, is pretty happy with his lab’s pioneering discovery. “It’s been a pilgrimage,” he says.

 

More Articles

The clean fuels opportunity

News
Monday, November 10, 2014
111014-dirtyfuel-thumbBY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A market for low-carbon transportation fuels has a chance to flourish in Oregon if regulators adopt the second phase of the state’s Clean Fuels Program.


Read more...

October surprise

News
Sunday, October 12, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER

Cylvia Hayes, tabloid vs. watchdog journalism and the looming threat of a Cascadia earthquake.


Read more...

Innovation: a critique

News
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
1008 innovation thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

A Design Week panel discussion raises questions about how innovative we really are.


Read more...

A Complex Portrait: Immigration, Jobs and the Economy

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE & KIM MOORE

Oregon Business reports on the visa squeeze, the skills gap and foreign-born residents who are revitalizing rural Oregon.


Read more...

The 100 Best Companies survey is open

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1How does your workplace stack up against competitors? How can you improve workplace practices to help recruit and retain employees? Find out by taking our 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey!


Read more...

What I'm Reading

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Peter Lizotte at ACME Business Solutions and Roger Busse at Pacific Continental Bank share their favorite reads.


Read more...

Fly Zone

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

The black soldier fly’s larvae are among the most ravenous and least picky eaters on earth.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS