Thomas Burris, PhD

Alumni Endowed Professor and Vice President of Research at St. Louis College of Pharmacy

Pharmacology and chemical biology of nuclear receptors (NRs) Read More

Email: burristhomas@wustl.edu
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Pharmacology and chemical biology of nuclear receptors (NRs)

Given the number of NRs that play a role in regulation of neural function and behavior, it is natural that my lab has been drawn to focus a number of projects in the area of CNS disorders. I spent a decade working in the private pharmaceutical industry in drug discovery focused on NR targets and I brought this experience with me back to academia where I collaborate heavily with medicinal chemists and structural biologist to develop novel ligands for NRs that may hold utility in the treatment of various disorders of the CNS. My work in the pharmacology of the circadian rhythm is widely recognized as having developed some of the first small molecule ligands that can modulate a core component of the clock (REV-ERB) leading to altered circadian behavior and sleep patterns. My lab’s work on development of ROR ligands has led to greater understanding of potentially new treatments for autism and depression. Another area of research that my group has not yet published, is the identification of ligands for a CNS specific NR called TLX that plays a very important role in maintenance of neural stems cells and cognitive function. Synthetic, drug-like, compounds targeting TLX may have utility in the treatment of cognitive dysfunction. I have maintained a multi-R01 funded lab since returning to academia over 10 years ago and my overarching goal is to discover and develop compounds targeting key NRs that may be used to treat human disease and improve the lives of individuals with neurological disorders.