Basic Science Researcher
Nancy Lee, PhDIntroduction | Publications
Dr. Nancy M. Lee's primary research interest is in the neuropeptide receptor field, particularly the role of the endogenous neuropeptide dynorphin in opioid analgesia and tolerance. She has two major projects currently underway in this area. The first is an attempt to isolate and characterize a nonopioid protein for dynorphin, which may mediate many of the physiological functions of this peptide including neutralizing the development of tolerance. The second project is a study of how the interaction of two different types of opioid eceptors, um and delta, results in opioid tolerance in the spinal cord. It is thought that dynorphin may modulate this interaction, and in this way affect tolerance development.
In addition to her neuropeptide receptor work, Dr. Lee is also carrying out research in neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease). Her project in this area is an investigation of the relationship between two molecular abnormalities found in some ALS patients. The first abnormality is a genetic mutation, SOD1, which has been shown to be a hereditary cause of ALS in a minority of patients. The second abnormality involves a neurotransmitter transporter, which has been shown to be synthesized in an aberrant form in some ALS patients. The goal of this project is to determine the effect on this neurotransmitter transporter of transfecting the mutated SOD1 gene into cells of the brain.
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