Tagged: Ligands

Computer models speed UCSF scientists toward psychiatric drug discoveries

For decades, scientists have wanted to be able to study dopamine receptors one by one. The brain’s dopamine receptors are responsible for a variety of behaviors, such as reward seeking, and are also involved in psychiatric illnesses like schizophrenia. There are five types of dopamine receptors, and psychiatric drugs usually affect multiple receptors at once, often producing debilitating or even dangerous side effects.

Michael Keiser, PhD

Asst Professor in Residence

Our group investigates how drugs affect entire networks of proteins in the body at once to achieve their therapeutic effects, via computational predictions paired with experimental testing.

Ajay Jain, PhD

Professor In Residence

My research focuses on computational methods for improving drug discovery. I was formally trained as a computer scientist and made a transition from applied defense research to the biomedical arena in a series of Bay Area startups.

Brian Shoichet, PhD


Our lab develops new methods for drug discovery, adopting two strategies to do so. On the one hand, we reduce biology to its molecular components, and seek to change how these fit together using synthetic molecules we design. On the other hand, we investigate how the biological molecules operate together, both in health and disease. Both processes involve intensive modeling and close collaboration between theory and experiment.

Tack Kuntz, PhD

Professor Emeritus

Since retiring, I serve as a consultant for current Department faculty.