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CounterACT Postdoc Brandon Pressly:  Molecular Pharmacology Highlighted Trainee Author

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Brandon is a postdoctoral trainee under the mentorship of Dr. Heike Wulff (CounterACT Core B). The Molecular Pharmacology article that earned Brandon's selection as a Highlighted Trainee Author for the January 2021 issue is titled “Identification of the Functional Binding Site for the Convulsant Tetramethylenedisulfotetramine in the Pore of the α2β3γ2 GABAA Receptor” and is available at https://doi.org/10.1124/molpharm.120.000090

After serving for six years in the United States Marine Corps, Brandon earned a BS degree in pharmaceutical chemistry (April 2015) and then was admitted to the pharmacology and toxicology graduate program at UC Davis in September 2016. As a veteran, Brandon was interested in the work of CounterACT (counter measures against threat agents) and devoted his pre-doctoral training to understanding the mechanism of action of the highly toxic, “caged” convulsant tetramethylendisulfotetramine (TETS). During his thesis work, Brandon first determined the subtype selectivity of TETS, then studied its pharmacokinetics and finally mapped the binding site of TETS in the pore of the α2β3γ2 GABAA receptor using a combination of molecular modeling, site-directed mutagenesis, and electrophysiology.

Dr. Pressly graduated in June 2020 and is currently continuing to work as a postdoctoral researcher in the Wulff laboratory in the Department of Pharmacology on a project to understand how the environmental toxicant RDX changes the GABAA receptor. The major impact of this research is that it may lead to better treatment for exposed individuals. Additionally, he is pursuing novel modulators for the GABAA receptor. Finding new therapeutics with fewer side-effects could offer new avenues into pain management, sleep disorders, and epilepsy.

Original article at ASPET