Douglas Covey

Professor of Pharmacology in Developmental Biology, Professor of Psychiatry, Professor of Anesthesiology, Andrew C and Barbara B Taylor Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry

    • Source: Scopus
    1972 …2021

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    Research interests

    We are interested in the chemistry and biology of steroids. My laboratory specializes in natural products chemistry as it relates to the synthesis of steroids and steroid analogues. The compounds prepared in the laboratory are then studied in laboratories of colleagues throughout the university, and elsewhere, who share with us a common interest in the biological actions of steroids. Currently our efforts are focused in two main areas: neuroactive steroids and oxysterols.

    Neuroactive steroids affect the functioning of ion-channels involved in synaptic transmission in the central nervous system. Some of these neuroactive steroids are potent anesthetics and others are useful for treatment of several different brain diorders. The chemistry carried out on this project is designed either to provide mechanistic information on how steroids cause their effects in the brain or to provide new structure–activity data for the development of new therapeutic agents.

    Oxysterols of interest to us are those formed by oxidation of the side chain of cholesterol. We are chiefly interested oxysterol regulation of sonic hedgehog signaling and cholesterol trafficking.

    We are currently developing click chemistry compounds to identify binding sites for neuroactive steroids and oxysterols on proteins and to allow the imaging of these two classes of steroids and the proteins that bind them in cells.

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