B.S., 1992, Western Kentucky University
Ph.D., 1998, University of Louisville
1999-2003 National Institutes of Health
Phone (812) 237-2244
Fax: (812) 237-2232
Office: Science S35E
Our laboratory is interested in a variety of research areas, centered around the theme of bioactive molecules, especially natural products. The central biological target is the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR). The nAChR is a ligand-gated ion channel (LGIC) that plays a central role in much of the fast syaptic signaling within the central nervous system. As such, it is an important target for treatment of disease and a prototypical system for the study of LGICs and membrane associated proteins. There are a number of subtypes of nAChR, serving a variety of functions in the body.
We have a number of research programs, including synthesis of natural products and the development of synthetic methods to assist in this pursuit. Isolation and structure elucidation of bioactive natural products, primarily alkaloids, especially those active at nAChRs. In close association with this program, we have a dedicated pharmacology laboratory equipped for studying nAChRs and do assays to probe the activity of our natural and synthetic compounds. We also have a program aimed at the structural biology of nAChRs, as limited structural information is available for these membrane proteins due to the difficulty in obtaining three-dimensional crystals for high-resolution x-ray analysis.
Dr. Fitch's research has been funded in part by the following organizations. We thank them for their support of our research and the students who benefit from it.