THE RESEARCH CONCEPT
Investigation of capsaicin-sensitive sensory nerve endings, the neuropeptides released from them, their receptors as well as the role of neuro-immune interactions in complex animal models of pain, inflammation and cancer. Identifying novel analgesic and anti-inflammatory drug targets, preclinical pharmacodynamic investigation of drug candidates in these systems:
- Investigation of acute and chronic joint inflammation in animal models (kaolin-, carrageenan-induced acute monoarthritis, complete Freund’s adjuvant-induced chronic polyarthritis, autoantibody-transfer- and proteoglycan-induced rheumatoid arthritis, iodoacetate-induced osteoarthritis)
- Investigation of acute and chronic airway inflammation in animal models (endotoxin-induced non-allergic and house dust mite antigen-induced allergic lung inflammation, ovalbumin-induced asthma, cigarette smoke-induced chronic bronchitis)
- Investigation of acute and chronic skin inflammation (irritants-induced acute inflammation, oxazolone-induced allergic contact dermatitis – psoriasis model, bleomycin-induced scleroderma)
- Investigation of chronic gastric and gut inflammation in animal models (gastritis, autoimmune colitis, Crohn disease)
- Investigation of migraine and chronic neuropathy (traumatic mononeuropathy, diabetic polyneuropathy, toxic polyneuropathy, bone cancer metastasis-induced neuropathy).
PHARMACOINFORMATICS RESEARCH GROUP
A Pharmacoinformatics Research Group (PI: Csaba Hetényi, Assoc. Prof.) was started in our department in 2016. The Research Group focuses on the development and applications of chemical informatics and structural bioinformatics methods for drug design. Such methods have been extensively applied in early stage (pre-clinical) drug research by prominent pharmaceutical companies. The calculation of structure and thermodynamics of target-ligand interactions are in the forefront of our present work. Our toolkit includes open source software for e.g. molecular dynamics (Gromacs) or docking (AutoDock). Time-to-time we use quantum chemical programs, as well. Programs developed by our group are also available as open source. Program MobyWat (www.mobywat.com) calculates the hydration structure of protein targets and target-ligand interfaces. Our method Wrap ‘n’ Shake (www.wnsdock.xyz) performs systematic mapping of drug binding modes, which is a key question of drug design. We have active collaborations with numerous research groups helping the solution of their structural biochemical problems. In our department, we participate in the exploration of molecular pharmacology of receptors SST4 and TRPA1. We have had successful projects related to various proteins including the beta amyloid of Alzheimer’s disease, motor proteins, serum albumin, histones of the epigenetic regulations, and protein kinases of signal transduction. This wide spectrum of investigated systems reflects the general applicability of our pharmacoinformatics methods.