Dr. Nephi Stella on Targeting ABHD6 for the treatment of seizures: potentiation of GABAA receptors

Thursday, November 2, 2023
11:00 am EDT
UConn School of Medicine
Speaker: Dr. Nephi Stella
Host: Prof. Eric Levine

For over 25 years, Dr. Stella has researched the molecular mechanism and therapeutic value of cannabinoids: phyto-cannabinoids produced by the plant, synthetic cannabinoids developed in the laboratory, and endocannabinoids produced by cells. Initial work led to the discovery of the prominent endocannabinoid, 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG), in the brain, and its degrading enzyme, ABHD6, that controls activity-dependent 2-AG signaling in the brain. More recent work focuses on how to target ABHD6 for the treatment of neurological and psychiatry diseases, including epilepsy and migraines.

To better understand the mechanism of action of these molecules, their target and how they impact cellular functions, the Stella lab leverages state-of-the-art medicinal chemistry, pharmacological and genetics approaches to study their activity and mechanism at the molecular, cellular, and in vivo (rodents) levels. Thus, the Stella lab has 2 ongoing drug discovery programs, including developing ABHD6 inhibitors, that span from the identification of a novel protein target, the validation of the target’s involvement in specific diseases, to the development of several patented small molecules and demonstrating their in vivo efficacy in preclinical models.

This seminar is generously supported by the Nussenbaum-Vogelstein Family.