Current projects @ UC Berkeley
Psychedelics and Glial Function
Psychedelic medicine has long been used as part of the ritual and therapeutic alternative to traditional medicine. Especially, psilocybin and MDMA have shown promise as a treatment contributing to the psychological recovery in patients with PTSD and resistant depressive disorders. However, very few studies have explored the molecular basis behind the therapeutic effects. This project particularly aims to understand neuronal and glial mechanisms behind the psychedelic therapeutic effects using functional imaging and cell-based assays.
Psychedelics and Brain Plasticity
Previous projects @ Purdue
GPCR signaling of anxiety and fear
Of two distinct pathways (i.e. G protein and β-arrestin pathways), studies in the field have mainly focused on G protein pathways in drug discovery. My thesis research in Dr. Richard van Rijn's lab at Purdue investigated the role of the β-arrestin-mediated pathway in emotional behaviors, aiming to further elucidate the mechanisms behind the non-canonical pathways in psychiatric behaviors. My research discovered that β-arrestin pathways, not G protein pathways, provide therapeutic effects towards anxiety- and fear-related behaviors in mice through unique downstream signaling. This was the first study that showed a differential role of the two β-arrestin isoforms in mood behaviors and in unique brain regions, and it was published in Science Signaling (Ko et al., 2021) and highlighted as a cover art.