Projects Overview



The CXCR4 receptor has a specific role in a wide range of human disease pathologies, such as X4-tropic HIV-1 entry, stem cell mobilization, and cancer metastasis.  The interaction between CXCR4 and its natural ligand CXCL12 also synchronizes many essential physiological roles, such as homeostatic regulation of leukocyte trafficking, hematopoiesis, and embryonic development.   (learn more)

NMDA Receptor Antagonist and Potentiators

Glutamatergic neurotransmission through ionotropic-glutamate receptors is the primary means of excitatory synaptic transmission in the mammalian central nervous system (CNS).  The receptor family comprises the a-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionate (AMPA), N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and kainate receptors.  NMDA receptors are widely expressed in the CNS and are thought to be involved in a range of important physiological processes including axonal guidance, synaptic plasticity, and memory formation.  NMDA receptors are also thought to play an important role in pathophysiological conditions including Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, depression, and ischemia.

The spatially-restricted expression patterns, together with distinct functional and pharmacological differences imparted by the GluN2 subunits, make NMDA receptor subunit-selective modulators of therapeutic interest for several neurological disorders, including stroke, schizophrenia, treatment-resistant depression and Parkinson’s disease.  Subunit-selectivity will restrict modulator actions to brain regions that express the subunit of interest, potentially limiting side effects that occur as a result of global NMDA receptor blockade. (learn more)

Nucleoside Analog Therapeutics

In the Liotta group, we design and test new nucleoside and nucleotide analogues with the aim of developing antiviral drugs. We work in collaboration with the Emory Institute for Drug Development in our search for new drugs in areas of unmet medical need like dengue fever, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, hepatitis B and C and respiratory syncytial virus.