Short report by Mario Schubert: HTS to Identify and Characterize Small Molecule Allosteric Modulators of the Human Y4 Receptor at Vanderbilt University (Oct 19 – Dec 15)
During an internship in the lab of Dave Weaver at Vanderbilt University, I got the opportunity to gain more information about the Y4R, by testing a variety of similar structurally related compounds. I was introduced in the workflow of a high throughput screening laboratory. The technical equipment in the Vanderbilt HTS center makes it possible to test thousands of different chemical compounds in a very short time. Therefore, I learned to perform Ca2+-flux based signal transduction screening assays to monitor the activation of the Y4R. Using this system, I could test new hit compounds out of the ongoing screening for activity and selectivity. Furthermore, I tested structurally similar compounds of a previous screening hit for a Y4R selective positive allosteric modulator and could identify structural regions that are important for the activity. I learned different ways to organize and evaluate the large amounts of HTS data using different kinds of software for qualitative and quantitative analysis. At all of these steps, Dave and his group members kindly introduced me in the new methods. I also was able take a look on devices under development, giving me a very interesting impression what is possible in the current state of HTS-technology.
My lab colleagues not only introduced me in the lab, but also in the American lifestyle. I really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere in the monthly happy hours with all lab members. They took me around to the special places of Nashville. We enjoyed listening country music in different bars, watching football games, had good training session in the sports center and nice shopping trips in the big malls.