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Dr P-L Chau
Permanent staff scientist, Institut Pasteur Paris
Visitor in Prof Payne's group
Email: pc104 @ cam.ac.uk
TCM Group, Cavendish Laboratory
19 JJ Thomson Avenue,
Cambridge, CB3 0HE UK.
My current and future research aims to understand how general anaesthetics exert their effects.
Whilst the mechanism of action of most drugs has been defined, that of general anaesthetics has remained unknown since its appearance in 1842. Indeed, general anaesthesia is probably the last great puzzle of pharmacology. Previous work by others has established that the target of most general anaesthetics is probably the γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) type A receptor in that part of the brain responsible for determining the sleep-wakefulness state. My work thus aims to determine the structure and function of this receptor, and define the effect of general anaesthetics on this protein.
Determining the mechanism of action of general anaesthetics will have important consequences for pharmacology and, more generally, medicine. It will allow us to develop better targeted general anaesthetics and potentially reduce the risk of negative side-effects.