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Molecular Pharmacology Highlighted Trainee Author, November 2020

October 23, 2020

Elsa Martins

Elsa Martins is the Molecular Pharmacology Highlighted Trainee Author for the November 2020 issue. At the time the work was performed, Elsa was a pre-doctoral trainee at in the Department of Pathology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva. Her mentor is Dr. Oliver Hartley. The Molecular Pharmacology article that earned her selection as a Highlighted Trainee Author is titled “Arrestin Recruitment to C-C Chemokine Receptor 5: Potent C-C Chemokine Ligand 5 Analogs Reveal Differences in Dependence on Receptor Phosphorylation and Isoform-Specific Recruitment Bias” and is available at

During her PhD studies, Dr. Martins was actively involved in a study of CCR5. This study provided useful insights into the pharmacology and cell biology of CCR5, a chemokine receptor belonging to the superfamily of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) that is a key drug target for HIV, cancer, and inflammation. The work has elucidated the inhibitory mechanisms of a group of potent inhibitors; the results will facilitate the development of new therapeutic agents targeting this receptor.

Currently, Dr. Martins is continuing to work in Dr. Hartley’s laboratory as a post-doctoral researcher, where she is conducting drug discovery activities within the scope of a university-industry collaboration. The aim of her current work is to precision engineer natural ligands to develop new highly potent GPCR modulators with tunable signaling activity. The anticipated impact of Dr. Martins’s research will be the development of new drugs targeting challenging GPCRs for use in oncology and immunomodulation.

Outside of the lab, Elsa loves hiking and skiing, especially in the beautiful Swiss mountains. She practices CrossFit regularly and is also an avid reader who enjoys pairing good books with wine or specialty coffee tasting.


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