Gissell Sanchez is the Molecular Pharmacology Highlighted Trainee Author for the December 2022 issue. Currently, she is a pre-doctoral trainee at the University of Michigan in the Department of Pharmacology. Her mentors are Drs. Alan Smrcka and Emily Jutkiewicz. The Molecular Pharmacology article that earned her selection as a Highlighted Trainee Author is titled “Coincident Regulation of PLCβ Signaling by Gq-Coupled and μOpioid Receptors Opposes Opioid- Mediated Antinociception” and is available at https://doi.org/10.1124/molpharm.122.000541.
Ms. Sanchez’s research project investigates a novel therapeutic approach to increase the safety and efficacy of opioid analgesics by increasing opioid-mediated analgesia without altering adverse effects such as addiction, constipation, and respiratory depression. This experimental approach targets G protein and phospholipase C interactions downstream of activated opioid receptors in the brain. To target this pathway, she uses a small molecule that prevents the activation of PLC pathway by opioid receptors, thereby potentiating the pain-relieving effects of morphine. To investigate the pharmacological benefits of this approach, she uses diverse scientific approaches such as cellular and molecular techniques as well as animal physiology and behavior.
The anticipated impact of Ms. Sanchez’s current work is that it identifies a pharmacological target that could increase the therapeutic window for opioid use in the clinic to treat pain. It also highlights the scientific relevance of this molecular pathway to unravel the intricacy of opioid pharmacology.
When not in the lab, Gissell enjoys dancing, volleyball, and puzzles/board games. Most importantly, she enjoys the company of her friends.