Sophia Xu is the Molecular Pharmacology Highlighted Trainee Author for the September 2023 issue. Currently, she is an undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis, USA. Her mentor is Dr. Gustav Akk of Washington University in St. Louis. The Molecular Pharmacology article that earned her selection as a Highlighted Trainee Author is titled “Chemical, Pharmacological, and Structural Characterization of Novel Acrylamide-Derived Modulators of the GABAA Receptor” and is available at: https://doi.org/10.1124/molpharm.123.000692.
Sophia is currently working on research and development of novel molecules to determine the physiological and pathophysiological roles of the GABA-A receptor. The development of these compounds has a variety of targets, including anesthetics and treatment for schizophrenia. In this study, she utilized electrophysiology to characterize novel acrylamide-derived compounds based on the structure of the previously reported GABAergic drug PAM-2.
The anticipated impact of Sophia and colleagues’ current research is that their compounds have efficacies reaching that of a number of GABAergic anxiolytics and sedatives and have medium to high blood-brain barrier penetration, allowing for usage in clinical anesthesiology practice.
In Sophia’s spare time, she enjoys rock climbing and learning languages. She also enjoys playing with her dogs.