Grzegorz (Greg) Bulaj
Ph.D. 1993, University of Wroclaw, Poland
M.Sc. 1989, Biochemistry, University of Wroclaw
The long-term goal of our research is to develop a drug-device combination therapy which targets a chronic disease at both molecular and behavioral levels. Two reasons for advancing such strategy are: (1) approximately half of chronically-ill patients do not take medications as prescribed, and (2) mobile medical applications and medical devices provide tools for behavioral interventions and disease management. The integrated molecular-behavioral targeting of a chronic disease opens new opportunities to improve medication adherence and pharmacotherapy outcomes. Our current research is focused on medical devices to be combined with appropriate drug-based therapies for treating cancer or epilepsy. We have been developing an exercise-empowerment mobile therapy for the treatment of cancer-related fatigue and depression in pediatric oncology patients.
We also discover and develop neuropeptide-based drug leads for the treatments of epilepsy and pain. These are collaborative projects with Prof. Toto Olivera from the Department of Biology, as well as with Prof. Steve White from the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. For example, we have developed a galanin-based lead compound, NAX 810-2, which is currently undergoing Investigational New Drug (IND) enabling studies in order to enter clinical trials in patients with epilepsy. The technology is licensed to the startup company NeuroAdjuvants, co-founded together with Prof. White. NAX 810-2 and related compounds result from lead optimization studies of 200+ neuropeptide- based analogs with improved receptor subtype selectivity and permeability across the blood-brain-barrier. Many of these compounds also exhibit analgesic properties, offering opportunities to develop first-in-class therapies for inflammatory and neuropathic pain.
Bulaj's Laboratory Website
Representative papers (selected from 112 publications):
Lee HK, Zhang L, Smith MD, Walewska A, Vellore NA, Baron R, McIntosh JM, White HS, Olivera BM, Bulaj G (2015) A marine analgesic peptide, Contulakin-G and neurotensin are distinct agonists for neurotensin receptors: uncovering structural determinants of desensitization properties. Front Pharmacol 6:11
Govender M, Bowen RC, German ML, Bulaj G, Bruggers CS (2015) Clinical and Neurobiological Perspectives of Empowering Pediatric Cancer Patients Using Videogames. Games Health J. 4:1-13
Bulaj G (2014) Combining non-pharmacological treatments with pharmacotherapies for neurological disorders: a unique interface of the brain, drug–device, and intellectual property. Front Neurol. 5:126.
Zhang L, Klein BD, Metcalf CS, Smith MD, McDougle DR, Lee HK, White HS, Bulaj G (2013) Incorporation of monodisperse oligoethyleneglycol amino acids into anticonvulsant analogues of galanin and neuropeptide y provides peripherally acting analgesics. Mol Pharm. 10:574-85.
Bruggers CS, Altizer RA, Kessler RR, Caldwell CB, Coppersmith K, Warner L, Davies B, Paterson W, Wilcken J, D'Ambrosio TA, German ML,Hanson GR, Gershan LA, Korenberg JR, Bulaj G (2012) Patient-empowerment interactive technologies. Sci Transl Med. 2012 Sep 19;4(152):152ps16.
Steiner AM, Woycechowsky KJ, Olivera BM, Bulaj G (2012) Reagentless Oxidative Folding of Disulfide-Rich Peptides Catalyzed by an Intramolecular Diselenide. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 51, 5580-4
Green BR, Smith M, White K, White HS, Bulaj G (2011) Analgesic Neuropeptide W Suppresses Seizures in the Brain Revealed by Rational Repositioning and Peptide Engineering, ACS Chem Neurosci. 2, 51-56
Robertson CR, Scholl EA, Pruess TH, Green BR, White HS, Bulaj G (2010) Engineering Galanin Analogues that Discriminate between GalR1 and GalR2 Receptor Subtypes and Exhibit Anticonvulsant Activity following Systemic Delivery. J Med Chem. 53, 1871-5
Walewska A, Zhang MM, Skalicky JJ, Yoshikami D, Olivera BM, Bulaj G (2009) Integrated Oxidative Folding of Cysteine/Selenocysteine-Containing Peptides: Improving Chemical Synthesis of Conotoxins, Angew Chem Int Ed. 48, 2221-4
Bulaj G, Green BR, Lee HK, Robertson CR, White K, Zhang L, Sochanska M, Flynn SP, Adkins Scholl E, Pruess TH, Smith MD, White HS (2008) Design, Synthesis and Characterization of High-Affinity, Systemically-Active Galanin Analogs with Potent Anticonvulsant Activities, J Med Chem, 51, 8038-47