Skip to main content

Grzegorz (Greg) Bulaj

Grzegorz Bulag

Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry



Room 1952

Phone: 801.581.4629



  • Ph.D. 1993, University of Wroclaw, Poland

  • M.Sc. 1989, Biochemistry, University of Wroclaw

Research Interests

The long-term goal of our research is design and development of digital therapeutics (mobile medical apps and videogames) which integrate non-pharmacological interventions with pharmaceutical drugs. Since mobile apps and videogames have become FDA-approved software as medical device, we aim to develop drug-device combination products targeting a specific chronic disease at both molecular and behavioral levels.

Why do we focus on developing digital therapeutics? Because:

  1. They can mitigate limitations of pharmaceutical drugs (adverse effects, non-adherence, drug-resistance, affordability, shortages) 
  2. Mobile app-based treatments can improve sustainability of health care by delivering self-care and promoting prevention of chronic medical conditions 
  3. Digital transformation in medicine and health care has been happening.

Research Subjects and Articles

    Developing mobile medical app for reduction of epileptic seizures

    Preclinical studies on “active ingredients” in digital therapeutics for pain and epilepsy

    Music streaming as adjunct treatment of affective disorders

    Mobile video game for children with cancer undergoing chemotherapy 

    Our research has advanced development of neuropeptide-based drug leads for the treatments of epilepsy and pain. This collaborative project with Prof. Steve White and Prof. Cameron Metcalf yielded several galanin-based lead compounds such as NAX 505-5, NAX 409-9 and NAX 810-2 (a candidate for Investigational New Drug (IND) for the treatment of epilepsy). Noteworthy, our galanin-based compounds also exhibit analgesic properties, offering opportunities to develop first-in-class therapies for inflammatory and chronic pain. Please see examples of our research publications related to neuropeptide-based drug discovery and development (in chronological order):


      1. 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
      2. White HS, Scholl EA, Klein DB, Flynn SP, Pruess TH, Green BG, Zhang L, Bulaj G, (2009) Developing Novel Antiepileptic Drugs: Characterization of NAX 5055, a Systemically-Active Galanin Analog, in Epilepsy Models, NeuroTherapeutics. 6: 372-380
      3. Zhang L, Robertson CR, Green BR, Pruess T, White HS, Bulaj G, (2009) Structural Requirements for a Lipoamino Acid in Modulating the Anticonvulsant Activities of the Systemically-Active Galanin Analogs, J Med Chem, 52, 1310-16
      4. 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
      5. 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.
      6. Green BR, Klein BD, Lee HK, Smith MD, Steve White H, Bulaj G (2013) Cyclic analogs of galanin and neuropeptide Y by hydrocarbon stapling. Bioorg Med Chem. 21: 303-10.
      7. 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
      8. Metcalf CS, Klein BD, McDougle DR, Zhang L, Smith MD, Bulaj G, White HS (2015) Analgesic properties of a peripherally acting and GalR2 receptor-preferring galanin analog in inflammatory, neuropathic, and acute pain models. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 352: 185-93
      9. Metcalf CS, Klein BD, McDougle DR, Zhang L, Kaufmann D, Bulaj G, White HS (2017) Preclinical evaluation of intravenous NAX 810-2, a novel GalR2-preferring analog, for anticonvulsant efficacy and pharmacokinetics. Epilepsia. 58: 239-246
      10. Metcalf CS, Smith MD, Klein BD, McDougle DR, Zhang L, Bulaj G (2017) Preclinical Analgesic and Safety Evaluation of the GalR2-preferring Analog, NAX 810-2. Neurochem Res. 42: 1983-1994