Dr. Neher’s Biophysics Laboratory for Innovative Drug Discovery (the Laboratory) was established in 2016. The Laboratory Director, Dr. Erwin Neher, is a Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine in 1991, a renowned biophysicist, and a pioneer in the fields of ion channel research and synaptic transmission. Dysregulation of ion channels, a class of transmembrane proteins that are selectively permeable to different ions, has been linked to many complex human diseases, such as cancer, inflammation, Alzheimer’s disease, and stroke. Currently, 18% of the drugs on the market target ion channels and some small molecules in Chinese medicine are also known to do so. The founding of the Laboratory integrates ion channel research with Chinese medicine research, establishes a world-class innovative drug R&D laboratory, and promotes the development of scientific research and higher education in Macau.
In 2020, the Laboratory successfully obtained support from the Macau Science and Technology Development Fund under the dedicated funding scheme for laboratories and R&D centers， ushering in a new phase of laboratory development. The Laboratory is equipped with various biophysical research facilities such as super-resolution microscopes and patch-clamp setups. It also established a small-molecule screening platform for compounds derived from Chinese medicine that combines protein crystallization technology and computerized molecular docking simulation technology. Research will be carried out on common complex human diseases, physiology and pathology of malignant tumors, autoimmune diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and cardiovascular diseases, aiming at new therapies。
Currently, the Laboratory has the following six main objectives:
- To initiate and launch key cross-border research projects and establish multidisciplinary research platforms to solve fundamental unresolved problems in common and complex human diseases.
- Using biophysical and molecular biology techniques to reveal innovative drug applications, including basic theory and applications.
- Promoting biophysics and multidisciplinary international collaboration in Macau.
- To provide a collaborative platform for innovative drug research in various disciplines of the Macau University of Science and Technology.
- Promoting technological cooperation and industrialization in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau.
- Nurturing Young Local Scientists and Promoting Science Education in Macau.