Arnold Burgen

University of Cambridge

Primary Section: 23, Physiology and Pharmacology
Membership Type:
International Member (elected 1987)


I am a Pharmacologist interested in studying the subtle effects of drugs on receptors, which determine action and specificity. These arise from changes in the receptors   activity and specifitoryw. These arise from changes produced in the receptors three dimensional  structure  leading to modification  of membrane channels or to any part of intracellular part of the receptor .that mediate between physiological effects. A few drugs such as organophosphates bind covalently but most use ionic and other weak forces to change the conformation of the receptor. These changes can be observed by binding and kinetic studies. I have been a pioneer in utilising N M R to study selected sites in the receptor. My studies over the years have covered a wide range of drugs up to proteins.

Research Interests

I have studied physiological and biochemical mechanisms of transmission at synapses and model systems of molecular interactions and conformation changes in receptors. Most of this has been on cholinergic synapses, but currently I am modeling interactions at 5-HT receptors.

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