Roth, the Michael Hooker Distinguished Professor of Protein Therapeutics and Translational Proteomics in the Department of Pharmacology, is a world-renowned scientist best known for creating an innovative scientific method that allows neuroscientists to manipulate and study brain circuits in health and disease.
Roth’s method, called DREADD – Designer Receptor Exclusively Activated by a Designer Drug – offers scientists an innovative way to study the basic biological mechanisms that play major roles in many conditions and diseases such as autism, addiction, depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and various forms of cancer. Roth first published his findings on DREADD in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2007. Since then, his paper has been cited by hundreds of scientists working to create better treatments for neuropsychiatric disorders and other diseases.
Roth, who also serves as Director of the National Institute of Mental Health Psychoactive Drug Screening Program, has used his technologies to identify brain regions and drug targets essential for creating safe and effective medications to treat obesity and many other disorders.
Roth, who is also a Professor in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, also developed and validated a computer model that can predict drug side effects before a drug is given to people. The method, established in collaboration with researchers at the University of California at San Francisco, compares the chemical structures of all known drugs and their binding sites in human cells to make the predictions. These technologies are now widely used in both early and late-stage drug discovery and development.
Roth has published more than 300 articles in many prestigious journals, including Science, Nature, Cell, and The New England Journal of Medicine.
“I am humbled by this honor, which is due principally to findings generated with the help of the many outstanding technicians, students, post-doctoral fellows, and staff scientists who have worked with me over the past two decades.” said Roth, who is a member of the UNC Neuroscience Center and the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. “I very much look forward to participating in the institute’s mandate to answer critical research questions and inform health decisions important to all of us.”
The IOM, a nonprofit organization which is part of the National Academy of Sciences, creates reports on various health-related issues and convenes forums, committees, and roundtables to inform and advise the United States Congress, the public, and the private sector through expert and independent analysis of health issues.
Every year, the IOM elects as many as 70 members and 10 foreign associates based on their professional achievements and commitment to service related to the IOM’s mission.
Read more about today’s announcement from the IOM.