Name: Michael Braden
Title: Research Assistant Professor
Phone: 406 243-6069
Office: SB 482
Michael Braden received his B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Oregon in 1999. From 1997-2001 he worked at Marker Gene Technologies in Eugene, Oregon as a research assistant in synthetic organic chemistry and molecular biology. Following this, Michael pursued his graduate degree in medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology at Purdue University under the mentoring of Dr. David Nichols. Michael was awarded his Ph.D. in 2007 and moved to the University of Montana for a post-doctoral fellowship under Dr. John Gerdes. Michael was promoted to research assistant professor within the Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2010.
Research in the Braden lab connects computational chemistry, molecular pharmacology, and medicinal chemistry of central nervous system (CNS) targets and their ligands, including neurotransmitter transporters and G-protein coupled receptors. Computational modeling of protein target structures and ligand-docking simulations provide hypotheses for ligand development and structural biology evaluations. Novel ligands are synthesized and pharmacologically evaluated within our laboratory. The effects of site-directed mutagenesis on CNS target protein structure and function are also performed and evaluated within our laboratory. These novel ligands and structural evaluations help to further refine our computational models as well as develop robust small molecule libraries of potential therapeutics, research tools, and diagnostic probes. Ligands with ideal properties are assessed as diagnostic probes in vivo through collaboration with other laboratories at the University of Montana as well as extramural. For example, novel ligands are developed specifically for positron emission tomography (PET) of CNS targets. PET imaging affords a unique opportunity to dynamically probe target protein densities in near-real time. In addition to supporting ligand development for CNS PET agents, our laboratory is also well trained in analysis and interpretation of PET experimental results.