Van Rijn lab (PI - Richard M. van Rijn PhD)
Purdue University, College of Pharmacy, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
The mission of the Van Rijn lab is to uncover new strategies to treat psychiatric and neurological disorders. We specifically investigate the heavily co-morbid triad of drug use disorders, chronic pain disorders and mood disorders. Our primary target, the delta opioid receptor, is involved in the neuropharmacology of all three disorders and thus offers an exciting novel approach to treat these disorders. The Van Rijn lab covers all aspects of preclinical drug development including drug synthesis, drug screening, pharmacological characterization both in vitro and in vivo. We also perform mechanistic studies to improve our understanding of the etiology of these disorders.
News - 2018
December 20th, 2018 - Rob Cassell will present a poster on "plant-derived biased show utility in the reduction of drinking behaviour in C57BL/6 mice" from 1-2pm at the British Pharmacological Society meeting. (P194).
December 7th, 2018 - Congratulations to Robert Cassell for being selected to participate in the 2019 ASPET Washington Fellows program. The mission of the ASPET Washington Fellows Program is to enable developing and early career scientists interested in science policy to learn about and become more engaged in public policy issues. The program will also provide a travel grant to Rob to attend the 2019 Experimental Biology meeting in Orlando.
November 10th, 2018 - MeeJung Ko is giving an oral presentation at the annual Sensory biology Sensorium symposium on "developing a preclinical model of pain in zebrafish".
November 8th, 2018 - Congratulations to BSPS undergraduate/PharmD student Kendall Mores for her first, first author paper getting accepted into Neuropharmacology. Kendall wrote a review on "arrestin recruitment and signaling by G protein-coupled receptor heteromers for a a special issue of Neuropharmacology on "Brain heteroreceptor complexes in health and disease".
October 11th, 2018 - Rob Cassell provided an hour long continued education credit session for Purdue Pharmacy Alumni in Evansville, IN. The session was aimed at providing an update on current prescription practices of opioids, new developments in treating opioid use disorder and the rise of fentanyl and kratom use.
September 20th, 2018 - Rob Cassell was interviewed by local TV station WLFI about the new drugs he has synthesized that may help reduce alcohol use and prevent relapse.
September 10th, 2018 - Arbaaz Mukadam, previous undergraduate assistant in the lab, has joined the Van Rijn lab as a research technician aiding in our in vivo and ex vivo work.
September 6th, 2018 - A proposal by the Van Rijn lab in collaboration with the Brewster, Lill and Flathery labs to investigate beta-arrestin1 as a novel target to treat epilepsy was funded by the Purdue Institute for Drug Discovery (PIDD) in the amount of $75,000/year for up to 2 years. Thanks for the support!
September 6th, 2018 - In collaboration with Co-PI Dr. Mike Wendt, the Van Rijn lab received a 2-year R21 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to study the influence of alcohol on metastatic dormancy of breast cancer. Thanks for the support!
August 1st, 2018 - The Van Rijn lab received an 2-year R21 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to study the ability of kratom and kratom alkaloids to reduce alcohol consumption. For this proposal we collaborate with Dr. Susruta Majumdar at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy. Thanks for the support.
June 18th, 2018 - Robert Cassell is presenting a poster (#318) at the 2018 conference for the Research Society on Alcoholism. His poster title is "Preclinical characterization of Mitragyna speciosa alkaloids for the treatment of alcohol use disorder".
June 13-15th, 2018 - Anna Gutridge and Mee Jung Ko presented posters at the 2018 International Narcotics Research Conference. Their posters are titled "Preclinical characterization of Mitragyna speciosa alkaloids for the treatment of alcohol use disorder" and "Beta-arrestin-biased delta opioid receptor signaling as a novel therapeutic target for anxiety disorders", respectively.
May 23rd, 2018 - Drs. van Rijn and Robins were recently interviewed by WBAA, the local NPR station to provide our viewpoints on the treatment of chronic pain, the opioid epidemic and our search for better painkillers and drugs to treat addiction.
May 18th, 2018 - Mee Jung Ko presented a poster at the International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society conference in Rochester, Minnesota on the characterization of beta-arrestin 1 knockout mice.
May 18th, 2018 - Dr. van Rijn was invited by Dr. Anna Lee to give a seminar in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Minnesota entitled "Should the 2nd generation of opioids be completely G-protein biased for optimal efficacy?"
May 3rd, 2018 - Congratulations to Anna Gutridge and Mee Jung Ko for receiving INRC travel awards to attend the annual International Narcotics Research Conference in San Diego.
May 1st, 2018 - Congratulations to Arbaaz Mukadam for graduating from the Purdue University Bachelor in Pharmaceutical Sciences (BSPS) program and receiving a research recognition award at the graduation banquet. It was a pleasure having you work in the lab and teaching you in MCMP544 Arbaaz!
April 30th, 2018 - We are pleased to announce Arryn Blaine, a 1st year student in the Purdue University Life Science graduate program will join the Van Rijn lab. Welcome Arryn!
April 30th, 2018 - Dr. van Rijn was interviewed by W Radio Colombia to discuss the risks associated with mixing energy drinks and alcohol in a conversation with Vicky Davila and Rafael Manzano.
April 25th, 2018 - Robert Cassell received a student merit travel grant from the Research Society on Alcoholism to attend the annual conference in San Diego this June. Congratulations Rob.
April 23rd, 2018 - Mee Jung Ko presented her research on TRPA1 channels in the poster competition at Experimental Biology 2018 with a poster titled "A pharmacological model of TRPA1-mediated nociception in the zebrafish for therapeutic discovery".
April 10th, 2018 - Kendall Mores was selected to present her undergraduate research at the Office of Undergraduate Research Conference and won 3rd best oral presentation out of 28 participants from across the Purdue campus. Great job Kendall!
April 9th, 2018 - The Van Rijn lab received a $10,000 research enhancement grant from the Purdue Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology to characterize potential biased delta opioid receptor agonists identified in an in silico screen. Thanks for the support!
April 8th, 2018 - Congratulations to Kendall Mores for being a top rank pharmacy student worthy of induction into the Rho Chi society. The Van Rijn lab is fortunate to have already witnessed Kendall's intelligence and hard work over the last 2+ years. Outstanding accomplishment Kendall!
March 29th, 2018 - Grace Mulia, a 3rd year BSPS student has received a Dean's summer fellowship to work in the Van Rijn lab in the summer investigating ERK activation in several brain regions in male and female mice following a range of stimuli. Congratulations Grace!
March 23rd, 2018 - Dr. van Rijn was one of the invited regional speakers for the Greater Indiana Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, with a presentation entitled "The yellow brick road map to developing new alcohol use disorder treatments".
March 18th, 2018 - Congratulations to Meridith Robins and co-authors for the acceptance of the latest Van Rijn Lab manuscript in Frontiers in Psychiatry describing her findings for a role for Gi-protein activity in the dorsal striatum in reducing voluntary alcohol intake in mice. Meridith used pharmacological and pharmacogenetic (DREADD) approaches to find that activation of Gi-coupled delta opioid receptors and muscarinic M4 receptors in the dorsal striatum causes mice to drink less alcohol.
March 12th, 2018 - Congratulations to Mee Jung Ko for receiving a IBANGS Young Investigator Travel Award to attend the Genes, Brain and Behavior meeting in Rochester, Minnesota.
March 10th, 2018 - The Van Rijn lab received a 2-year $100,000 R03 grant from the National Institute for Drug Abuse to "develop G-protein biased delta opioid receptor agonist with analgesic potency". Thanks for the support.
March 6th, 2018 - Dr. van Rijn was invited to the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology by Dr. Patrick Sheets at Indiana University School of Medicine to give a seminar entitled "Self administration of kratom to treat alcohol addiction - Why it may work"
March 5th, 2018 - Meridith Robins successfully defended her PhD Thesis "Behavioral pharmacology of alcohol and legal pscyhostimulants". Congratulations Dr. Robins!!
March 1st, 2018 - Congratulations to Meridith and co-authors for the latest publication by the Van Rijn lab in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. In the paper Meridith characterized the role of beta-arrestin 1 in several neurological behaviors using genetic knockout animal models. Merditih's data suggests that beta-arrestin 1 may have a protective role again alcohol use in females.
February 26th, 2018 - Congratulations to Maria Shelley, a P1 pharmacy student, for receiving a Dean's Summer Fellowship to start characterizing biased signaling pathways in human and mouse neuronal cell lines in our lab.
February 19th, 2018 - Congratulations to Meridith Robins for being a recipient of a Teaching Academy Graduate Teaching Award, by the Center for Instructional Excellence. Great job Meridith!
February 6th, 2018 - Congratulations to Mee Jung Ko for being awarded an ASPET Travel Award to attend the Experimental Biology Conference in San Diego in 2018.
January 3rd, 2018 - Congratulations to Mee Jung Ko for being awarded A Travel Award from the Purdue Institute of Integrative Neuroscience to attend the International Narcotics Research Conference in San Diego in 2018.
January 3rd, 2018 - Congratulations to Mee Jung Ko for being awarded A Chaney Travel Award to attend the Experimental Biology Conference in San Diego in 2018.
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December 16th, 2018 - Our paper describing our discovery that rubiscolins are naturally occuring G-protein-biased delta opioid receptor peptides has been accepted for publication in Eur. Neuropsychopharmacology.
November 15th, 2018 - A paper led by The Flaherty lab on which we collaborated titled "optimization of a 1,3,4-oxadiazole series for inhibition of Ca2+/calmodulin-stimulated activity of adenylyl cyclases 1 and 8 for the treatment of chronic pain" was accepted in European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.
November 8th, 2018 - Our review paper describing "arrestin recruitment and signaling by G protein-coupled receptor heteromers was accepted in a special issue of Neuropharmacology on "Brain heteroreceptor complexes in health and disease".
March 18th, 2018 - Our paper investigating the role of Gi-protein activity in the dorsal striatum in modulating voluntary alcohol intake has been accepted for publication in the open access journal Frontiers in Psychiatry as part of the special topics in opioid research issue.
March 1st, 2018 - Our paper characterizing beta-arrestin 1 knockout mice in anxiety-like and alcohol behavior has been accepted for publication in the open access journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.
November 30th, 2017 - A collaborative manuscript by visiting scientist Ricardo Marquez-Gomez describing evidence for the existence of heteromers between adenosine A2a and histamine H3 receptors has been accepted in the journal Pharmacological Research.
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Disclaimer of opinion
The information, statements and opinions presented on the the Van Rijn lab website are solely expressed by Dr. van Rijn and do not necessarily represent views held by Purdue University.
Donate to science.
If you appreciate the research carried out in the Van Rijn lab and support our goals feel free to donate to the advancement of science. Donations will be used to help support (undergraduate) students and carry out experiments exploring exciting new preliminary projects, currently not funded through other mechanisms.
Donations can be made by specifically mentioning the Van Rijn lab at the following Purdue University website:
Purdue Research Foundation: Giving to Purdue
Instructions on types of donations