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Dr. Palmer Taylor's Research

Palmer Taylor

Dr. Palmer Taylor's research has been directed to the structures, recognition capacities and regulation of expression of proteins governing neurotransmission in cholinergic synapses. His group cloned the first acetylcholinesterase (AChE) gene over 20 years ago, and this was followed by analysis of its genomic DNA to delineate regulatory regions, the multiple splicing options and gene expression profiles in nerve and muscle. His studies of AChE structure and its complexes by crystallographic and fluorescence methods, characterizing a peripheral site on AChE and the demonstrating flexibility of the active center gorge, provided the basis for collaborative studies with Barry Sharpless' group employing freeze-frame, click chemistry. The very biological target itself (AChE) is used as the template in the synthesis of high affinity, selective inhibitors.

Taylor's long standing work with nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) defined ligand specificity in relation to state functions for receptor activation and desensitization and identified the structural determinants on nAChR governing ligand and peptide toxin specificity. More recently, his studies have been directed to the acetylcholine binding protein, a soluble surrogate of the receptor, whereby his group in collaboration with others, employed physical methods of fluorescence anisotropy decay, NMR, x-ray crystallography and denterium hydrogen exchange to examine structure and selectivity of the ligand binding sites. Finally, through collaborative endeavors, Taylor's group have uncovered much of what is known about the structure of neuroligin, a synaptic adhesion molecule homologous to AChE. Their structural studies on neuroligin have uncovered alterations in processing and folding associated with mutations found in the autistic spectral disorders.

Professional Experience

Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences, 2002-present

Dean, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2002-present

Sandra & Monroe Trout Endowed Chair in Pharmacology, 1994-present

Professor and Chairman, Department of Pharmacology, 1987-2003

Head, Division of Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, 1979-1987

Professor, Division of Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, UCSD 1978-87

Associate Professor, Division of Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, 1974-1978

Assistant Professor, Division of Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, UCSD, 1971-1974

Continuation of NIH Fellowship, Max Planck Institut fur Physikalsche Chemie, Gottingen, Germany, 1970
Supervisors: Professors M. Eigen and E. Grell

NIH Fellowship - Medical Research Council, Molecular Pharmacology Unit, Cambridge, England, 1968-1970
Supervisor: A.S.V. Burgen, FRS, CBE

Research Associate, Pharmacology-Toxicology Associate Program, Laboratory of Chemical Pharmacology, 1965-1968
Supervisor: E.O. Titus