Areas of Graduate Study:
The major thrust of Dr. Crooks’ research is in the drug discovery area.
Several active projects, involving both synthetic medical chemistry and plant natural product research, are focused on the development of potential therapeutic agents for the treatment of central nervous system, (CNS) pathologies and diseases. He is currently designing and evaluating a novel series of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor agonists with selectivity for the a3b2 receptor subtype. This nicotinic receptor subtype is thought to be involved in the mediation of dopamine release in the CNS. Thus, it is believed that such compounds have clinical potential as therapeutics for the treatment of dopamine-related pathologies such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Tourette’s syndrome.
Of additional interest is the development of neuronal nicotinic receptor antagonists for possible therapeutic use in smoking cessation and psychostimulant abuse.
A third research area focuses on the design and discovery of neuroprotective agents of clinical utility in minimizing the neuronal damage that results as a consequence of detoxification in alcoholism. The primary aim is to identify and investigate chemical entities that inhibit NMDA receptor at the glycine and polyamine
binding sites. Such compounds are predicted to reduce excess neurotoxicity associated with alcohol withdrawal without the potential for abuse, and reduce psyhological responses in humans elicited by alcohol-related cues. Dr. Crooks collaborates with Dr. Linda Dwoskin on several projects.
Dr. Crooks received his BS (1966), MS (1967) and Ph.D. (1970) from the University of Manchester, UK. He was a faculty member in the Department of Pharmacy, University of Manchester, UK from 1968 to 1981, and spent two years as a research associate in the Department of Pharmacology, Sterling Hall of Medicine, Yale University (1976 – 1978). Dr. Crooks joined the faculty of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Kentucky in 1981. He is a member of the Markey Cancer Center, affiliate of the Sanders Brown Center for Aging, a faculty associate in the Center for Membrane Sciences, and holds a joint faculty appointment in the
Graduate Center for Toxicology. He has graduated 17 Ph.D. students and eight M.S. students from his laboratory, and has trained 23 post-doctoral fellows. Dr. Crooks is author of over 400 research articles and symposium abstracts, and numerous patents. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.
Kristi Lopez, Last
Modified: March 01, 2002