Two familiar molecules that affect our brains will get increased scrutiny by researcher Sotiris Xantheas, a chemist at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory who has been invited to join Tokyo Tech's World Research Hub Initiative. Working with researchers in Japan and Canada, Xantheas will combine laboratory methods with computational explorations to study the biological functions of serotonin and nicotine.
In the brain, serotonin relays signals between neurons. While it's best known as making people feel good, it also plays a role in appetites and sleep. Xantheas will study how certain metals interact with serotonin and how they affect its function.
Nicotine is a highly addictive molecule. Xantheas will study how this molecule and others that copy nicotine's behavior bind in the brain and cause addiction.
In addition, Xantheas will develop research areas and mentor graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. As a mentor, he'll draw on his expertise as an author and on his experience on the advisory boards for The Journal of Chemical Physics, Chemical Physics Letters and The Journal of Physical Chemistry.
Read more about Xantheas in this article.