Center for Clinical Pharmacology

Tao Che, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Che, Tao Tao Che, Ph.D., holds a primary appointment as Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) and an adjunct appointment as Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical and Administrative Sciences at the College.  Che received his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from Wuhan University in China.  He completed his Doctor of Philosophy in Biochemistry at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.  After graduation, he did his postdoctoral research in the lab of Dr. Bryan Roth at University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill, where he was interested in how drugs interact with their targets and then elicit both desirable and undesirable effects.  In particular, he focused on the opiate drugs and opioid receptors, determining the first active-state structure of kappa opioid receptor and uncovering the potential mechanisms for ligand selectivity and functional selectivity.

Research in the Che lab will be aimed at comprehensively characterizing and dissecting the molecular mechanisms of opioid receptor signaling. The goal is to gain an atomic-level understanding of opioid receptor activation, and to use this information to develop chemical and synthetic biologic tools (e.g., nanobodies) to ultimately lead to the development of safer, non-addictive pain medications. His work will integrate structural (e.g., X-ray, Cryo-EM) and pharmacological approaches, and leverage these data to generate subtype-specific novel chemicals as in vivo precision pharmacology probes to understand opioid receptor signaling spatiotemporally. These will be useful probes to interrogate signaling pathways and provide a platform for the discovery of new chemical and biological matter for potential therapeutic applications.