Bryan Roth
Board member ofExecutive Editor, Biochemistry
AwardsMichael Hooker Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology (2006-)

Goodman and Gilman Award for Receptor Pharmacology (2016) Member, National Academy of Medicine.

Member , American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Academic background
Alma materCarroll College, BA (1977) St. Louis University Medical School, MD, PhD (1983)
Academic work
DisciplineMolecular Pharmacology
InstitutionsUniversity of North Carolina

Bryan L. Roth is the Michael Hooker Distinguished Professor of Protein Therapeutics and Translational Proteomics, University of North Carolina[1] School of Medicine. He is recognized for his discoveries and inventions in the general areas of molecular pharmacology, GPCR structure, and function and synthetic neurobiology. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) and the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences (NAM)


Roth earned his B.A. in biology from Carroll College in 1977 and his M.D. and Ph.D. in biochemistry from Saint Louis University in 1983. After postdoctoral training at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), he completed a psychiatry residency and fellowship at Stanford University in 1991. In 2007 he was appointed as the Michael Hooker Distinguished Professor of Protein Therapeutics and Translational Proteomics, UNC School of Medicine.[2]


Roth has made contributions to the fields of G protein coupled receptor (GPCR) pharmacology and neurobiology, particularly related to the function of serotonin and opioid receptors. His laboratory reported the structure of a serotonin receptor bound to the hallucinogenic drug, LSD.[3][4] Other major works include identification of new probes and tools to detect GPCRs, obtained through directed evolution in animal cells,[5] developing receptors activated solely by a synthetic ligand (DREADDs), a chemogenetic platform used to direct selective, dose-dependent activation of a specific G protein subtype in vivo.[6] Thomas Insel, then Director of NIMH, stated in 2014 that DREADDs were one of the most important breakthrough technologies for the NIH brain initiative.[7] and have been used by more than a thousand labs for interrogating neural circuits responsible for simple and complex behaviors in animals.

Awards and recognition

Roth’s work has been recognized by Science Signaling as one of the ‘Signaling Breakthroughs of ‘2014’[8] and 2016.[9] His DREADD technology was highlighted as one of the important advances in the past 10 years in Nature Chemical Biology.[10] Roth’s chemical biology discoveries have been highlighted by NIMH as one of the ‘Top 10 Research Advances of 2011’.[11][12] Roth is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) and the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences (NAM). He received the Goodman and Gilman Award in Receptor Pharmacology from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and was a 2018 Society for Neuroscience Presidential Special Lecture.


  1. ^ "Bryan Roth, MD, PhD". Pharmacology. Retrieved 2021-10-16.
  2. ^ Roth, Bryan. "Biographical Sketch" (PDF). UNC School of Medicine. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-10-16. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  3. ^ Wacker D, Wang S, McCorvy JD, Betz RM, Venkatakrishnan, AJ, Levit A, Lansu K, Schools Z, Che T, Nichols DE, Shoichet BK, Dror RD, and Roth BL: Crystal structure of an LSD-bound human serotonin receptor. Cell 168: 377-389
  4. ^ Kim...and Roth, Cell 182: 1574-1588, 2020
  5. ^ English JG. Olsen, RHJ, Lansu K, Patel M, White K, Cockrell AS, Sing D, Strachan RT, Wacker D and Roth BL. VEGAS as a platform for facile directed evolution in mammalian cells. Cell 178: 748-761, 2019
  6. ^ BN Armbruster, X Li, S Herlitzer, M Pausch and BL Roth: Evolving the lock to fit the key to create a family of GPCRs potently activated by an inert ligand. Proc Natl Acad Sci 2007 Mar 20;104(12):5163-8 (Highlighted on Cover) PMID 17350345
  7. ^[dead link]
  8. ^ Berndt, J., & Wong, W. (2015, January 06). 2014: Signaling breakthroughs of the year.
  9. ^ Adler, E. (2017, January 03). 2016: Signaling breakthroughs of the year. Retrieved April 16, 2021, from
  10. ^ Voices of chemical biology. Nat Chem Biol 11, 446–447 (2015).
  11. ^ Insel, T. (2011, December 23). Post by Former NIMH Director Thomas Insel: Nimh's top 10 research advances of 2011.
  12. ^ Staff, W. (n.d.). Top scientific breakthroughs of 2009.