PT366 – Neurotransmitter Systems and Novel Psychedelic Molecules

October 21, 2022
Featuring: Dr. Rochelle Hines Ph.D. & Dr. Dustin Hines, Ph.D.

In this episode, Joe interviews the Co-Founders of Tesselate Therapeutics: Dr. Rochelle Hines, Ph.D. (also the CEO and an Associate Professor at UNLV), and Dr. Dustin Hines, Ph.D. (the CSO as well as an Assistant Professor at UNLV).

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In this episode, Joe interviews the Co-Founders of Tesselate Therapeutics: Dr. Rochelle Hines, Ph.D. (also the CEO and an Associate Professor at UNLV), and Dr. Dustin Hines, Ph.D. (the CSO as well as an Assistant Professor at UNLV).

While Tesselate’s primary objective is the development of novel psychedelic molecules, the Hines’ work goes much deeper than that, as they are researching the ways the brain communicates with itself and other parts of the body: how neurotransmitter systems interact, why synaptic partners find each other, and how certain substances may be able to modulate the actions of specific receptors. They are exclusively studying phenethylamines and using EEG to isolate signatures that could help predict the outcome of a therapy session. Additionally, they’re attempting to build a “tripnogram,” modeled after the hypnogram that explains the stages of sleep.

They talk about the reductionist base of neuroscience; the biodiversity in human populations and how heterogeneous depression can be; the reliability of the head twitch model; the structure of the cerebral cortex; neuroplasticity; the price of bringing new drugs to the FDA and the strategy of “failing fast,” and much more. You’ll likely learn a lot from this one, especially if terms like polypharmacy, laminar, ocular dominance columns, synaptic pruning, and “psychedelicitivity” (thanks for that one, Joe!) are new to you. 

Notable Quotes

“I’m really fascinated by these connections that cells form with one another in the brain. And I’m really fascinated by how they form these partnerships so reliably, and all the right equipment gets there. And generally under typical conditions, we have this really high fidelity system so that [a] neurotransmitter gets released, and the right receptors are there to receive it, and the signal gets passed on. That always struck me as just this incredibly cosmic process. How do we make it right all the time, hundreds of thousands of times during development?” -Rochelle

“The average drug that gets into the clinic costs about 3 billion. And most of that cost is racked up from failures that get pushed along, pushed along, make it into clinical, a lot of money goes into them, and then they ultimately fail. So I think a big strategy now is to see how quickly you can get something to fail, because then you’ll save yourself some time and money in the long run.” -Rochelle

“If you want the answer, you should listen to everyone. You should be [a] skeptic, but you should listen to everyone.”-Dustin

“I’m not at the stage where I think this is our last hope; I think there’s other hopes. But I see a revolution here. I really do, because it’s impacting the basic science that we’re doing also. People need this. People deserve it.” -Dustin

Links Tesselate Therapeutics Dustin Hines, Ph.D. Rochelle Hines, Ph.D. Why it’s a problem that pulse oximeters don’t work as well on patients of color Head-Twitch Response Ocular dominance column (Gül Dölen)

The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives, by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler Illness And Sick-Role Behavior Estimated Research and Development Investment Needed to Bring a New Medicine to Market, 2009-2018

The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture, by Gabor Maté, MD, with Daniel Maté Journey Colab Looks to Mescaline for Treating Alcohol Use Disorder


In this Episode

Dr. Rochelle Hines, Ph.D & Dr. Dustin Hines, Ph.D.

Rochelle Hines, Ph.D.’s research is particularly focused on understanding neurotransmitter systems, receptor targets, and the ways that neurotransmitter systems interact in order to develop innovative mental health therapies. Rochelle is Co-Founder and CEO of Tessellate Therapeutics and also holds an associate professor position at UNLV. Rochelle has been an invited panelist for Beyond Curie: A Celebration of Badass Women in STEM, and National Education for Women’s (NEW) Leadership Nevada. Rochelle’s work has been featured in The Conversation, and Science Daily.

A major objective of Dustin Hines, Ph.D.’s research is the advancement of novel mental health therapies. To pursue novel therapies, Dustin engages in screening and testing of innovative compounds, as well as mechanistic studies into the actions of currently available therapies. Dustin is Co-Founder and CSO of Tessellate Therapeutics, focused on the development and testing of novel psychedelic molecules and complementary modulators, with the objective of improved mental health. Dustin holds an assistant professor position at UNLV. Dustin’s work has been featured in Scientific American Mind, and Technology Networks’ Drug Discovery. Both Dustin and Rochelle have published numerous papers on their research, with thousands of citations of these works.