Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Michael Wedemeyer

Postdoctoral Researcher

I am a postdoctoral researcher working under the guidance of Dr. Bill Clarke and Dr. Kelly Berg at UTHSCSA. Our research is focused on understanding how drugs interact with opioid receptors with the goal of developing pain-relieving drugs without the addictive side effects of many opioids.

  • Professional Background


    • 2020 - PhD - Medical College of Wisconsin
    • 2015 - Bachelor's - Milwaukee School of Engineering
  • Research

    am very interested in a family of proteins, known as G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), that reside on the surface of cells. These GPCRs allow a cell to sense chemical signals in the external environment and respond accordingly. In the human body, GPCRs regulate many important functions and systems such as the immune system, the nervous system, and cell homeostasis, so it is unsurprising that over a third of FDA approved drugs target GPCRs. However, we are just starting to understand the complexity of these receptors and the mechanisms by which they affect cell responses. This gap in knowledge opens the door for unwanted side effects in drugs that target GPCRs.

    Currently, I am studying drugs that either activate or block opioid GPCRs. My pharmacological training in the T32 program under Dr. William Clarke and Dr. Kelly Berg will add to my experience using computational molecular modeling to gain a more complete understanding of how drugs interact with opioid GPCRs and affect the human body. The opioid epidemic is the most infamous example of abused drugs that target GPCRs, and this research has the potential to develop pain-relieving drugs without the addictive side effects of many opioids.


    I received my bachelor’s degree in BioMolecular Engineering from Milwaukee School of Engineering in 2015. During my final year I led a research team of four students working on developing a novel drug delivery system to the colon. This work was published along with a follow up manuscript describing potential use of our hydrogels as artificial red blood cells.

    After graduation, I attended the Medical College of Wisconsin where I discovered my interest in structural biology. I joined the lab of Dr. Brian Volkman and investigated chemokine-receptor interactions via NMR and cell-based assays. After I attended a bootcamp for learning the Rosetta molecular modeling suite, I spent a month in the lab of Dr. Jens Meiler at Vanderbilt University to jumpstart my development of a Rosetta protocol to model chemokine-bound receptors. The capstone of my PhD work involved combining bioinformatics and in vitro experiments to investigate how the two main chemokine subfamilies selectively bind their receptors.

  • Publications

    Wedemeyer, M. J., Mueller, B. K., Bender, B. J., Meiler, J., & Volkman, B. F. (2020). Comparative modeling and docking of chemokine-receptor interactions with Rosetta. Biochemical and biophysical research communications528(2), 389–397.

    Wedemeyer, M. J., Mahn, S. A., Getschman, A. E., Crawford, K. S., Peterson, F. C., Marchese, A., McCorvy, J. D., & Volkman, B. F. (2020). The chemokine X-factor: Structure-function analysis of the CXC motif at CXCR4 and ACKR3. The Journal of biological chemistry295(40), 13927–13939.

    Stealey, S., Guo, X., Majewski, R., Dyble, A., Lehman, K., Wedemeyer, M., Steeber, D. A., Kaltchev, M. G., Chen, J., & Zhang, W. (2020). Calcium-oligochitosan-pectin microcarrier for colonic drug delivery. Pharmaceutical development and technology25(2), 260–265.

    Wedemeyer, M. J., Mueller, B. K., Bender, B. J., Meiler, J., & Volkman, B. F. (2019). Modeling the complete chemokine-receptor interaction. Methods in cell biology149, 289–314.

    Holl, K., He, H., Wedemeyer, M., Clopton, L., Wert, S., Meckes, J. K., Cheng, R., Kastner, A., Palmer, A. A., Redei, E. E., & Solberg Woods, L. C. (2018). Heterogeneous stock rats: a model to study the genetics of despair-like behavior in adolescence. Genes, brain, and behavior17(2), 139–148.

    Zhang, W., Bissen, M. J., Savela, E. S., Clausen, J. N., Fredricks, S. J., Guo, X., Paquin, Z. R., Dohn, R. P., Pavelich, I. J., Polovchak, A. L., Wedemeyer, M. J., Shilling, B. E., Dufner, E. N., O'Donnell, A. C., Rubio, G., Readnour, L. R., Brown, T. F., Lee, J. C., Kaltchev, M. G., Chen, J., … Tritt, C. S. (2016). Design of artificial red blood cells using polymeric hydrogel microcapsules: hydrogel stability improvement and polymer selection. The International journal of artificial organs39(10), 518–523.