Zhiheng Wang

Zhiheng WangEpstein Laboratory
Department of Chemistry
Brandeis University

Rhythmic Release of an Antidepressant by an Enzyme System

Poster Abstract

Sarcosine is a derivative of glycine, and has previously shown to help patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The antidepressant activity is a result of enhancing the activity of NMDA receptors in the brain, which help the brain adapt and involve in memory. Since sarcosine is a product of enzymatic action of creatinase on creatine, we use this enzymatic system as the source of sarcosine. Here, we aim to deliver sarcosine in a selfsustained and oscillatory manner; for this purpose, we couple a pH oscillator with the enzymatic reaction mentioned above. Our initial simulations show the existence of bistability, which depends on the concentration of creatine.

Personal Statement

The M.R. Bauer Foundation Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship offers a great research experience to me. At the Nonlinear Dynamics group at Brandeis, I am interested in finding a mechanism to produce and deliver sarcosine, an antidepressant, with self-sustained oscillatory manner. The oscillatory mechanism consists of creatine-creatinase and urea-urease reactions, as well as a coupled pH oscillator. During the last 10 weeks, I have been working on finding the physical-chemical conditions required for the coupled enzymatic reaction systems to produce sarcosine, and on solving the differential equations of our model numerically using an in-house MATLAB script. At the end of the summer, I presented my poster named “Rhythmic Release of an Antidepressant by an Enzyme System” to more than 100 Brandeis faculty and students.

The M.R. Bauer Foundation fellowship is important to me not only because it generously offered me a stipend but also because of the invaluable experience and knowledge I’ve gained through the whole process. I am also glad that I can give back to Brandeis community and promote science as one of the Bauer fellows. By investigating on this creative task, and with help from my group, and with the support of Bauer Fellowship, I believe I am shaped and prepared for future graduate study.