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Blaise M. Costa, MPharm, PhD

Blaise M. Costa

Blaise M. Costa, MPharm, PhD

Associate Professor for Pharmacology
Virginia Campus


540-231-1468 office
540-231-6196 lab
bcosta [at]
Curriculum Vitae: 

During pharmacy school in the late 1990’s, I generated interest in receptor pharmacology and continued for masters in pharmacology before obtaining a PhD position in NIMHANS. There I worked on molecular dynamics and pharmacology of NMDA receptors using computational biophysics technique. To work out my theoretical findings I decided to shift back to experimental biology by doing molecular neuroscience training in Anne Stephenson lab in London. This training was funded by The Royal Society as an international exchange research fellowship awarded to me. In order to expand my understanding of NMDA receptor physiology I joined Heinrich Betz group at the Max Planck Institute, where I learned electrophysiology techniques from
Bodo Laube. To utilize all these multidisciplinary training exclusively on NMDA receptors, I moved to Daniel Monaghan’s lab at UNMC to work on a project focusing NMDA receptor subunit specific drug discovery. Successfully, during this work we identified a novel family of negative and positive allosteric modulators to dissect NMDA receptors based on their GluN2 subunit composition. This remained as challenge in both industry and academia for about two decades. The manuscripts and a US patent (#61371221) evolved from this discovery have been published. Currently, I am interested in identifying and developing NMDA receptor based therapeutic agents for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders and stroke.


2007 - 2009 Postdoc, University of Nebraska Medical Center, OMAHA, NE  
2006 - 2007 Postdoc, Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt, Germany  
2005 - 2006 International Research Fellow, School of Pharmacy, University of London, UK  
2001 – 2005 National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, India PhD (Psychopharmacology)
1999 – 2001 MGR Medical University, Chennai, India MS (Pharmacology)
1995 – 1999 MGR Medical University, Chennai, India BPharm

Current Professional Organizations

  • Member of American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
  • Member of American Heart Association
  • Invited reviewer for Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics Journal article
  • Invited reviewer for American Society for Pharmacology and Exp Therapeutics
  • Invited reviewer for American Chemical Society Journal article
  • Invited reviewer for Journal of Neurochemistry International
  • Invited reviewer for Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
  • Invited reviewer for International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience
  • Membership in Society for Neuroscience, USA
  • Cleared Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalent Exam and enrolled for certification

Current Research Projects

  • Development and pharmacological characterization of mechanistically distinct NMDA receptor allosteric modulators
  • Elucidating the molecular mechanisms of cranial osteopathic manipulation
  • Identifying molecular determinants of novel drug target in NMDA receptors
  • NMDA receptor subunit specific drug discovery
  • The efficiency and efficacy of integrated multidisciplinary learning modules that contain active learning components
  • The role of tri-heteromeric NMDA receptors in stroke and its mitigation


Year Published Faculty Citation PMID

Kane LT, Costa BM. Identification of novel allosteric modulator binding sites in NMDA receptors: A molecular modeling study. J Mol Graph Model. 2015 Sep;61:204-213.


Irvine MW, Fang G, Eaves R, Mayo-Martin MB, Costa BM, Culley GR, Volianskis A, Collingridge GL, Monaghan DT, Jane DE. Synthesis of a Series of Novel 3,9-Disubstituted Phenanthrenes as Analogues of Known N-Methyl-D-aspartate Receptor Allosteric Modulators. Synthesis. 2015 Jun 1;47(11):1593-1610.


Collingridge GL, Volianskis A, Bannister N, France G, Hanna L, Mercier M, Tidball P, Fang G, Irvine MW, Costa BM, Monaghan DT, Bortolotto ZA, Molnár E, Lodge D, Jane DE. The NMDA receptor as a target for cognitive enhancement. Neuropharmacology. 2013 Jan; 64:13-26. PMID: 22796429.


Costa BM, Yao H, Yang L, Buch S. Role of Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) stress in cocaine-induced microglial cell death. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2013 June; 8(3):704-14. PMID: 23404095.


Gautam V, Trinidad JC, Rimerman RA, Costa BM, Burlingame AL, Monaghan DT. Nedd4 is a specific E3 ubiquitin ligase for the NMDA receptor subunit GluN2D. Neuropharmacology. 2013 Nov; 74:96-107. PMID: 23639431.