Jeffrey M. Witkin, Ph.D. – Research Fellow
Dr. Jeffrey M. Witkin has served at RespireRx, since October 2020, as Research Fellow and Scientific Advisor. Notwithstanding, he is an adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he co-led the team with Dr. Rok Cerne and Dr. James M. Cook that performed the preclinical research for KRM-II-81, an a2/3-selective GABAkine licensed to RespireRx. Dr. Witkin is also a senior investigator in the Laboratory of Antiepileptic Drug Discovery that he co-founded in Indianapolis, Indiana. From 2001 to 2017, he directed a neuroscience discovery group at the Lilly Research Labs that discovered multiple antidepressants and novel glutamate and GABA receptor neuromodulators. During that time, his work on AMPAkines has been one of the primary mechanistic guides to the discovery of rapid-acting antidepressants. His laboratory was the first to disclose the antiepileptic effects of the neuroactive steroid ganaxolone that is currently in Ph3 development. His biological leadership over the studies of LY2940094, a novel NOP receptor antagonist, led to the first proof-of-principle study of antidepressant activity in patients for this mechanism. He is the patent holder for the invention of the antiepileptic effects of LY3130481, the first g-8 TARP-dependent AMPA receptor antagonist under development for intractable epilepsy. Other compounds for which Dr. Witkin served as the biology leader are also still under clinical development. Prior to his time at Lilly, he headed the Drug Development Group for the intramural research program of the NIH for 14 years. He has been studying the behavioral effects and mechanisms of action of new chemical entities as they relate to their potential therapeutic application for nearly 50 years. Key scientific contributions from his work have enabled the discovery and development of anxiolytics, antidepressants, and antiepileptic medicines. He is a world class scientist with over 240 peer-reviewed publications, and recently edited the book, Neuropsychopharmacology. He has authored several patents and has been awarded multiple scientific honors.