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Updated 10:00 AM October 13, 2003



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$2M NIH grant to fund drug design lab at Pharmacy

The College of Pharmacy will use a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a lab focusing on molecular- and cellular-based approaches to drug design, targeting and delivery.

The grant from NIH's National Center for Research Resources Research Facilities Improvement Program will help fund a complete renovation of 8,000 square feet of laboratory facilities in the Pharmacy Research Building, including facilities for the college's nascent Center for Molecular Drug Targeting (CMDT).

"Recent rapid advances in our knowledge of therapeutic targets, therapeutic agents and their interactions in molecular and cellular terms point pharmaceutical research inevitably toward drug design and delivery strategies based on molecular targeting, rational drug design and pharmacogenomics," says Henry Mosberg, associate dean for research at the college and a member of the center's faculty.

The CMDT already exists at the basic, collaborative level, and its core faculty members have begun consolidating their expertise to pursue shared external research funding. The college expects to take about two years to complete the renovation project.

The center has four core pharmacy faculty members: Mosberg, professor of medicinal chemistry; Gordon Amidon, the Charles R. Walgreen Jr. Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Kyung-Dall Lee, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences; and Gustavo Rosania, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences.

The center also will include associate faculty from the Department of Chemistry, and the schools of Dentistry and Medicine. "Our belief is that the whole will be greater than the sum of its parts," Mosberg says. "The core faculty is already here. Further, the center will enhance the college's research capabilities in areas essential for 21st century drug targeting research."

While the core members already have their own individual laboratories, the CMDT will offer expanded access to a broader array of shared instrumentation, facilities and expertise.

"We also expect to enhance multidisciplinary research through shared methods, techniques and instrumentation. Toward that end, the shared facilities of CMDT will provide access to the instruments necessary for today's molecular and cellular approaches, including the most recent microarray and proteomic technologies as well as instruments essential for tissue culture, imaging and recombinant protein production," Mosberg says.

The center will be an asset for faculty recruitment and retention, and will have substantial educational benefits for graduate and undergraduate student education, Mosberg says.

Center members anticipate having close ties with the Life Sciences Institute, the new facility that brings together disciplines including genomics and proteomics, molecular and cellular biology, and structural, chemical and computational biology.

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