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The Eshelman Institute for Innovation on June 1 funded projects proposed by 25 UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy faculty and staff members totaling more than $3.5 million.

The Eshelman Institute was created by a $100 million gift from alumnus, philanthropist and pharmaceutical executive Fred Eshelman, Pharm.D., to the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy in December 2014. The institute aims to inspire a culture of innovation where imagination and creative solutions accelerate change in education, research and health care. The Eshelman Institute has awarded more than $20.8 million since 2015.

Awards are divided into three funding tiers: tier 1 projects are funded up to $50,000, tier 2 up to $200,000 and tier 3 up to $750,000.

2018 Tier 1 recipients

  • Elena Batrakova, Ph.D., “Developing Exosome-based Delivery of TPP1 for Batten Disease Therapy”
  • Carter Cao, Ph.D., “A Novel Format of Bispecific Antibody: Unleash the Hidden Power of TNF-α Trimerization to Overcome Anti-Cancer Resistance”
  • Dan Crona, Pharm.D., Ph.D., “Precision Dosing of TKIs for Real World Patients with CML”
  • Jennifer Fox, “Valuing Our People: Promoting Staff Development to Establish a Culture of Workplace Engagement”
  • Dong Fu, Ph.D., “A Novel ‘Out-of-the-Well’ Design for Microplates to Facilitate High-Throughput Cell-based Screening in Drug Development”
  • Michael Jarstfer, Ph.D., “Discovery of Senescence Markers and Drug Targets”
  • Michael Jay, Ph.D. “The Osmopatch: An Osmotic Controlled-Release Transdermal Drug Delivery System”
  • Alexander Kabanov, Ph.D., Dr.Sci., “Brain Drug Delivery: Optimizing miR-29 Nanoformulation for Neuroprotection”
  • Dmitri Kireev, Ph.D., “Probing the Impact of Epigenetics on Neuronal Network Dynamics and Cognition”
  • David Lawrence, Ph.D., “Assessing Laboratory Risks in an Augmented Environment”
  • Rob McGinty, M.D., Ph.D., “Orthogonal Nucleosomes to Transform Epigenetics Research”
  • Merrie Mosedale, Ph.D., “Development of a Novel Human In Vitro System to Predict Cholestatic Drug-induced Liver Injury”
  • Samantha Pattenden, Ph.D., “Development of a First-in-Class High Throughput Assay Based on Chromatin Accessibility”
  • Xiaodong Wang, Ph.D., “Chemical Biology Tools for High-precision Probing of Neuronal Development”

2018 Tier 2 recipients

  • Kevin Frankowski, Ph.D., “Allosteric Dopamine Modulators for the Treatment of CNS Disorders”
  • Shawn Hingtgen, Ph.D., “Native and Bioprinted 3D Tissue Array Platform for Predicting Cancer Metastasis and Drug Response”
  • Federico Innocenti, M.D., Ph.D., “Defining the Microbiome in Colon Cancer to Achieve Precision Therapeutics”
  • Olexandr Isayev, Ph.D., “Artificial Intelligence (AI) Driven de novo Design of Selective Kinase Inhibitors”
  • Lindsey James, Ph.D., “Transforming CRISPR-Cas9 Genome-Editing Efficiency.”
  • Alexander Kabanov, Ph.D., Dr. Sci, “Nanoparticle Delivery of Cas9 and Therapeutic gRNAs to the Brain”
  • Ken Pearce, Ph.D., “Pursuit of a Novel Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease via Targeting microRNA-29 Expression”
  • Alexander Tropsha, Ph.D., “Elucidating the Effect of Bariatric Surgery on Diabetes Progression Using Patient Data”

2018 Tier 3 recipients

  • Jeff Aubé, Ph.D., “Kappa Opioid Receptor Agonists Lacking Side Effects”
  • Sam Lai, Ph.D., “In Vivo Engineering of T-cells for CAR-T-based Therapy”
  • Rihe Liu, Ph.D., “A Wholly Protein-based Self-assembly Nanoplatform for Tunable Cancer Immunotherapy”

The Eshelman Institute provides a mechanism for faculty, staff and students at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy to seek funding for bold, transformative ideas. It provides opportunities to educate and train students and postdoctoral fellows, foster collaboration, creativity and innovation and stimulate commercialization of intellectual property and entrepreneurial development.

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