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Researcher receives Eshelman Institute for Innovation grant to pursue COVID-19 therapy

April 20, 2020

The Eshelman Institute for Innovation (EII) recently awarded Sam Lai, Ph.D., a $50,000 opportunistic grant to pursue COVID-19 research. The award will fund the development of a number of nebulized monoclonal antibody (mAb)-based therapy against COVID-19. This is based on the “muco-trapping” mAb platform that the Lai Lab has pioneered over the past 10 years. These mAbs, when delivered by inhalation, will neutralize the virus and quickly eliminate them from lung airways. “The funding provided by EII provides essential resources for us to continue our development of a number of potent antibody molecules for COVID-19, while we await other funding … Continued


Wang receives $2.5 million grant to further novel cancer treatment research

April 9, 2020

Xiaodong Wang, Ph.D., has received a selective $2.5 million R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health to research and develop a new treatment for targeting tumor cells. Wang is a research associate professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery (CICBDD). Her lab focuses on developing new drugs or drug leads for new molecular targets. A MERTK/FLT3 dual inhibitor MRX-2843 from her lab is in phase I clinical trial for patients with relapsed or refractory solid tumors. The five-year grant will investigate cancer treatments for the dual-inhibitor targets MERTK and AXL. … Continued


Pinnacle Hill Announces First Project Agreement

December 18, 2019

Alliance Between UNC-Chapel Hill and Deerfield intends to advance select Carolina innovations toward a possible new treatment against multiple myeloma Pinnacle Hill, the research and development partnership between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Deerfield Management Company, an investment management firm, recently announced its first project agreement to advance the preclinical development of new medicines. Pinnacle Hill will support a project of Lindsey James, an assistant professor in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry. Her work focuses on multiple myeloma, a devastating cancer that develops in bone marrow. James and … Continued


Researchers develop data-driven strategy to discover cancer therapies

December 6, 2019

Drug discoverers Dmitri Kireev, Ph.D., and Xiaodong Wang, Ph.D., of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy have created a data-driven strategy to be able to treat diseases such as acute myeloid leukemia and nonsmall cell lung cancer. Kireev said controlling which particular members of a large protein family are targeted by a drug is key to achieving an effective therapeutic response in patients, and that’s what they have set out to accomplish. “Structure-based design is a cornerstone of the modern drug discovery since the 1990s. However, it largely missed the big data revolution. The structure-based approach we propose distills big … Continued


New NIH proposal aims to advance Alzheimer’s drug discovery research

October 1, 2019

(Photo courtesy of Stephen Frye) A group of researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are part of a new research proposal to create chemical and biological tools to explore novel molecular targets related to Alzheimer’s disease. The proposal, which was submitted through the NIH National Institute on Aging, aims to create new chemical probes to validate therapeutic targets for Alzheimer’s, which has no known cure, and very few treatments. The project was awarded $37.5 million for five years. Emory University is the leader on the proposal, which is a collaboration between five institutions including UNC. The … Continued


Albert Bowers Promoted to Associate Professor

July 9, 2018

Albert Bowers, Ph.D., a faculty member in the Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry, has been promoted to the rank of associate professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Bowers is a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and an affiliate member of the School’s Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery. Bowers’ research focuses on harnessing natural product biosynthesis to make next generation therapeutics. Researchers in the Bowers Lab, who go by the Twitter handle @BowersRangers, use insights and chemistries from natural product biosynthesis to facilitate the discovery and development of new natural product-like … Continued


Researchers Discover Compound with Potential to Stop Cancer Metastasis

May 21, 2018

A UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy scientist is a leader in a large research collaboration that has discovered a new compound that suppressed the spread of cancer — a process known as metastasis — in three different animal models of human cancer. When cancer metastasizes, it spreads from its starting point to a different part of the body. The new compound created by the research team and named metarrestin significantly inhibited metastasis in human breast cancer, human prostate cancer and human pancreatic cancer that had been grafted into mice. Mice treated with the compound had fewer metastatic tumors in the … Continued


Bowers Receives $1.9 M NIGMS Outstanding Investigator Award

December 7, 2017

Albert Bowers, Ph.D., has received a R35 Outstanding Investigator Award worth more than $1.9 million over five years from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to study the chemoenzymatic synthesis, mode of action and evolution of natural product-based macrocycles. Bowers is an assistant professor in the School’s Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry. He is a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and affiliate member of the Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery. “Natural peptide macrocycles are promising next-generation therapeutics, due to their abilities to bind to challenging protein targets, such as protein interfaces … Continued


Hathaway Gets $1.5 Million Grant to Study Heterochromatin’s Genetic Role

October 11, 2017

Nate Hathaway, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, has received a grant worth more than $1.5 million over five years from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to investigate the mechanism of HP1-mediated heterochromatin assembly and durability in live cells. “Proper regulation of chromatin, the material that makes up chromosomes, is required for human development,” Hathaway said “Abnormalities or impairment in the regulation of chromatin modification pathways lies at the root of many human cancers.” Hathaway is an assistant professor in the Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry and a member of the … Continued


McGinty Awarded 2017 Pew-Stewart Scholarship to Pursue Cancer Research

June 15, 2017

Robert McGinty, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, has been selected as a 2017 Pew-Stewart Scholar for Cancer Research. The scholarship awards $240,000 over a four-year term to early-career scientists whose research may accelerate discovery and advance progress to a cure for cancer. McGinty initially applied to the Pew Scholars Program but was offered the Pew-Stewart Scholarship instead because of the relevancy of his work to cancer treatment. McGinty studies the mechanisms governing epigenetic signaling at the nucleosome and chromatin levels. Nucleosomes are a basic … Continued