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Tropsha, Muratov, partners identify potential drug candidates for COVID-19, land on National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences 2020 Papers of the Year list

February 12, 2021

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) recently announced UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy faculty paper “Computational modeling identifies drug candidates for SARS-CoV-2” as one of the organization’s 2020 Papers of the Year. The publication, with Alex Tropsha, Ph.D. and Eugene Muratov, Ph.D., both in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry, as senior authors along with co-authors at the NIEHS and members of the Tropsha lab, was selected as one of 27 from nearly 3,500 publications by NIEHS researchers and grantees in 2020, according to the organization’s website. “It is a great honor and … Continued

Ph.D. student earns Ministry of Education of Taiwan fellowship to further studies, research

October 23, 2020

Ph.D. student Yien Liao recently earned the Ministry of Education of Taiwan’s Government Scholarship to Study Abroad (GSSA) to further her studies and research at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. The $32,000 fellowship will provide two years of support of Liao’s thesis which explores glycoscience, specifically in synthetic oligosaccharide (carbohydrate) applications in sepsis and liver/kidney ischemia-reperfusion. Liao studies in the School’s Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry in the lab of Jian Liu, Ph.D. “Searching for new carbohydrate-based molecules to control dysregulated inflammatory responses will be a crucial step for the treatment of many diseases,” Liu said. “The … Continued

Researchers reveal safeguarding of a key DNA sensor in the innate immune system

October 21, 2020

UNC-Chapel Hill researchers have, for the first time, determined the high-resolution structure of a key DNA-sensing protein in the innate immune system called cGAS while it is bound to the nucleosome – the all-important unit of DNA packaging inside a cell’s nucleus. This research, published in Science, reveals in detail how the nucleosomes inside our cells block cGAS from unintentionally triggering the body’s innate immune response to our own DNA. The work was led by Qi Zhang, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the UNC School of Medicine, and Robert McGinty, MD, PhD, assistant professor of chemical biology … 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

Researcher seeks answers for epigenetic abnormalities leading to cancer diagnoses

October 30, 2019

Lindsey Ingerman James, Ph.D., with the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy is interested in epigenetic abnormalities that lead to cancer. For example, misregulation of the NSD2 gene has been implicated in numerous cancers including multiple myeloma and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. NSD2 was further found to be among the most frequently mutated genes across 1,000 pediatric cancer genomes, representing 21 different pediatric cancer subtypes. Over the course of the next five years, James plans to apply medicinal chemistry, chemical biology, and cancer biology approaches to discover first-in-class NSD2 bifunctional degraders in order to better understand NSD2 cancer biology, to assess NSD2 … Continued

Kaohsiung Medical University members visit UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

September 25, 2019

For nearly 50 years, Kuo-Hsiung Lee, Ph.D., has connected the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy to his beloved alma mater of Kaohsiung Medical University (KMU) in Taiwan. Through the years, more than a dozen visiting scholars from the medical university have collaborated with Lee in his lab in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. “I love this school and Chapel Hill,” Lee said. “I hope to make both countries strong scientifically.” On Sept. 23, 2019, Lee continued to advance the collaboration by hosting members of Kaohsiung Medical University at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy for a campus tour and briefing with … Continued

Beaudoin, Vogt Earn NIH Predoctoral Research Grants

March 27, 2019

Two Ph.D. candidates at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy recently received National Research Service Awards from the National Institutes of Health. Jim Beaudoin, from the Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics, and Caleb Vogt, from the Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry, received the NRSA grants. Beaudoin is advised by Kim Brouwer, Pharm.D., Ph.D., and Vogt is advised by Jeff Aubé, Ph.D. The NIH grant, known also as an F31, is awarded to promising predoctoral students so that they can obtain individualized, mentored research training while conducting dissertation research. Beaudoin’s research project will investigate organic solute transporter α/β, … Continued

Mariya Popova Awarded NVIDIA Graduate Fellowship

February 21, 2019

Mariya Popova, a second-year Ph.D. student in the Laboratory for Molecular Modeling, is the recipient of the 2019-20 NVIDIA Graduate Fellowship. Popova is supervised by Alexander Tropsha, Ph.D., and Olexandr Isayev, Ph.D. Her research focuses on applications and development of deep learning methods for computational chemistry and drug design. Popova is developing deep learning algorithms to solve computational chemistry problems, such as the generation of novel molecules with desired properties and prediction of a synthesis path for a given chemical compound. “My research goal is to revolutionize drug design with artificial intelligence,” she said. “Having these problems solved will speed … Continued

Skrajna Awarded American Cancer Society Postdoc Fellowship

January 24, 2019

Aleksandra Skrajna, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been awarded a three-year post-doctoral fellowship from the American Cancer Society. The fellowship, worth over $150,000 over three years, supports the training of promising post-doctoral scientists in preparation for independent careers in cancer research. Skrajna works in the lab of Robert McGinty, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor at the School and an associate Lineberger member. Skrajna’s research is focused on how enzymes bind to our genetic material in cells to ensure that our genes are expressed appropriately. “By understanding how … Continued

Self-Taught UNC AI System Designs Drugs from Scratch

July 31, 2018

An artificial-intelligence approach created at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can teach itself to design new drug molecules from scratch. ReLeaSE is an algorithm and computer program developed at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. It comprises two neural networks: a teacher and a student. The teacher knows the syntax and linguistic rules behind the vocabulary of chemical structures for about 1.7 million known biologically active molecules, said K. H. Lee Distinguished Professor Alexander Tropsha, Ph.D., one of the creators of the new AI system. “After learning the molecular alphabet and the rules of the language, the … Continued