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UNC Scientists Take a Big Step toward a Better Opioid

January 10, 2018

For the first time, scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and collaborators solved the crystal structure of the activated kappa opioid receptor bound to a morphine derivative. They then created a new drug-like compound that activates only that receptor, a key step in the development of better pain medications. The research, published in the journal Cell, shows a route toward creating opioids that relieve pain without causing the severe side effects at the heart of the opioid epidemic. Currently, most opioids bind to several opioid receptors on the surface of cells, and this is one of the main reasons … Read more

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 … Read more

SGC-UNC Collaborates on $2.3 Million Project to Create Open Source Tech for Gene Discovery in Plants

November 30, 2017

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill hub of the international Structural Genomics Consortium will partner with the University of California, Davis to study the genes of rice plants responsible for root growth. The scientists will create an open source database and lay the groundwork for developing new varieties of drought resistant crops. The work is supported by a $1 million Seeding Solutions grant from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a nonprofit established in the 2014 Farm Bill with bipartisan congressional support. The FFAR grant has been matched with funding from the UC Davis Innovation … Read more

Pharm.D. RASP Students Win National Research Grants

November 9, 2017

Amy Lin and Kevin Straughn, both third-year Pharm.D. candidates, have won nationally competitive research grants. Both students are members of the Research and Scholarship in Pharmacy program, a pathway in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy built around a mentored, in-depth scholarly project. Lin was awarded the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education’s Gateway to Research Scholarship. Her project is titled, “Developing Hippeastrine Derivatives to Treat and Understand Zika Virus Infection.” Her mentor is Qisheng Zhang, Ph.D., and her award was $5,000. Straughn was awarded the American College of Clinical Pharmacy Research Institute’s Futures Grant Student and Resident Investigator Award. His … Read more

Pharmacy Grad Students Prevail in UNC Three Minute Thesis Competition

November 2, 2017

Katelyn Arnold, a graduate student in the Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry, won first place in this year’s Three Minute Thesis competition hosted by the UNC Graduate School on Nov. 1. Aaron Devanathan, Pharm.D., a graduate student in the Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics, received the People’s Choice Award. Arnold received a prize of $1,000 and will represent the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the 2018 regional Three Minute Thesis competition. Arnold graduated in May 2015 with a B.S. in medicinal pharmaceutical chemistry from the University of Dayton. She works in the lab of … Read more

UNC Catalyst Hosts NIH/NCATS Assay Guidance Workshop

October 25, 2017

The UNC Catalyst for Rare Diseases, together with Promega, sponsored an NIH/NCATS assay guidance workshop for high-throughput screening and lead discovery on Monday, October 23. Forty-nine scientists from academia and the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries registered to attend. The workshop was held at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Carolina Club and was followed by an evening reception. “The workshop proved to be an invaluable opportunity to learn about the current state of the art and best practices in the areas of assay development, high throughput screening and lead optimization,” said Dave Morris, Ph.D., interim director of UNC … Read more

Jinan University Faculty Visit Natural Products Research Laboratories

October 18, 2017

Faculty from Jinan University visited the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and its Natural Products Research Laboratories directed by Kenan Distinguished Professor Kuo-Hsiung Lee, Ph.D., on Oct. 16 and 17 for a symposium on the globalization of Chinese medicine. This symposium was organized by Katie Musgrove, the executive associate for the NPRL. Lee was invited to Jinan University in Guangzhou, China, in May to deliver a lecture entitled “Perspectives and strategies on discovery and development of world-class new drugs from Chinese herbal medicine and formulas” and to discuss both the NPRL’s and Jinan University’s traditional Chinese medicine programs. He reciprocated … Read more

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 … Read more

New Synthetic Anticoagulant Developed at UNC Ready for Clinical Trials

September 6, 2017

A new synthetic version of the widely used anticoagulant heparin developed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can now be made in commercially viable quantities and promises to be safer than existing drugs. It is ready to begin human trials. Researchers at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy have created a synthetic form of low-molecular-weight heparin, which is typically used to treat and prevent deep vein thromboses. A DVT is a blood clot that forms in a deep vein, usually in the leg, and is dangerous because part of the clot can break off and block blood … Read more

Aubé Receives Edward Leete Award for Teaching and Research

August 16, 2017

Jeffrey Aubé, Ph.D., is the recipient of the 2017 Edward Leete Award from the American Chemical Society’s division of organic chemistry. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to teaching and research in organic chemistry. Aubé is a Fred Eshelman Distinguished Professor in the School’s Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry. He researches the chemistry of heterocyclic compounds and their applications to problems in medicinal organic chemistry. The Leete Award noted his current work in opioid pharmacology, steroid biosynthesis inhibitors and the discovery of anti-tuberculosis agents. Aubé is the author of more than 205 scholarly articles. Aubé’s other accomplishments include co-authoring … Read more