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Jeff Aubé

(919) 966-9650

jaube@email.unc.edu

ACCEPTING DOCTORAL STUDENTS

The Aubé laboratory uses synthetic chemistry to enable the study of biological pathways and as starting points for drug discovery. Current efforts in the group include the study of new opioids lacking side effects, new approaches for the treatment of tuberculosis, androgen biosynthesis inhibitor discovery, the search for RNA-protein interaction inhibitors, and the development of new synthetic methods.

Alison Axtman

(216) 470-7201

alison.axtman@unc.edu

Axtman is currently a research assistant professor in the Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry Department in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. At the SGC-UNC, she leads the design of novel chemical probes for understudied protein kinases that will be openly shared with collaborators to facilitate target discovery in human disease-relevant assays. When she’s not in the lab, Axtman can most often be found at the gym preparing for the next CrossFit or GRID competition with her teammates.

Albert Bowers

abower2@email.unc.edu

ACCEPTING DOCTORAL STUDENTS

Albert Bowers received his PhD in organic chemistry (synthetic methods) from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He carried out postdoctoral research (total synthesis) at Colorado State University before moving as an NIH sponsored fellow to Harvard Medical School (biosynthesis). He is a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and affiliate member of the Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery.

David Drewry

(919) 962-5349

david.drewry@unc.edu

ACCEPTING DOCTORAL STUDENTS

The Drewry lab in focused on designing, synthesizing, evaluating, and sharing small molecule chemical probes for protein kinases. These tools are used to build a deeper understanding of disease pathways and facilitate identification of important targets for drug discovery. Through wide ranging partnerships with academic and industrial groups, the Drewry lab is building a Kinase Chemogenomic Set (KCGS) that is available to the community for screening.

Kevin Frankowski

(919) 966-1659

kevinf@email.unc.edu

Research in the Frankowski lab uses synthetic chemistry to develop new approaches for the treatment of unmet medical needs. Our current efforts focus on programs to treat metastatic cancer, hepatitis C virus infection and the development of chemical tools for studying dopamine and sigma receptors.

Stephen Frye

(919) 843-5486

svfrye@email.unc.edu

ACCEPTING DOCTORAL STUDENTS

The Frye lab focuses on chemical biology of chromatin regulation with an emphasis on proteins that bind methylated lysine, and collaborative oncology drug discovery with faculty in the Lineberger Cancer Center. Students in the Frye lab develop expertise in synthetic chemistry, biophysical techniques, assay development, structure-based drug design and medicinal chemistry.

Alexander Golbraikh

(919) 966-3459

golbraik@email.unc.edu

Alexander Golbraikh’s research is geared toward the development and application of computational methods for drug discovery and design. Revolutionary development of information and communication technologies during the last few decades has dramatically changed our capabilities of collecting and accessing all sorts of data.

Masuo Goto

goto@med.unc.edu

Dr. Goto’s research is centered around the mechanism of action studies on the novel natural products and their derivatives, which show selective bioactivities against cancer, especially focused on breast cancer and multidrug-resistant carcinomas.

Nate Hathaway

(919) 445-9327

Hathaway@unc.edu

ACCEPTING DOCTORAL STUDENTS

The Hathaway lab was established at UNC with a founding idea that the group could make a contribution to understanding dynamic epigenetic processes by using unique chemical biology approaches they pioneered. Through the combination of protein bioengineering, synthetic organic chemistry, and mammalian cell-based model systems, they have created platforms that use chemically tethered enzymatic recruitment to specific chromatin loci to produce a host of mechanistic insights. The Hathaway group also has drug discovery programs to identify new small molecules that inhibit disease relevant epigenetic pathways both for research purposes and as potential future therapeutics.

Lindsey Ingerman James

(919) 962-4870

ingerman@email.unc.edu

ACCEPTING DOCTORAL STUDENTS

The James lab is interested in modulating the activity of chromatin reader proteins with small-molecule ligands, specifically potent and selective chemical probes, in order to open new avenues of research in the field of chromatin biology and potentially translate to compounds of therapeutic value. They are also interested in applying novel probe-based techniques, such as affinity labeling technologies, to the study of epigenetic regulators.

Michael Bruce Jarstfer

(919) 966-6422

jarstfer@email.unc.edu

As Assistant Dean for Graduate Education, Mike Jarstfer is the Director of Graduate Studies for Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD Program and in this role advances innovative approaches to enhance graduate training. The Jarstfer lab is interested in targeting telomere biology for aging disorders and cancer treatment strategies and exploring the mechanism of oxytocin in controlling social behavior.

David S. Lawrence

(919) 966-5587

lawrencd@email.unc.edu

NOT ACCEPTING GRADUATE STUDENTS

The Lawrence lab works to understand the biochemical processes of the cell by studying them as they happen in the cell as opposed to studying them in vitro. He currently focuses on applying his discoveries to cancer detection and treatment and, to a more limited extent, inflammatory diseases.

Andrew L Lee

(919) 966-7821

drewlee@unc.edu

ACCEPTING DOCTORAL STUDENTS

Andrew Lee studies the role of conformational dynamics in protein function, conformational changes, enzyme catalysis, drug binding, and allostery. His laboratory uses a variety of biophysical and biochemical tools, especially NMR spectroscopy. NMR spectroscopy is a powerful approach that yields atomic-resolution molecular information and is uniquely sensitive to molecular fluctuations over a broad range of timescales.

Kuo-Hsiung Lee

(919) 962-0066

khlee@unc.edu

ACCEPTING DOCTORAL STUDENTS

The K.H. Lee Natural Products Research Laboratories (NPRL) engage in research using medicinal chemistry-based methods to discover new drugs from herbal medicines, particularly Traditional Chinese Medicine. The NPRL combines the fields of the most advanced natural products chemistry and synthetic medicinal chemistry as well as cutting-edge life science technologies in its new drug discovery and design program. An iterative process of bioactivity screening/synthetic modification is used to optimize herbal medicine-based bioactive natural products and their analogs as clinical trials drug candidates for treating cancer and AIDS, as well as other diseases.

Jian Liu

(919) 843-6511

liuj@email.unc.edu

ACCEPTING DOCTORAL STUDENTS

Research in the Jian Liu group is focused on glycobiology and glycobiochemistry, an emerging field that emphasizes the biological functions of carbohydrates. We are particularly interested in understanding the biosynthetic mechanism of sulfated polysaccharides known as heparan sulfate and heparin.

Rihe Liu

(919) 843-3635

rliu@email.unc.edu

ACCEPTING DOCTORAL STUDENTS

The Liu laboratory’s research interests focus on the development and application of novel drug target-binding affinity molecules by integrating directed molecular selection and evolution, ligand design and engineering, in vitro cellular and signaling characterization, and in vivo therapeutic efficacy studies in tumor mouse models. The Liu laboratory has extensive experiences in the design, synthesis, characterization, and delivery of diagnostic and therapeutic agents based on both polypeptides and polynucleotides.

Robert McGinty

(919) 843-4912

rmcginty@email.unc.edu

ACCEPTING DOCTORAL STUDENTS

The McGinty lab studies molecular mechanisms of chromatin signaling. By pairing atomic precision protein chemistry with high resolution structural biology, they aim to understand how the nucleosome functions as a signaling hub for gene expression, DNA replication, and DNA damage repair in development and disease.

Susan Morris-Natschke

(919) 966-7771

susan_natschke@unc.edu

The Morris-Natschke laboratory focuses on natural product chemistry in collaboration with the Natural Products Research Laboratories at UNC. The goal is to support strong rational drug discovery and development research programs, particularly focusing on AIDS and cancer.

Eugene Muratov

murik@email.unc.edu

Dr. Muratov served as a corresponding author on an approach used by regulators to initially screen new chemical products for toxic effects. They have proposed an improvement that could increase the accuracy of toxicity estimation to as much as 85 percent, saving millions of dollars and years of development time for new drugs and other products while improving safety.

Samantha Pattenden

(919) 843-8459

spattend@email.unc.edu

ACCEPTING DOCTORAL STUDENTS

The Pattenden lab develops innovative techniques in chromatin-based therapeutic target discovery and cancer diagnostics. Our research program enables discovery of novel molecular targets, pathways and mechanisms. Our central strategy exploits tumor-specific changes in chromatin accessibility, a universal feature that is directly linked with transcriptional activation, DNA damage repair, replication, RNA processing, and nuclear organization.

Kenneth Pearce, Jr

(919) 843-8461

khpearce@unc.edu

ACCEPTING DOCTORAL STUDENTS

The Pearce lab utilizes numerous methods for conducting early drug and chemical probe discovery research. These techniques include development of biochemical and cell assays, high-throughput screening, DNA-encoded library technology, peptide phage display, and mechanistic/biophysical studies. Targets for these discovery campaigns include proteins involved in epigenetic regulation, signal transduction, and enzymatic modifications. Projects are typically collaborative efforts with labs across the UNC campus and span several therapeutic areas, with a particular focus on oncology targets.

Bryan L Roth

bryan_roth@med.unc.edu

Bryan Roth, PhD, MD, is a professor in the Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry and in the Department of Pharmacology. He is also the director of the NIMH Psychoactive Drug Screening Program. The Roth Lab studies the structure and function of G-Protein coupled receptors (GPCRs).

Paul Sapienza

sapienza@email.unc.edu

Paul Sapienza is a research assistant professor in the Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. His research aims to further understanding of the role of dynamics in biomolecular recognition, enzymatic catalysis, and allostery. He uses nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to study protein dynamics on multiple timescales, while other tools such as calorimetry, crystallography, and kinetics serve to link dynamics with function. He is focusing on thymidylate synthase as it is an enzyme with a multistep catalytic cycle, is a cancer drug target, and exhibits negative cooperativity (allostery).

Scott Singleton

(919) 966-7954

scott_singleton@unc.edu

Scott Singleton is engaged in educational innovation and research. His work attempts to build on what is understood about memory and attention to devise, test, and implement effective teaching and learning strategies. His current work focuses on teaching that positively affects student engagement in the classroom, identifying core basic science concepts that serve as threshold concepts for pharmacy students, and evaluating the transfer of learning between courses in the professional PharmD program.

Alexander Tropsha

(919) 966-2955

alex_tropsha@unc.edu

ACCEPTING DOCTORAL STUDENTS

Alex Tropsha, Ph.D., is an expert in the fields of computational chemistry, cheminformatics and data science. His laboratory develops new methodologies, software tools and applications in the areas of computer-assisted drug design, chemical toxicology, materials informatics, text mining, and health care informatics.

Qunzhao Wang

(919) 962-1320

qunzhaow@email.unc.edu

Qunzhao Wang has created a technology that visualizes the behavior of a specific family of enzymes (protein kinases) in living cells. These enzymes have been implicated in a wide variety of disease states, including several forms of cancer.

Xiaodong Wang

(919) 843-8456

xiaodonw@email.unc.edu

The Wang lab is interested in developing drug leads/candidates for kinase, phosphate kinase and protein targets identified by UNC faculty and external investigators. We have successfully used the structure- and/or ligand-based drug design approaches to deliver compounds to clinic (MerTK inhibitors such as MRX-2843) or licensing (IDH1 inhibitor, co-developed with NCATs). We will continue to apply the similar approaches for drug discovery towards new targets.

Tim Willson

(919) 491-3177

tim.willson@unc.edu

The Willson laboratory is home to the US site of the SGC, an open science consortium that accelerates research on the lesser studied regions of the genome. The laboratory works closely with pharma companies and academic investigators to develop small molecule chemical probes for hundreds of dark kinases that are openly shared with the scientific community. Current research has led to the development of the Kinase Chemogenomic Set (KCGS) that contains selective inhibitors of more than 200 kinases as well as high quality chemical probes for several of the dark kinases.

Yongmei Xu

yongmeix@email.unc.edu

Dr. Xu co-authored the Heparin study with Dr. Jian Liu and Dr. Lindhardt. Heparin is a naturally occurring polysaccharide that prevents blood clotting, or coagulation, and has been in use since the late 1930s. A polysaccharide is a long chain of carbohydrate molecules.

Qisheng Zhang

(919) 966-9687

qszhang@email.unc.edu

ACCEPTING DOCTORAL STUDENTS

The Zhang lab studies lipid signaling pathways that are involved in human disease by developing novel chemical probes and technologies. They currently focus on discovering new bioactive lipids, developing small molecule modulators and biosensors for lipid metabolizing enzymes, and applying their research results to novel diagnosis and treatment of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and antimicrobial resistance.

Jeff Aubé

(919) 966-9650

jaube@email.unc.edu

ACCEPTING DOCTORAL STUDENTS

The Aubé laboratory uses synthetic chemistry to enable the study of biological pathways and as starting points for drug discovery. Current efforts in the group include the study of new opioids lacking side effects, new approaches for the treatment of tuberculosis, androgen biosynthesis inhibitor discovery, the search for RNA-protein interaction inhibitors, and the development of new synthetic methods.

David S. Lawrence

(919) 966-5587

lawrencd@email.unc.edu

NOT ACCEPTING GRADUATE STUDENTS

The Lawrence lab works to understand the biochemical processes of the cell by studying them as they happen in the cell as opposed to studying them in vitro. He currently focuses on applying his discoveries to cancer detection and treatment and, to a more limited extent, inflammatory diseases.

Robert McGinty

(919) 843-4912

rmcginty@email.unc.edu

ACCEPTING DOCTORAL STUDENTS

The McGinty lab studies molecular mechanisms of chromatin signaling. By pairing atomic precision protein chemistry with high resolution structural biology, they aim to understand how the nucleosome functions as a signaling hub for gene expression, DNA replication, and DNA damage repair in development and disease.

Bryan L Roth

bryan_roth@med.unc.edu

Bryan Roth, PhD, MD, is a professor in the Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry and in the Department of Pharmacology. He is also the director of the NIMH Psychoactive Drug Screening Program. The Roth Lab studies the structure and function of G-Protein coupled receptors (GPCRs).

Harold Kohn

(919) 843-8112

hkohn@email.unc.edu

Hal Kohn, Ph.D., received a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Michigan in 1966, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Pennsylvania State University in 1971. He conducted postdoctoral research at Columbia University from 1971 to 1973 with Professor Ronald Breslow.

Yuriy Abramov, Ph.D

Yuriy Abramov is a Senior Principal Scientist at Pfizer Inc. with 15 years of experience in computational sciences in Drug Discovery and Development.  He has a proven track record for developing new ideas and approaches from the concept stage to successful implementation. His current interests include but not limited to computational pharmaceutical solid state chemistry.

Nikolay Dokholyan, PhD, MS

Thomas Passananti Professor and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Pharmacology
Thomas Passananti Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Scientific Program: Experimental Therapeutics

 

Dr. Dokholyan is the Vice Chair for Research, Departments of Pharmacology and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at Penn State College of Medicine. The mission of his lab is to develop and apply integrated computational and experimental strategies to understand, sense and control misfolded proteins in order to uncover the etiologies of human neurodegenerative diseases and develop therapeutics to fight them.

Sean Ekins, Ph.D.

Sean has over 23 years experience in pharmaceutical drug discovery. He graduated from the University of Aberdeen; receiving his M.Sc., Ph.D. in Clinical Pharmacology and D.Sc. in Science. He is currently Founder and CEO of Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. which is focused on using machine learning approaches for rare and neglected disease drug discovery.

Denis Fourches, PhD

Development and application of cheminformatics methods to characterize, visualize, model and predict dynamic protein-ligand interactions. We focus on kinase-inhibitor complexes (cancer treatment) and HLA-drug complexes (adverse drug reactions).

Clark D Jeffries, Ph.D.

Dr Jeffries is a mathematician with expertise in predictive machine learning applied to schizophrenia and other psychiatric and neurological disorders. Methods he invented have been recently applied to clinical datasets, yielding novel approaches to address reproducible classification and to avoid overfitting. In particular, he invented an algorithm that, compared to the powerful and widely used LASSO method, selects smaller sets of biomarkers, yields superior classification, and displays greater weight stability. It has appeared in four publications. His target is not individually informative biomarkers, but identification of networks – all passing permutation testing better than LASSO – and thus in some cases yielding statistically significant data interpretation in place of mere trends with LASSO.

 

Aside from an adjunct appointment with CBMC, Dr. Jeffries is a bioinformatics scientist with The Renaissance Computing Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

 

Collaborating since 2005 with UNC psychiatrist Diana Perkins, he has generated a UNC patent on separation of blood stem cells and a provisional patent for use in schizophrenia of an anti-oxidant drug currently indicated for multiple sclerosis. His portfolio includes 121 issued patents, mainly from work with IBM’s Microelectronics Division. Recent biochemical and medical publications are listed in PubMed. He is an Overseas Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine.

Jian Jin, Ph.D.

Dr. Jian Jin is an internationally recognized medicinal chemist with more than 20 years of experience in small-molecule drug discovery. He is currently the Mount Sinai Endowed Professor in Therapeutics Discovery, a Professor in Departments of Pharmacological Sciences and Oncological Sciences, and the Director of the Mount Sinai Center for Therapeutics Discovery at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Jin’s laboratory is a leader in discovering selective inhibitors of histone methyltransferases and biased ligands of G protein-coupled receptors, and a pioneer in developing novel degraders targeting oncogenic proteins. Dr. Jian Jin received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in chemistry from University of Science and Technology of China in 1991 and a PhD in organic chemistry from the Pennsylvania State University in 1997. After completing a post-doctoral training at the Ohio State University, Dr. Jin joined GlaxoSmithKline as a medicinal chemist in 1998 and had been a manager of medicinal chemistry from 2003 to 2008. In 2008, Dr. Jin joined the Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) as an Associate Professor. He had also served as an Associate Director of Medicinal Chemistry in the Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery at UNC from 2008 to 2014. Dr. Jin was recruited to Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai as a professor with tenure in 2014. Dr. Jin has published >150 peer-reviewed papers and delivered >100 invited talks. He is also an inventor of >50 issued U.S. patents and published PCT patent applications.

Brian Alvin Johns, Ph.D.

Dr. John’s is the Director of Medicinal Chemistry, GlaxoSmithKline and was awarded the “Hero of Chemistry” award from the American Chemical Society for his work in creating the drug Tivicay (dolutegravir), which is now widely used worldwide to treat HIV infection. He is now leading the GSK team that is collaborating with the UNC-Chapel Hill HIV Cure Center. That research is focused on creating a drug that will cure HIV, not just suppress the symptoms.

Kyoko Nakagawa-Goto, Ph.D.

Dr. Kyoko Nakagawa-Goto is an associate professor in the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kanazawa University, Japan. Her research group has been working in the field of organic, natural products, and medicinal chemistry focused on targeting antitumor and antivirus.

David Nichols, Ph.D.

David E. Nichols PhD previously held the Robert C. and Charlotte P. Anderson Distinguished Chair in Pharmacology and in addition was a Distinguished Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at the Purdue University College of Pharmacy.  He was continuously funded by the NIH for nearly three decades and served on numerous government review panels.  His two principal research areas focused on drugs that affect serotonin and dopamine transmission in the CNS.  He began medicinal chemistry research on hallucinogens in 1969 and has been internationally recognized as a top expert on the medicinal chemistry of psychedelics (hallucinogens).  He has published more than 300 scientific articles, book chapters, and monographs.  In 1993 he founded the Heffter Research Institute, which has supported and funded clinical research with psilocybin and led the so-called “renaissance in psychedelic research.”


Lars Pedersen, Ph.D.

Dr. Pedersen is a structural biologist at the NIEHS/NIH with research focuses on heparan sulfate biosynthesis and interactions, sulfotransferases and DNA repair.

Jun Tang

jun.x.tang@viivhealthcare.com

Dr. Tang is a collaborating member from ViiV Healthcare with the UNC-Chapel Hill HIV Cure Center. His research is focused on discovering novel HIV latency reversal agents with better tolerability and exploring new ways to clear the latent T cells upon activation and viral particles.


Lan Xie, Ph.D.

Dr. Lan Xie has more than 35 years of experience in the field of medicinal chemistry. Her research focuses on discovery and development of new anti-HIV and antitumor drugs, including design, synthesis, lead optimization, and druggability assessments.

Weifan Zheng, Ph.D.

Dr. Zheng is an Associate Professor & the Assistant Chair of Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and a principle investigator of the BRITE Institute at North Carolina Central University. His lab focuses on the development and application of Computer Aided Drug Design (CADD) Tools to various drug discovery projects. He is also developing and applying artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to pharmaceutical data analysis for drug repurposing in cancer, neurodegenerative and rare diseases.