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Uniquely Positioned to Bridge the Chemical and Biological Worlds

PhD_ProgramChemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry (CBMC) is a dynamic, multifaceted graduate program dedicated to improving human health through research leading to new concepts for the design and development of therapeutic and diagnostic agents.

Our program seamlessly blends chemistry and biology, which distinguishes it from traditional graduate programs. We develop and exploit novel chemical tools relevant to the fields of biochemistry, biology, pharmacology, and medicine. Research is directed toward biomedical and pharmaceutical discovery by applying both chemical and biological principles to interactions between molecular structure and biological activity.

All of our graduates have been successful in finding desirable positions. An important measure of the success of our program is whether students are obtaining their first-choice postdoctoral positions. To a large extent, our recent graduates are receiving multiple offers from top labs. Our recent graduates have taken postdoctoral positions in prestigious labs at Harvard, Duke, Scripps, and MIT, to name a few.

Students enter the CBMC program through application to either the Pharmaceutical Sciences program or the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program, a large umbrella program offering an entry to 16 PhD programs on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. The Figure below shows the overview of the CBMC program. To complete the CBMC graduate program, a student needs to pass 8 courses, cumulative exams, qualifying exam and thesis defense. In addition, students will participate in the weekly seminar series throughout the training. Over the last 10 years, more than 50 PhD students have graduated from the CBMC program and the average time to completion is approximately 5 years. More details are described in the Student Handbook.

Course Credits
Fall of first year
CMBC 805: Molecular Modeling 3
CMBC 807: Molecular Foundation of Chemical Biology 3
PHRS 801: Common Core in Pharmaceutical Sciences 1
PHRS 899: Seminars in Chemical Biology 1
PHRS 991: Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences* 1
CHEM 701: Introduction to Lab Safety 1
Spring of first year
CMBC 804A: Biochemical Foundations of Chemical Biology 3
CMBC 804B: Foundations of Chemical Biology Journal Club 1
Biology Core Course if needed 3-4
PHRS 802: Drug Development & Professional Skills 1
PHRS 899: Seminars in Chemical Biology# 1
Elective course if needed Varies
Fall/Spring of second year
PHRS 991: Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences 1 or more§
PHRS 899: Seminars in Chemical Biology# 1
PHRS 994: Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences 3
Elective Course or Biology Core Course if needed Varies
Fall/Spring of 3rd-5th year
PHRS 899: Seminar in Chemical Biology# 1
PHRS 994: Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences*¶ 3

*Students register for the course “section” which corresponds to their adviser. This is section 417 for first year students.
§Students must be registered for a minimum of 9 total credit hours for the semester when enrolled in PHRS 991.
#Students must register for the course “section” which corresponds to the course director for their divisional seminar.
¶Students must be registered for a minimum of 3 credit hours of PHRS 994 after joining a lab doing thesis work.

 

CBMC 807: Molecular Foundations in Chemical Biology
Prerequisites: Students are expected to have a solid understanding of introductory organic chemistry as taught at the undergraduate level.

This course provides a review of important concepts in organic chemistry as they apply to biological research. Topics include a review of intermolecular interactions as they apply to biological structures and function, a discussion of how small molecules interact with their targets, an overview of synthetic methods that relate particularly to drug molecules, and basic strategies of drug design.

CBMC 805: Molecular Modeling
Prerequisites: None

This course provides a general introduction to the field of Molecular Modeling while providing relevant applications of theory to both academic and industrial research endeavors.

PHRS 801: Common Core in Pharmaceutical Sciences
Prerequisites: None.

This course provides an interdisciplinary environment for students from each of the four Divisional PhD programs in UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Students will learn about and develop skills in topics related to responsible conduct of research, pharmaceutical development, professional development, and independent development.

PHRS 899: Seminars in Chemical Biology
Students must register for PHRS 899 each semester of their graduate program. However, only 4 credits of PHRS 899 (2 credits for MS) may count toward requirement for the PhD degree.  Seminars are conducted jointly with the Division of Chemical Biology and Bioorganic Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry. Attendance at all Division seminars is mandatory and two unexcused absences will result in a grade of F. As an additional component of the seminar requirements of the graduate curriculum, attendance by all students is required during a student’s Doctoral Defense. These Defense seminars are held outside of the normal seminar series.

Each student is required to present a seminar in PHRS 899 either in the student’s third year or in the beginning of his/her fourth year and will be considered in assigning the grade in PHRS 899. In this seminar, the student critically reviews the area pertinent to his/her thesis topic making sure that s/he discusses studies that include his/her group’s contributions and those of other laboratories and includes a description of the student’s ongoing studies that add to this body of research. Faculty members will evaluate the student seminar. Students receiving an overall failing evaluation on the presentation will receive an “incomplete” grade in PHRS 899 for that semester and must consult with the seminar coordinator before giving a make-up seminar at a later date.  Additionally, students receiving “incomplete” grades may be advised to seek further training in presentations. In those cases where the student’s research contains intellectual property (IP) and where disclosure risks the IP, a student can provide a comprehensive review of a different subject in medicinal chemistry. Permission to do so will require approval of the thesis adviser and the seminar coordinator. Each seminar topic, title, summary, and research article must be approved by the student’s research adviser and seminar coordinator.  A student presenter should send the title of their seminar talk to the Graduate Program Coordinator upon request.

PHRS 991: Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences (Research Rotations)
During the first two semesters, the student conducts three ~10-week research rotation projects, each under the supervision of a different faculty member. These rotation projects are considered as course work for PHRS 991. Students select rotations from any of the CBMC Faculty. With approval of the DDGS, students may also perform rotation projects with faculty outside the labs of the CBMC Faculty, especially when the rotation will provide training in an area that is outside of the expertise of the CBMC Faculty.

To select an adviser for each research rotation, the student should interview members of the CBMC faculty about possible projects. Prior to each rotation, the student will turn in a RESEARCH ROTATION LAB SELECTION FORM (Appendix A) to the Graduate Program Coordinator. Over the course of the first year each student is encouraged to schedule individual interviews with all members of the CBMC faculty. Although varied slightly from year to year, the rotations usually start in the late August and end in the late April in the next year. The schedule for the 2019-2020 academic year is as follows:

Fall: Monday, August 26 – Friday, November 1 (OK to start before August 26)

Winter: Monday, November 4-Friday, January 31

Spring: Monday, February 3 – Friday, April 17

Students admitted in the fall semesters can begin their rotations the summer before. In that scenario, the student must contact the Graduate Program Coordinator at least four weeks prior to the start of the rotation. The summer rotation will be considered as one of their three required rotations. A waiver for one research rotation may be granted if a student has previously completed substantial independent research. Students seeking such a waiver must petition the DDGS, and provide information (e.g. reports, manuscripts, grant proposals, and/or letters from research advisers) about their previous research. If a student has obtained a specific fellowship to work with a CBMC faculty member, then research rotations may be optional.

During lab rotations, students are expected to work in the laboratory at least 20 hours per week. Students are fully integrated into the laboratory during their rotation projects and are involved in lab meetings and journal clubs. At the beginning and end of each rotation, the rotation adviser and student review a written or oral statement of expectations for the student’s performance in the laboratory. These discussions provide the student with the advisers’ expectations and critical comments on areas of excellence and weakness. Guidelines for the research rotations are described in the PHRS 991 syllabus.

At the end of each rotation, students will submit a written report using the Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences – Student Evaluation Form (Appendix B) to the Graduate Program Coordinator. Students will also present the results of their rotation projects to their Student Advisory Committee (SAC). The SAC committee, in consultation with the rotation adviser, will provide a brief summary and evaluation and submit a grade to the Graduate Program Coordinator and the DDGS to be entered at the end of the semester. After the third rotation, students will present the work of their rotation in the CBMC End of Year Mini-Symposium.

 The DDGS serves as the temporary advisor for the first-year students who enroll in PHRS 991. The SAC committee provides additional mentoring and consists of three CBMC faculty. The SAC is formed at the beginning of the first semester based on a student’s request and availability of faculty members.

CHEM 701 (Introduction to Laboratory Safety)
Prerequisites: first year graduate student status or permission of instructor

This course provides an overview of safety rules and regulations, guidance in safe laboratory practice, and creates a culture of laboratory safety.

CBMC 804A: Biochemical Foundations of Chemical Biology.
Prerequisites: CHEM 466, BIOC 505, 601, or PHCO 643; or permission of instructors.

This course covers core biochemical and molecular biology techniques, concepts, and tools used to conduct research at the interface of chemistry and biology. Topics include enzymology, characterization of drug-target interactions, mechanisms-based inhibitor design, assay design and development, targeting kinases and GPCRs, biopharmaceuticals, gene therapy, nucleic-acid binding agents, information-based drugs, chemical tools to study epigenetics, harnessing biosynthetic pathways for chemical diversity, and other recent advances and techniques in drug discovery.

CBMC 804B: Foundations of Chemical Biology Journal Club.
Prerequisites: Enrollment in CBMC 804A.

This course is a series of presentations by students that run in concert with CBMC 804A.

Biology Core Course
Each student has the option to choose one 3- or 4-credit hour course on campus that is focused on biological systems or techniques.  A good starting point to find such a course is the BBSP website. Some examples include PHCO701 (Introduction to Molecular Pharmacology), BIOC706 (Biochemistry of Human Disease), GNET631 (Advanced Molecular Biology), CBIO643 (Cell Structure and Function) and CBIO893 (Advanced Cell Biology).

PHRS 802: Drug Development and Professional Skills Development
Prerequisites: None.

This course provides an interdisciplinary environment for students from each of the four Divisional PhD programs in UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Students will learn about the general process of drug development and develop associated professional skills.

Elective Course: Students have the option to take one elective course of their interest. There is no requirement on the number of credit hours of the course. Students typically choose a course that provides specific skills and knowledge their thesis work needs.

PHRS 994: Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences (Thesis Research)
The students begin to register 3 credit hours PHRS 994 each semester once they have chosen the thesis adviser. Guidelines for the thesis research are described in the PHRS 994 syllabus.

 

CBMC Faculty

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

919-962-4336

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

919-445-2933

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

919-966-0230

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

919-966-7535

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

919-843-5442

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.

CBMC Joint Appointments

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

919-966-7535

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).

CBMC Emeriti Faculty

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.

CBMC Adjunct Faculty

Yuriy Abramov, Ph.D

yuriy.abramov@xtalpi.com

Yuriy Abramov has over 17 years of experience in computational science in pharmaceutical drug discovery and development at Pfizer Inc. He has a proven track record for developing new ideas and approaches from the concept stage to successful implementation. Dr. Abramov’s contributions were reflected in multiple NDA of drugs currently on the market. His current interests include but not limited to computational pharmaceutical solid state chemistry. Dr. Abramov is currently a Vice President of Scientific Affairs at XtalPi Inc.

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).[/row]

Clark D Jeffries, Ph.D.

Clark Jeffries’s research focuses on design and interpretation of assays of small RNAs as agents of signaling that may be causally upstream of many other types of biomarkers.[/row]

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.

Kyoko Nakagawa-Goto, Ph.D.

Kyoko Nakagawa-Goto received her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Science with an emphasis in chemistry from the Graduate School of Natural Science & Technology at Kanazawa University in Japan. She worked as an Assistant Professor in the same university until 1998.  [/row]

David Nichols, Ph.D.

Dave Nichols’ D1 agonists is currently in clinical trials in schizophrenia patients to determine whether a D1 agonist can improve working memory and cognition. His general interests continue in the medicinal chemistry and pharmacology of CNS-active agents.[/row]

Lars Pedersen, Ph.D.

pederse2@niehs.nih.gov
Adjunct Associate Professor, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy
Staff Scientist, Head of Collaborative Crystallography Lab, NIEHS


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.[/row]

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.[/row]

CBMC Staff

cbmc-recruitment-weekend-2009The Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry is training the next generation of researchers specializing in drug discovery, and a clear strength is the cadre of young scientists comprising our graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. As of the fall 2016 semester, there were 24 graduate students and 26 postdoctoral fellows working as students, teachers and scholars within the division.

Our students receive full financial support, including a competitive stipend, paid tuition and health insurance. They complete the Ph.D. program in approximately five years, and our graduates have taken postdocs in prestigious labs (at Harvard, Duke, Scripps and MIT to name a few) and found desirable positions in academia and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. We meet many of our students for the first time during the School’s Recruitment Weekend each January.

 

Download the CBMC Brochure [PDF]