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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Stephen Hecht Named DDRL Honoree

Dr. Stephen Hecht was named one of the 2017 Dean's Distinguished Research Lectureship Honorees, which recognizes the best research faculty in the basic and clinical sciences. To be considered, honorees must have the first or last author credits on a publication that has been cited at least 1,000 times by others. Dr. Hecht will give a presentation on his research at the award ceremony on October 26th. The announcement is here.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Dr. Peter Dosa Awarded CDMRP Grant

Congratulations to Dr. Peter Dosa of the ITDD, who received an Investigator-Initiated Research Award of $2,278,764. The project will be funded by the Department of Defense's Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs.

The grant was awarded for Dr. Dosa's project "Development of Gut-Restricted Bile Acid Analogs Inhibitory to C. difficile Infection," which seeks to develop a treatment to C. difficile infections that often develops as a result of antibiotic overuse. By researching and utilizing bile acids that occur naturally in the body, Dosa's team hopes to derive therapeutic compounds that can be used to inhibit the C. difficile infection, as an alternative to current fecal microbiota transplant treatments.

You can read more about Dr. Dosa's project here.

Dr. Gunda Georg and Dr. Rebecca Cuellar Featured in Star Tribune Article

Drs. Gunda Georg and Rebecca Cuellar of the ITDD were featured in the Star Tribune story, "Male Contraception Gaining Sex Appeal, Gustavus Survey Finds." They discuss their research and development of H2-Gamendazole, a molecule which causes reversible infertility. You can read the full article here.

Monday, September 25, 2017

NIPTE Awarded $35 Million in Funding from the FDA

The National Institute for Pharmaceutical Technology and Education (NIPTE), which boasts Medicinal Chemistry's own Dr. Vadim Gurvich as executive director, was recently awarded $35 million dollars in funding from the Food and Drug Administration, to be allocated over a 5-year period. The grant will support a multitude of different projects in the pharmaceutical field from improvements in manufacturing and technology to research and education.

"We are very excited about the opportunity to continue this collaboration with the U.S. FDA," explains Dr. Gurvich, who is also the principal investigator on the grant. "The funding allows NIPTE faculty to contribute their research expertise, helping the FDA create policies in critical areas such as quality by design of complex pharmaceutical products, characterization of pharmaceutical materials, and formulation strategies like abuse deterrent products to combat opioid abuse. In addition, NIPTE will also address topics such as Quality Metrics and Quality Score Card as tools to improve surveillance and risk-based decisions. This brings our decade-long collaboration with the FDA to the next level, allowing us to make a bigger impact on quality, safety, and affordability of pharmaceutical products."

Read more about the grant here.  

Dr. Georg Interviewed for This is Sex with Lisa Ling

Dr. Gunda Georg was recently interviewed for the CNN documentary series This is Sex with Lisa Ling, which explores how sex is perceived, discussed, and stigmatized in the U.S. She is shown working in her lab and discussing her work into the development of a male contraceptive pill.

"We’re actually taking three main approaches," explains Dr. Georg, "The first one is to reduce sperm count so that a man is no longer fertile because there are not enough sperm produced. The second approach is to prevent sperm from completely forming, and the third approach is to inhibit sperm motility." When asked about the importance of this research she responds, "I think the world needs it. People really want to be in control of their lives and they want to also control when they start their families.”

Watch the entire segment here. Dr. Georg is featured at 8:57 under the segment "Control."

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Dr. Walters Awarded a Minnesota Partnership Grant

Dr. Michael Walters of the Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development has been awarded one of six recent grants from the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics. Dr. Walters project "Precision Medicine of Aromatase Inhibitors in Post-Menopausal Women with ER+ Breast Cancer," seeks to use DNA sequencing to study the unique responses that different individuals have to aromatase inhibitors, which are often a first treatment step to the most common type of breast cancer. By studying DNA differences, Dr. Walters hopes to offer clinicians new ways to individualize breast cancer treatment and to better understand resistances to treatment. This seed grant is supported by state funding. You can read more about the grant in the Twin Cities Business article.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Dr. Nelson Featured in Article on Turmeric Claims

Dr. Kathryn Nelson, principle scientist in the Walters laboratory, was recently interviewed for an article in the Washington Post raises doubts about recent claims that curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, may be effective in fighting arthritis, depression, and even cancer. As the article states, "If turmeric does have benefits, Nelson suggests, curcumin may not be the compound that delivers them. 'There are things that can fool you into thinking a compound is active when it’s not,' she says. (Active compounds are ones that have an actual effect on the body.) She notes that many studies mix curcumin with oils or other substances and that clinical trials are inconsistent in how they use the compound." Read the full article here.