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Drug Discovery Center

Mission Statement

Student Performing Pharmacy Research.The mission of the UT Health Science Center College of Pharmacy Drug Discovery Center (DDC) is to:

  • Support drug discovery research by securing major external funding, especially from NIH, although other external funding sources are welcomed
  • Support innovative drug discovery research at UT Health Science Center and, ultimately, clinical translation of new drugs for the diagnosis and therapy of human diseases with spin-off companies or commercial partners
  • Attract leading faculty in drug discovery to UT Health Science Center College of Pharmacy and train students and postdoctoral fellows in the science of drug discovery.

Short Term Goals

To use our existing strength and expertise, focusing on an advanced project with the goal to develop and compete for an NIH Program Project Grant in small molecule drug discovery. At the same time, develop and secure other types of external grants from NIH, DOD, Foundations, and other sources of funding agencies.

Drug Discovery Center News

Organizing structure

Drug Discovery Center

Center Director

Wei Li – Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Current Members

Kirk E. Hevener – Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Jianxiong Jiang – Associate Professor, Departments of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Neurobiology
Santosh Kumar – Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Marie Dennis M. Leo – Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Wei Li – Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Bernd Meibohm – Professor and Associate Dean, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Duane D. Miller – Professor Emeritus, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Glen E. Palmer – Associate Professor, Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Translational Science
Udai Singh – Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Chao-Yie Yang – Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

DDC Advisory Board

Gunda I. Georg – Professor and Department Head; Director of Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development, the University of Minnesota

Todd A. Ponzio – Vice President, the University of Tennessee Research Foundation

Annual Reports

Drug Discovery Center Membership

Eligibility for Membership

This is a UT Health Science Center College of Pharmacy-supported drug discovery center. Only full-time faculty with primary appointments from UT Health Science Center College of Pharmacy can apply and become full members. UT Health Science Center researchers outside of COP can apply to become Associate Members. The Membership Committee will evaluate membership applications in its meeting, and recommendations will be submitted to the Dean for final approval as the final official decision.

Apply for Memberships

Benefits and Obligations of DDC Memberships

Benefits: All full or associate members of DDC will benefit from working together toward major grant applications and obtaining advice from other members and the advisory committee. Full members may request major equipment (>=$10,000) from the Director to support research goals. The Director will determine if this equipment is necessary for the DDC to purchase and own. If the Director determines that the equipment is necessary, the director will present a proposal to the Dean for consideration. At the current stage, associate members outside of the DDC are not eligible for any direct financial support from the DDC and are subject to fees for equipment use.

Obligations: Members should make their best efforts to attend meetings to discuss the DDC's progress and work together to achieve the goals of the DDC.

Accessible UT Health Science Center College of Pharmacy Major Shared Equipment

Department Chairs must Approve Use of DDC Equipment.

  • A Bruker 400MHz, an Agilent 500MHz NMR instrument, and four LC/MS instruments
  • Modern molecular modeling software running on high-end workstations enabling computer-aided drug design. Additional collaboration with Oak Ridge National Lab will enable access to supercomputers.
  • HPLC, large-scale compound purification system, IR, UV/Vis, Polarimeter, and other small equipment that are essential for drug discovery research
  • Other major shared equipment available in the college
  • User Policy of the UT Health Science Center College of Pharmacy Drug Discovery Center Keyence Microscope

Duane D. Miller Endowment Fund

Supported by the Duane D. Miller Endowment Fund, the UT Health Science Center College of Pharmacy Drug Discovery Center (UTCoP DDC) established the “The Duane D. Miller Lectureship” and its related graduate student award “The Duane D. Miller Award in Drug Discovery” in 2023. This lectureship and student award honor Dr. Duane Miller, Professor Emeritus at UT Health Science Center College of Pharmacy, for his exceptional and long-lasting impacts on the establishment of the Medicinal Chemistry programs in UTCoP in 1992 after more than 20 years successful career at the Ohio State University, and his accomplishments in inventing several small molecule investigational new drugs (e.g., Enobosarm, Sabizabulin) that have moved to advanced clinical trials.

More About the Duane D. Miller Endowment

Contact

For general questions and comments, please send an email to drugdiscovery@uthsc.edu

Jan 25, 2024