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Welcome to Medicinal Chemistry

Medicinal Chemistry is a discipline with a traditional focus on organic synthetic chemistry with the broad goals of drug discovery and optimization. The Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Washington, since its inception in 1980, has always departed somewhat from this tradition given the focus of many of its faculty on the research areas of mechanistic drug metabolism, toxicology and bioanalytical chemistry. In recent years research activities in the Department have been broadened further by the addition of several faculty members with expertise in the areas of biological mass spectrometry and biophysical virology.

Latest News

 

Ryan Seguin is Magnuson Scholar 2014-2015

RyanMedicinal Chemistry graduate student Ryan Seguin (Kent Kunze lab) has been awarded the prestigious Magnuson Scholarship for 2014-2015. The University names six Magnuson Scholars annually, one from each of the health sciences schools. Awardees are selected based on their academic performance and potential contributions to health sciences research.

Ryan joined Dr. Kent Kunze's lab in 2011 and was selected as a trainee on the NIH-sponsored Pharmacological Sciences Training Grant. Dr. Kunze noted, "Ryan has the motivation, work ethic, and creativity to become a successful independent academic scientist." As a Magnuson Scholar, Ryan will focus on research that he hopes will lead to the discovery of novel therapeutics or unveil the basis for enigmatic health disorders with few or no treatment options currently available. "The main driving force," said Ryan, "is always to improve health and quality of life for others, either directly through development of treatment options, or indirectly by enhancing our understanding of drug targets, design, and metabolism." In addition, Ryan continues teaching, mentoring, and spreading knowledge and enthusiasm for science.

"It is such an honor to be selected for this award," said Ryan, "and I am excited for the opportunity to further my research and career. I am grateful to the Department of Medicinal Chemistry for the continuous support, and to my advisor, Kent Kunze, for his relentless enthusiasm and encouragement."

Congratulations to Ryan on this well-deserved award!

 

Klarissa Hardy Receives AACP Award

KlarissaFormer Medicinal Chemistry postdoctoral fellow Klarissa Hardy has received a 2014 New Investigator Award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). Klarissa, now an Assistant Professor at Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy in Nashville, TN, was one of 17 award recipients for 2014. The New Investigator program provides start-up funding for new pharmacy faculty's research programs. The awards are given to individual faculty starting their academic careers at ACPE-accrediated colleges or universities in the U.S.   Klarissa will receive $10,000 for her research project "Molecular Mechanisms of Drug-Induced Liver Injury by Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors" as well as a travel award so she may present her findings at the AACP annual meeting in 2015.

"I am very pleased for Klarissa to have achieved this success so early in her faculty career," said Dr. Allan Rettie, Chair of Medicinal Chemistry. "It is very well deserved."

Klarissa was part of the late Dr. Sid Nelson's lab at Med Chem, where she studied the targeted breast cancer drug, lapatinib, to examine the role of cytochrome P450-mediated metabolic activation in the liver toxicity associated with lapatinib. "My current work continues along these lines," she said, "and is focused on two additional anti-cancer tyrosine kinase inhibitors -- pazopanib and sunitinib -- which have both been associated with hepatotoxicity." The goal is to characterize the metabolism and bioactivation pathways of pazopanib and sunitinib to provide insight into the biochemical mechanisms of hepatotoxicity.

"I am excited and thankful to God for the opportunity to receive this award," added Klarissa, "and I see it as an encouraging start to my career. I also thank my excellent mentors, Sid Nelson and Allan Rettie, who supported my postdoctoral training at UW to make this possible."

Congratulations to Dr. Klarissa Hardy on this well-deserved award!

 

Med Chem Welcomes New Faculty Member

Abhi NathThe Department of Medicinal Chemistry welcomes Abhinav "Abhi" Nath, PhD, as its newest faculty member. Dr. Nath joins the department as an Assistant Professor, coming from Yale University where he did postdoctoral work in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry.

"We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Nath to Med Chem," said Allan Rettie, PhD, professor and Chair of the department. "With a research career that spans biology, chemistry, and physics, Dr. Nath brings a diverse skillset to our department that will benefit our faculty and students. We are confident that Dr. Nath possesses the knowedge and skills necessary to further advance the work of Medicinal Chemistry at the School of Pharmacy. We are fortunate to have him as a member of our faculty."

Dr. Nath received his Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Virginia. He completed his doctorate in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Washington, where his research focused on the mechanisms of substrate binding by Cytochrome P450s and other drug-metabolizing enzymes. He went on to Yale University, where he was an American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellow studying intrinsically disordered and amyloid-forming proteins using single-molecule fluorescence and computational methods.

Abhi Nath's lab in the department of Medicinal Chemistry will focus on understanding the roles of protein dynamics in neurodegenerative disease, drug metabolism, and the body's response to oxidative stress. "We are interested in developing new ways to study highly dynamic proteins, and to control their behavior in therapeutically useful ways," said Dr. Nath. "To this end, we will use a broad range of experimental and theoretical approaches from biochemistry, biophysics, and pharmacology." Systems of interest will include the Glutathione-S-Transferase enzyme superfamily (involved in drug metabolism and the oxidative stress response) and the intrinsically disordered protein Tau (implicated in Alzheimer's disease and pathology resulting from traumatic brain injury).

"I'm thrilled to be back in Seattle and at the UW," said Dr. Nath. "Medicinal Chemistry's tight-knit and welcoming community and its tradition of excellence in research make it an outstanding environment for me to establish my lab and independent scientific program. I am eager to contribute to the department's research and training missions, and to work closely with the exceptional staff, students, and faculty of the School of Pharmacy and the broader UW community, as I do so."

Click here to view Dr. Nath's faculty web page.

 

Nick Au on Winning Team for Business Plan Contest

Nick AuMed Chem student Nick Au (Allan Rettie lab) was recently part of a team of UW graduate students who won a "Best Innovation Idea" prize in the 16th annual UW Business Plan Competition. The team is developing a "smart" polymer contact lens as an alternative delivery platform for people with diabetes.

The UW Business Plan Competition is produced by the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship at the Foster School of Business. They awarded $68,220 in seed funding to winners of the 2013 competition.

Nick, congratulations on your win!

 

Bill Atkins and the Legacy of Sid Nelson

bill2011Dr. William Atkins has been named the first Sid Nelson Endowed Professor in Medicinal Chemistry. Bill joined the Med Chem faculty in 1991. His research focuses on the biochemical nature of detoxification enzymes and on drug metabolism, with emphasis on biophysical mechanisms. He has been awarded several NIH grants for his research on enzyme systems. His lab also focuses on characterization of nanoparticles for drug delivery and targeted therapy.

“I am honored to receive this professorship, which is really a tribute to Sid’s life and work,” said Bill with typical modesty. “I hope our work in the lab will be a credit to his legacy.”

Sid Nelson was Dean Emeritus of the School of Pharmacy, and a Professor of Medicinal Chemistry. He passed away suddenly in December 2011. The Sid Nelson Memorial Fund, an expression of both grief and regard for Sid, was built with contributions from family, friends, colleagues, together with donations from private industry. The memorial fund later became the Nelson Endowed Professorship; Bill, who was a colleague and co-author with Sid over the years, is its inaugural recipient.

Allan Rettie, Professor and Chairman of Medicinal Chemistry, said: “This is the first named Professorship in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry. That’s an exciting development for us, and Bill is a most worthy recipient.”

School of Pharmacy Dean Tom Baillie said of Bill, “He possesses the devotion to research and education that were the hallmarks of Sid’s career.”

That’s high praise indeed, and we, his colleagues in Med Chem, couldn’t agree more. Congratulations, Bill!

 

 

 

Read more: Latest News

 

Contact Us

Department of Medicinal Chemistry
University of Washington
HSB H-172, Box 357610
Seattle, Washington 98195
Phone: (206) 543-2224
Fax: (206) 685-3252
E-mail: medchem@uw.edu

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What Research Opportunities Exist? The faculty in Medicinal Chemistry offer diverse opportunities for study and research at the interface between chemistry and biology with emphasis on issues of biomedical importance. These include the role of phase I and II biotransformation processes in toxification and detoxification reactions, the metabolic consequences of phenotypic and genotypic diversity in the population, drug metabolism and enzyme kinetics, drug/drug and drug/herbal interactions, protein engineering, mechanisms of pathogen resistance, molecular modeling of peptides and proteins and vaccine development - to name but a few. In addition to specialized training acquired during their medicinal chemistry thesis work, graduates acquire a broad foundation in biochemistry, pharmacology and molecular biology which is important in the rapidly evolving, multidisciplinary biomedical arena.
Our Mission The goal of graduate program training in Medicinal Chemistry is to prepare highly trained, versatile individuals for a career in the pharmaceutical sciences; we are proud of our record of outstanding graduate students who now enjoy fruitful careers in academia, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries as well as with government and other regulatory agencies. If you are interested further in our Doctoral Program, please surf around our newly-designed web site and feel free to contact us directly if you require any additional information.
What is Medicinal Chemistry? Medicinal Chemistry is a discipline with a traditional focus on organic synthetic chemistry with the broad goals of drug discovery and optimization. The Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Washington, since its inception in 1980, has always departed somewhat from this tradition given the focus of many of its faculty on the research areas of mechanistic drug metabolism, toxicology and bioanalytical chemistry. In recent years research activities in the Department have been broadened further by the addition of several faculty members with expertise in the areas of biological mass spectrometry and biophysical virology.