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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!




Medicinal Chemistry Hosts International P450 Conference

The Department of Medicinal Chemistry is excited to host the "18th International Conference on Cytochrome P450s: Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structure," to be held at the UW from June 18-22, 2013.  This biennial conference has been bringing Cytochrome P450 scientists together in interesting locations for over three decades.

The series was established in 1976 as a means of facilitating contacts between scientists in this area working in Eastern Bloc and Western countries, but has developed into a timely international series with meetings rotating among Europe, Asia, and North America. "It is an honor to host this meeting," said Bill Atkins, chairman of this year's conference. "It reflects the Department's long-standing contributions to the Cytochrome P450 field."

Please visit the conference web site for additional information.

Med Chem Professor Wins MLK Volunteer Award

Carlos cookies

Carlos is camera-shy, but Nanci Murphy makes great cookies!

Dr. Carlos Catalano, Professor in Medicinal Chemistry, was awarded a Volunteer Recognition Award during the Health Sciences Center's annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration on January 17 in the HSB lobby. The award winners are named by the UW Health Sciences deans.

Among other community commitments, Dr. Catalano has been instrumental in facilitating the Pharmacological Sciences Summer Diversity Program, which provides research opportunities for talented undergraduate students from diverse social and cultural backgrounds.  He also serves as faculty adviser for UW's chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). Started in 2007 with just five members, SACNAS at UW won Chapter of the Year in 2011 and hosted the national conference in 2012. Dr. Catalano says his role as adviser is mostly to "stay out of the way," but we know better.

Congratulations, Carlos, and thanks for your dedication to our students!

  School of Pharmacy Welcomes 2012-2013 Students


Med Chem welcomes:
Bottom row L-R: Michelle Redhair and Robert Pelletier. 
Top row L-R:  James Williams and Aaron Teitelbaum. 
Not pictured: Michael Wilson

On September 21, Department Chairs Allan Rettie (Medicinal Chemistry) and Ken Thummel (Pharmaceutics) joined Dean Tom Baillie in welcoming new graduate students and postdocs to the School of Pharmacy for the 2012 academic year.

Joining the school this year are: Robert Pelletier, Michelle Redhair, and James Williams (Medicinal Chemistry); and Alenka Jaklic, Jing Jing, Vineet Kumar, Michael Liao, David Plotnik, and Eli Weber (Pharmaceutics). In addition, Med Chem welcomes Aaron Teitelbaum, Research Associate in the Totah lab, and Michael Wilson, Research Consultant in the Goodlett lab. Others who have kind of slipped in among us over the past few months are Yu Liang (Lee lab) and Yue Huang (Goodlett lab). And, Moon Young Yoon (Atkins lab), who was our lone Visiting Scholar, now has company in that category. Welcome to Eric Chan, Karl Kallan, and Anne Margrete Øyan, who will be associated with some of the Goodlett lab projects.

A warm welcome, support, and best wishes to our new students! Welcome back, current students! And welcome to the circus, postdocs and staff!




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