Projects targeting cancer, fungal infection and vision loss funded by Michigan Drug Discovery
- James Moon, the John Gideon Searle Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the College of Pharmacy and associate professor of biomedical engineering at the Medical School and College of Engineering, to continue his ongoing work to develop immunotherapy agents for the treatment of cancer. Moon’s team, working with the Natural Products Discovery Core at the U-M Life Sciences Institute, has already screened more than 10,000 natural product extracts and has identified several with potent immune-stimulating activity. This new funding will provide support for further interrogation of the most interesting extracts, including structural characterization of the active component natural products, as well as scale up for additional research and development.
Teresa O’Meara, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at the Medical School, to complete a high-content screen for molecules that target virulence factors in pathogenic fungi. O’Meara and her team will use sophisticated genetic methods to determine the mechanism of action of active compounds identified in the screen as a foundation for future targeted drug discovery. This approach will allow for the development of new antifungal therapeutics with lower propensity for resistance development than current antifungal drugs
Daniel Goldman, the Bernard W. Agranoff Professor of Neuroscience, professor of biological chemistry and research professor at the Michigan Neuroscience Institute in the Medical School, to optimize a high-throughput screen for compounds that can combat the degeneration of retinal neurons, a major cause of vision loss. This project employs a zebrafish model to detect regenerating Müller glial cells. Goldman and his team are seeking to translate results from this model to the treatment of vision loss and blindness in humans. Funding from Michigan Drug Discovery will support expansion of the capacity of the screen to allow high-throughput testing.
The Michigan Drug Discovery pilot grants—up to $75,000 each—support work in five university drug discovery core laboratories: the Center for Chemical Genomics; the Center for Structural Biology and Natural Products Discovery Core, both at the Life Sciences Institute; and the Pharmacokinetics Core and Vahlteich Medicinal Chemistry Core, both at the College of Pharmacy.