2016 News

Grants & Fellowships: Fall 2016

Pharmaceutical Chemistry department members have received the following grants and fellowships between October and December 2016:

12/26/2016: Judy Sakanari received a 2-year grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The project is entitled, "Novel Therapeutics for Treatment of River Blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis." 

Renslo Lab develops new type of targeted chemotherapy that proves effective in mice

Research in the lab of UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty member Adam Renslo, PhD, has developed a new way of selectively targeting cancer cells with drugs. In experiments with mice, the new approach allowed for the delivery of fifty times higher doses of chemotherapy to tumors while avoiding toxic effects on healthy cells.

Prien and MacWilliam bequests establish new endowed professorships

The UCSF School of Pharmacy has established new endowed faculty positions to be held by the chairs of two School departments.

Bo Huang Wins 2016 Early Career Award

In recognition of his innovations in microscopy, Bo Huang, PhD, an associate professor in the UCSF School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, is the recipient of the 2016 Early Career Life Scientist Award, awarded by the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB).

Shoichet receives DeLano Award for Computational Biosciences

Brian Shoichet, PhD, faculty member in the School’s Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, has been named the 2017 recipient of the DeLano Award for Computational Biosciences.

Given annually by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), the DeLano Award honors a scientist “for the most accessible and innovative development or application of computer technology to enhance research in the life sciences at the molecular level.”

Grants & Fellowships: Summer 2016

Pharmaceutical Chemistry department members have received the following grants and fellowships between July and September 2016:

9/22/2016: Nathan Schmidt, a postdoc in the DeGrado lab, was awarded the prestigious K award by the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences. The project will be funded for 2 years.

9/1/2016: Michelle Arkin received a 2-year grant from the Rainwater Charitable Foundation.

Gartner to co-direct new UCSF-based Center for Cellular Construction

UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty member Zev Gartner, PhD, will be co-director of a new multi-institution UCSF-administered Center for Cellular Construction, which has been awarded a five-year $24 million grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Shoichet co-led research develops safer, potentially less addictive painkiller

Research co-led by UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty member Brian Shoichet, PhD, has developed a new opioid drug candidate that blocks pain as effectively as morphine in mice, without triggering dangerous side effects, and also apparently without the addictive properties of current prescription painkillers.

Celebrating the 100th birthday of Edward Leong Way

Edward (Eddie) Leong Way, BS, MS, PhD, celebrated his 100th birthday on July 1, 2016, with more than 70 colleagues, friends, and family at the UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center.

Grants and Fellowships: Spring 2016

Pharmaceutical Chemistry department members have received the following grants and fellowships between April and June 2016:

6/9/2016: The National Science Foundation awarded Steven Altschuler a grant for his project entitled "Collaborative Research: The Genetic, Epigenetic, and Immunological Foundation of CancerEvolution.” This project will be funded for 3 years.

Update from the Dean - Spring/Summer 2016

Education: Evolving PharmD curriculum, Daniels Curriculum Awards; Collaborations and partnerships: pharmacy residency, UCSF/Haas MD/PhD startup marketplace; Patient care: SB 493 update; Faculty honors: Benet, Abate, Craik, Wells, Kroon, Corelli, Hudmon, Bourdet, Fischbach; Research publications: genetic testing, pharmacogenomics, cancer, computational tools & modeling (Phillips, Shin, Altschuler and Wu, Sali, Savic); Research funding: Top in NIH funding, protein design, specialty drugs (Kort

Research: Elusive drug targets; cell demolition enzymes; useful pharmacogenomics info

Predicting difficult-to-detect drug binding sites

Most drugs are comprised of small molecules that pass through cell membranes and are designed to bind to much larger protein molecules at exposed concave pockets. But in many disease-associated proteins, these binding sites are difficult to detect. Concave pockets may form only in the immediate presence of small molecules that bind to them (natural ligands or drugs) or are open only for brief periods during protein shape-shifting.

John Gross advances to full professor

John Gross, PhD, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, has been promoted to full professor.

Researchers in the Gross Lab combine a wide variety of molecular biology and quantitative biochemistry techniques with biophysics and structural biology experiments, such as NMR spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography, in order to understand how the composition, structure, and dynamics of multi-protein complexes affect their cellular function.

Research: pediatric meningitis dosing; cancer drug resistance; gene-testing economics

Computer models provide optimal dosing for pediatric TB meningitis

Chemicals used to turn skin cells into heart and brain cells

In a major breakthrough, scientists at the Gladstone Institutes, led by UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty member Sheng Ding, PhD, have transformed skin cells into heart and brain cells using combinations of chemicals.

All previous work on cellular reprogramming required adding external genes to the cells, making this accomplishment an unprecedented feat. The research lays the groundwork for potentially being able to regenerate lost or damaged cells via pharmaceuticals.

Publications: Winter 2016

Pharmaceutical Chemistry faculty members have published the following manuscripts between January and March 2016:

Grants & Fellowships: Winter 2016

Pharmaceutical Chemistry department members have received the following grants and fellowships between January and March 2016:

3/3/2016: Zachary Hill, a postdoc in the Wells Lab, received a pressigous K99 award from the National Cancer Institute entitled, "Mapping the conformation-specific interactome of signaling proteins." This award will be funded for one year.

UCSF School of Pharmacy leads in NIH funding for 36th year in a row

For the 36th consecutive year, the UCSF School of Pharmacy has received more funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) than any other pharmacy school in the United States.

School researchers were awarded $27 million during NIH’s 2015 fiscal year, from October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015. Rankings of schools are compiled by the independent Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research based on the most current NIH data.

Fragment-based discovery: using smaller molecules to solve larger challenges

To discover new drugs and chemical probes, researchers have traditionally screened small molecules—small enough by weight to pass through cell membranes. Their goal is typically to find compounds that selectively bind to a much larger protein molecule (often an enzyme) at a chemically reactive pocket known as the active site, inhibiting its activity to treat a disease or to better understand a biological process.

UC San Francisco establishes Quantitative Biosciences Institute

UC San Francisco today announced the establishment of the Quantitative Biosciences Institute (QBI). The mission of QBI, located in Byers Hall on the UCSF Mission Bay campus, is to drive forward the application of computation, mathematics, and statistics toward a deeper understanding of complex problems in biology, with the ultimate goal of developing new treatments for disease.

Craik receives Protein Society’s Emil Thomas Kaiser Award

Charles S. Craik, PhD, faculty member in the School’s Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, has been named the 2016 recipient of the Protein Society’s Emil Thomas Kaiser Award.

Benet receives Remington Honor Medal, highest award in pharmacy

UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty member Leslie Benet, PhD, has been named the 2016 recipient of the Remington Honor Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA). He will be officially recognized during the APhA Annual Meeting and Exposition in Baltimore, MD, March 4–7, 2016.

Insulin-producing pancreatic cells created from human skin cells

Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes, the Diabetes Center at UCSF, and the UCSF School of Pharmacy have converted human skin cells into fully functional pancreatic cells that produce insulin in response to changes in glucose levels. Transplanted into mice, the cells protected the animals from developing a mouse model of diabetes.

The new study, co-senior-authored by UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty member Sheng Ding, PhD, was published in Nature Communications on January 6, 2016.