The mission of the department of Medicinal Chemistry is to conduct basic research in chemistry and biochemistry as it relates to drug discovery, to teach these principles in the professional and graduate programs, and to provide service to the scientific community.
The Department of Medicinal Chemistry is located in the College of Pharmacy, and is an integral part of the University of Florida’s Health Science Center. The department has excellent facilities for research in the major areas of Medicinal Chemistry and faculty have been highly successful in attracting extramural research support for the past several years.
Medicinal Chemistry areas of research in drug design, marine natural products and toxicology are a unique blend of the physical and biological sciences. The scope of the field is sufficiently broad to give students with many different science backgrounds a rewarding and challenging program of study. Areas of active interest include drug discovery, organic synthesis of medicinal agents, natural products chemistry, prodrugs, topical drug delivery, peptide chemistry, molecular modeling, drug metabolism and molecular toxicology.
Student Profile: Marci Smeltz
Meet Our Faculty
The Department of Medicinal Chemistry features many internationally recognized faculty who excel at research and teaching.
Potential Graduate Student Awards
Graduate students in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry have the opportunity to earn many graduate student awards.
The Department of Medicinal Chemistry in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Florida invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position at the assistant or associate professor level. Candidates should have a record of a strong independent research program in drug discovery and development or demonstrate outstanding potential to build such a program. Faculty hires will also participate in professional and graduate instructional efforts of the college. Area of specialization within medicinal chemistry is open, but should complement the interests of the department and the Center for Natural Products, Drug Discovery and Development and agree with institutional strategies adopted by the University of Florida to foster interdisciplinary research in cancer, infectious diseases, neuroscience and diabetes.
Celebrating Distinction in Pharmacy
Three University of Florida College of Pharmacy researchers from the departments of medicinal chemistry and pharmaceutical outcomes and policy were installed as endowed professors during an Oct. 26 ceremony hosted by UF Health. Appointment to an endowed professorship is one of the highest honors a college can bestow on a faculty member and is reserved for scholars of national and international acclaim. Those College of Pharmacy faculty honored included:
- Chenglong Li, Ph.D., professor of medicinal chemistry and the Nicholas Bodor Professor in Drug Discovery
- Almut Winterstein, Ph.D., professor and chair of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy and the Dr. Robert and Barbara Crisafi Chair in Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy
- Chengguo “Chris” Xing, Ph.D., professor of medicinal chemistry and the Frank A. Duckworth Eminent Scholar Chair in Drug Research and Development
“Endowed professorships and chairs are critical to our future,” said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health. “They create an enduring legacy that provides stability across generations in the academic pursuit of improving health care in our community and around the world.”
The honors were made possible thanks to the generosity of donors who chose to invest in College of Pharmacy faculty and their programs. Nicholas and Sheryl Bodor established the Nicholas Bodor Professorship in Drug Discovery in 2007, and the couple attended the Celebrating Distinction ceremony to welcome Chenglong Li into his new professorship position.
“We salute the generous donors who have made a commitment toward improving pharmaceutical education and research at UF through endowed professorships and chairs,” said Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., dean and distinguished professor in the UF College of Pharmacy. “These gifts help the College of Pharmacy recruit and retain accomplished scholars who share with their donors a vision for a better tomorrow.”
In addition to the three College of Pharmacy professors honored, UF Health recognized 24 recently endowed professors and chairs from UF’s other academic health colleges at the Celebration Distinction ceremony.
College of Pharmacy Honorees
Chenglong Li, Ph.D.
Nicholas Bodor Professor in Drug Discovery
Established in 2007 by Nicholas and Sheryl Bodor, this fund supports a professorship in drug discovery at the UF College of Pharmacy. Bodor joined UF in 1979 as professor and chair of the department of medicinal chemistry and was promoted to graduate research professor of the university in 1983. Bodor founded the Center for Drug Discovery in 1986 and supervised the training of 50 doctoral students and more than 100 postdoctoral-level research associates and fellows.
Medicinal chemist Chenglong Li, Ph.D., joined the UF College of Pharmacy in 2016 and serves as the graduate coordinator in the department of medicinal chemistry. With wide-ranging interests in chemistry, Li focuses his research on molecular recognition, with a strong application to structure-based, computer-aided drug design. He uses computational and experimental approaches to explore the connection among molecular structure, dynamics and function. Prior to joining UF, Li was a professor at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy for 11 years. He also worked as a research associate in computational chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. He received a doctoral degree in biophysics and a minor in organic chemistry from Cornell University in 2000 and earned his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Beijing University in China.
Almut Winterstein, Ph.D.
Dr. Robert and Barbara Crisafi Chair in Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy
What kind and how much medication a patient receives can be a matter of life or death. That’s why Robert Crisafi, Ph.D., who received his doctoral degree in pharmacy from UF in 1956, spent a career focused on patient safety and the role pharmacists can play in reducing medical errors in hospitals. The Crisafi Chair in Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy was established with the goal to create systems that will prevent medication errors. The chair works in conjunction with UF Health to generate new studies and processes to further reduce drug errors at hospitals throughout the U.S.
Almut Winterstein, Ph.D., a professor and chair of the department of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy at the UF College of Pharmacy, is recognized as an international leader in drug safety and pharmacoepidemiology. She has focused her research on evaluating drug safety and effectiveness in real-world populations and on devising ways to improve medication use. Since joining the UF College of Pharmacy in 2000, Winterstein has collaborated with UF Health’s teaching hospitals on studies aimed at evaluating and improving patient safety and drug therapy outcomes. She has received funding from various federal agencies and serves as chair of the Food and Drug Administration’s Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee. In 2013, Winterstein was inducted as a fellow of the International Society of Pharmacoepidemiology. She graduated with her pharmacy degree from Friedrich Wilhelm University in Bonn, Germany, and received her doctoral degree in pharmacoepidemiology and social pharmacy from Charité, Humboldt University in Berlin.
Chengguo “Chris” Xing, Ph.D.
Frank A. Duckworth Eminent Scholar Chair in Drug Research and Development
Frank A. Duckworth established the first endowed eminent scholar chair in the UF College of Pharmacy in 1989. Duckworth received a degree in pharmacy in 1942 and a juris doctor in 1948, both from UF. He taught in the UF College of Pharmacy and was awarded the college’s first Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1986. He was also instrumental in providing the vision and inspiration for the creation of Oak Hammock at the University of Florida. Duckworth passed away in 2002.
Accomplished researcher Chengguo “Chris” Xing is a professor of medicinal chemistry at the UF College of Pharmacy. He joined the college following 13 years at the University of Minnesota. His research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and broadly covers the isolation, design and synthesis, and identification of biologically active small molecules to help manage diseases and understand biology. His research is focused on translational development with several indications, including novel therapies selective against multidrug resistant malignancies, chemopreventive agents against primary carcinogenesis, and a natural dietary supplement on neurological disorders, with the goal to extend them in the clinical setting. Xing received his doctoral degree from Arizona State University and completed postdoctoral training at Harvard University.
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