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Medicinal Chemistry

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. Medicinal Chemistry is 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. 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. The Department faculty members are involved in teaching, research and service.

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.

Faculty Spotlight

Raymond J. Bergeron, Ph.D.Emeritus Graduate Research Professor

Investigating ways to better treat iron-overload diseases, Bergeron, who holds 119 patents, currently has two drugs in clinical trials with Genzyme. One drug is used for treatment of liver cancer. The other was developed for the treatment of children with a rare anemia disease in which iron builds up, causing an overload that cannot be effectively eliminated. Iron overload can lead to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), liver cancer, one of the most difficult and insidious forms of cancer to manage, said Bergeron. The therapeutic choices for this disease are few, and generally the success rate is very poor. A Phase I/II clinical trial is in progress at five U.S. centers to assess the safety, tolerability and efficacy of DENSPM in hepatocellular carcinoma.
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News

UF Pharmacy Researcher in Medicinal Chemistry named UFF Preeminence Term Professor

UF_Hendrik Luesch_0066RCarson_20131112cropHendrik Luesch, Ph.D., the Debbie and Sylvia DeSantis Chair in Natural Products Drug Discovery and Development in the UF College of Pharmacy, was one of two faculty named as the UF Foundation 2014 Preeminence Term Professors.

Now in its second year, the University of Florida Foundation’s Preeminence Term Professorship program supports UF’s Preeminence goals. Each fall, the Foundation awards two $25,000 term professorships to faculty members with substantial research programs and outstanding records of accomplishment. Term professorships reflect UF’s commitment to invest in faculty members whose work is transforming lives. The awards enable recipients to extend their work through additional funding. Faculty members who receive the Preeminence Term Professorships are chosen from UF’s top faculty members, nominated by their deans.

Director of the Center for Natural Products, Drug Discovery and Development (CNPD3), Luesch’s research focus is on unique marine natural products to fully exploit the biosynthetic and therapeutic potential of untapped biodiversity for drug discovery. His multidisciplinary research program, at the interface of chemistry and biology, combines classical natural products chemistry with high-throughput screening, chemical genomics and medicinal chemistry to identify, characterize and optimize novel drug candidates for various diseases, especially cancer.

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