UF College of Pharmacy faculty secure multiple research awards in May

Congratulations to the faculty in the UF College of Pharmacy who received research awards in May 2023.


Principal Investigator and Multiple Principal Investigator Awards

Jane Aldrich, Ph.D., a professor of medicinal chemistry, and Jay McLaughlin, Ph.D., a professor of pharmacodynamics, in conjunction with Jean Bidlack, Ph.D., at the University of Rochester Medical Center, were awarded a $1 million BPN UG3 grant through the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. There is an urgent unmet need for medical treatments for cocaine use disorder. Aldrich, Bidlack and McLaughlin will team up to synthesize and characterize compounds that block kappa opioid receptor activity, testing the best of them with the goal of identifying novel treatments for cocaine use disorder that can be advanced into development for potential clinical trials.

Yousong Ding, Ph.D., an associate professor of medicinal chemistry, had his National Institute of General Medical Sciences R35 grant renewed for an additional five years with $2 million in funding. In this grant, the Ding lab aims to access and expand the therapeutically relevant chemical diversity of microbes by directly examining their genomes. The lab is particularly interested in advancing synthetic biology techniques and exploring novel enzymology to facilitate the utilization of biocatalysis in chemical synthesis.

Chengguo Xing, Ph.D., a professor and associate chair of medicinal chemistry, was awarded $294,0000 from the Florida Department of Health Bankhead-Coley Cancer Research for a two-year project. Xing and his team, which includes faculty from the UF College of Medicine and the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions, aim to evaluate the ability of AB-free kava to prevent tobacco smoke-induced lung cancer using a physiologically more relevant lung carcinogenesis mouse model, to elucidate mechanisms, and to develop clinical biomarkers.

Stephan Schmidt, Ph.D., a professor of pharmaceutics and the Certara Endowed Professor, and Natalia de Moraes, B.Pharm., Ph.D., an assistant professor of pharmaceutics, created a two-year postdoctoral fellowship program with Genentech. This $227,000 fellowship award will support one year at Genentech and one year at UF. The fellow will train in clinical pharmacology and with mentors will complete a research project.

Certara provided $20,000 for a clinical pharmacokinetics/dynamics summer internship with Stephan Schmidt, Ph.D., a professor of pharmaceutics and the Certara Endowed Professor. It will focus on providing the fellow/intern with research experience in both an industry and academic setting to aid the fellow’s development as an independent researcher who has the skills and experience to pursue a career in industry, academia or a research and drug development setting.


Co-Investigator Awards

Jingchuan “Serena” Guo, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy, is a co-investigator on a $3 million, five-year National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases R01 “Artificial Intelligence and Counterfactually Actionable Responses to End HIV (AICARE-HIV).” The overarching goal of this project is to develop AI-CAREHIV into an actionable counterfactual real-world data AI framework to improve HIV outcomes in Florida, in particular reducing disparity through addressing social determinants of health.

Chris McCurdy, Ph.D., a professor of medicinal chemistry and the Frank A. Duckworth Eminent Scholar Chair, is a co-investigator on a “Patterns and neurocognitive consequences of opioid-alcohol polysubstance use” study. It is a two-year, $881,000 R61 awarded through National Institute on Drug Abuse. The proposed project will assess temporal patterns of opioid-alcohol polysubstance use in humans and use these data to develop rat models of polysubstance use to characterize its biological and cognitive consequences and thus guide the development of therapies to ameliorate pathological outcomes.


Graduate Student Awards

Huilin Tang, M.Sc., a graduate student in the department of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy, was awarded a $50,000 fellowship over two years from PhRMA Foundation. The objective of this proposal is to compare the effectiveness and determine the HTEs of newer glucose-lowering drugs on the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease Related Dementias, or AD/ADRD, and its subtypes among adults with Type 2 diabetes. His central hypothesis is that newer glucose-lowering drugs are associated with a lower risk of AD/ADRD in adults with Type 2 diabetes. He will leverage a large collection of real-world data from the OneFlorida+ Clinical Research Consortium, which contains robust, longitudinal, electronic health record-claim-linked patient records.