Departmental News: Medicinal Chemistry

Learn about the latest Medicinal Chemistry news regarding research, faculty and students.

Kratom capsulesUF Pharmacy faculty featured in CNN report on kratom and the opioid crisis

Published: Oct 26th, 2017

Christopher McCurdy, Ph.D., a professor of medicinal chemistry, was featured in a CNN.com report on kratom, an herb, and its potential to treat pain and opioid withdrawal.


Oliver Grundmann head shotDr. Grundmann receives ‘Excellence in Achievement’ recognition from ACCP

Published: Oct 9th, 2017

The American College of Clinical Pharmacology ACCP recognized Oliver Grundmann, Ph.D., for outstanding achievements and contributions to the organization.


Key drug discovery experts from across Florida converge at 2017 UF Drug Discovery Symposium

Published: Sep 26th, 2017

The symposium featured nearly 130 participants and plenary speakers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Scripps Research Institute-Florida and National Cancer Institute.


Mushroom Picture

Common, edible mushroom has potential to kill one type of leukemia cell, UF Health researchers find

Published: Aug 8th, 2017

Dr. Yousong Ding in the UF College of Pharmacy found the Coprinus comatus mushroom, commonly known as the lawyer’s wig or shaggy mane, killed human T-cell leukemia cells during laboratory tests.


Fatma Al-Awadhi, recent PhD graduate2017 College of Pharmacy graduate Fatma Al-Awadhi awarded Kilmer Prize by The American Society of Pharmacognosy, July 2017

The American Society of Pharmacognosy selected Fatma Al-Awadhi, a 2017 Ph.D. graduate of the University of Florida College of Pharmacy, as its Kilmer Prize winner. The award recognizes outstanding student research in the area of natural products and supports Al-Awadhi’s travel to the American Society of Pharmacognosy Annual Meeting. Fatma obtained her Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Luesch. Her research involves the discovery and characterization of novel anticancer and antimetastatic agents from marine cyanobacteria.


Best Student Seminar Awards in Med Chem, June 2017

Congratulations to Weijing Cai and Marci Smeltz in the senior division, and Gena Burch in the junior division.


Huigens lab published in May 2017 edition of Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry

The paper described a synthesized library of antimicrobial peptide inspired NH-125 analogues that demonstrated bacterial and fungal biofilm-eradicating properties in collaboration with the Ding lab. This work was featured on the journal cover.


Huigens lab has paper accepted into Scientific Reports, May 2017

The paper, set to publish online in September, focuses on utilizing a modular Wohl-Aue synthesis for the exploration and development of novel halogenated phenazine (HP) biofilm-eradicating agents. Several of these agents were found to demonstrate antibacterial activities against M. tuberculosis in collaboration with the Luesch lab.


Drs. Carol Ann Motycka, Joanna Peris, Robert Huigens, and Oliver Grundmann named Pharm.D. Year 2 outstanding teaching team, May 2017.

Drs. Huigens and Grundmann are part of the Medicinal Chemistry faculty.


Katherine Cisneros received second grant through the CTSI TL1 Predoctoral Training Program, April 2017

This fellowship supports her graduate studies on the biotransformation of phenolic drugs and toxicants. The program provides predoctoral trainees with the skills required to develop a career in multidisciplinary clinical and translational research.


Dr. Margaret James was awarded a diversity supplement to the NIGMS grant, March 2017

These funds will support post-doctoral fellow Edwin Squirewell in studying the developmental pharmacology of glutathione transferase zeta1.


Drs. Hendrik Luesch, Qi-Yin Chen and Raymond Bergeron win the 2017 Technology Innovator Award, March 2017

This award from the UF Office of Technology Licensing recognizes inventors who have developed technologies that were licensed during the 2016 calendar year.


ChemBioChem journal features UF medicinal chemistry researchers as cover art ChemBioChem journal features UF medicinal chemistry researchers as cover art

Published: Feb 23rd, 2017

A University of Florida research team investigating biofilm-eradication has landed on the cover of the Feb. 16 issue of ChemBioChem.


30th Annual Research Showcase celebrates milestone year with record participation

Published: Feb 23rd, 2017

A record 89 poster entries and a keynote address about how technology is transforming clinical drug development highlighted the annual event. Weijing Cai, medicinal chemistry Ph.D. student, won the senior Milliard division for oral presentation on “Development of Apratoxins, Marine-Derived Anticancer Agents with Novel Effects on Growth Factor Signaling.”


Dr. Luesch receives golden medal honors at Thailand conferenceDr. Luesch receives golden medal honors at Thailand conference

Published: Feb 8th, 2017

Hendrik Luesch, Ph.D., a professor and chair of medicinal chemistry and the Debbie and Sylvia DeSantis Chair in Natural Products Drug Discovery and Development, received the Golden Medal Award for his presentation at the 2nd International Conference on Herbal and Traditional Medicine.


Dr. Xing’s kava research featured in Nutrition Frontiers newsletter

Published: Feb 7th, 2017

Research on the kava plant led by Chengguo “Chris” Xing, Ph.D., a professor of medicinal chemistry and the Frank A. Duckworth Eminent Scholar, was featured in the winter 2017 issue of Nutrition Frontiers newsletter published by the National Cancer Institute.


College of Pharmacy researchers develop novel ring distortion strategy to fight diseases

Published: Feb 1st, 2017

A novel strategy developed by UF Health researchers has yielded several promising compounds to fight inflammation and diseases such as colorectal cancer.


Medicinal chemist Dr. Rob Huigens named 2016-17 College of Pharmacy Teacher of the Year

Published: Jan 25th, 2017

The honor is the highest recognition of teaching excellence given within the College of Pharmacy.


Huigens’ lab published in MedChemCommun,  January 2017

Huigens’ lab published on a microwave-enhanced Friedländer synthesis for the rapid assembly of a diverse library of halogenated quinoline biofilm-eradicating agents. This was an invited article that was included in the themed collection: “New Talent: Americas.” This issue covered medicinal chemistry research in its broadest sense and showcased the strength of research being carried out by tomorrow’s leaders in the field.


UF Pharmacy faculty featured in PBS NewsHour story on kratom

Published: Jan 19th, 2017

Christopher McCurdy, Ph.D., a professor of medicinal chemistry, is featured in a PBS NewsHour report on kratom. (Video begins at 6:40)


Welcome to Christopher McCurdy, Ph.D., B.S.Ph., FAAPS, who joined the Medicinal Chemistry faculty in January 2017.

Dr. McCurdy will serve as a professor and director of the UF Translational Drug Development Core.


Celebrating Distinction in Pharmacy

Published: Nov 3rd, 2016

Three University of Florida College of Pharmacy researchers were recently installed as endowed professors in the college. Drs. Li and Xing from Medicinal Chemistry were honored with this highest designation for faculty.


Margaret O. James, Ph.D, professor, was award a second four-year grant from National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)

Dr. James will use the grant to study the developmental pharmacology of glutathione transferase zeta1.


Congratulations to Ranjala Ratnayake, Ph.D., research assistant professor, on receiving the NCI Specialist Award from the NIH, September 2016.


Welcome to Chenglong Li, Ph.D. and Chengguo (Chris) Xing, Ph.D. who joined the the Medicinal Chemistry faculty in August, 2016.


Fine-tuning chemistry to destroy bacterial biofilms

Published: Jun 10th, 2016

Medicinal chemists at the College of Pharmacy recently discovered a series of organic compounds that can kill dangerous bacterial biofilms.


Center for Natural Products, Drug Discovery and Development to host inaugural UF Drug Discovery Symposium

Published: Apr 3rd, 2016

The April 29 event will highlight the center’s ongoing research activities and screening infrastructure.


Researchers identify new strategy for discovering colorectal cancer drugs

Published: Mar 16th, 2016

University of Florida pharmacy researchers have identified novel drug targets and a new screening method for drugs affecting the signaling pathways in colorectal cancer.


Dr. Yousong Ding receives grant from Air Force’s Young Investigator Research ProgramDr. Yousong Ding receives grant from Air Force’s Young Investigator Research Program

Published: Jan 20th, 2016

Yousong Ding, Ph.D., an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry, was one of 56 scientists and engineers selected to receive a grant award from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.