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Pacific Professors Awarded Highly Selective Grant for Medicinal Chemistry Research

Dec 9, 2009

Two Pacific professors were recipients of one of only three Teva USA Scholars Grants awarded by the American Chemical Society (ACS). Dr. Xin Guo (Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences), principal investigator, and Dr. Andreas Franz (Chemistry Department, College of the Pacific), co-principal investigator, received the award for their proposed research titled "trans-2-Aminocyclohexanol Lipids as pH-sensitive Conformational Switches in Liposomes for Drug Delivery." Two other faculty members are key participants in this project: Dr. Vyacheslav Samoshin (Chemistry) and Dr. Nataliya Samoshina (Chemistry and Pharmacy).

Drs. Guo and Franz will receive $100,000 per year for three years in order to pursue their research, which has practical implications for medicine. The Teva USA Scholars Grant started this year, and the ACS will award the grants once every three years.

The awards recognize and support the work of recently tenured faculty members at Ph.D.-granting institutions in the U.S.  Applications for the grants must propose research in the area of organic chemistry, with the potential to yield results that would be of practical benefit in the development of human medicines. Proposals are peer-reviewed and evaluated based on scientific merit, creativity and novelty, and their potential for addressing unexplored fields in organic and/or medicinal chemistry.

The research being led by Dr. Guo, Dr. Franz and Dr. Samoshin will focus on developing pH-sensitive liposomes for drug delivery. The research will answer questions of how to package the liposomes with drugs, direct them to targeted sites, and then trigger them to release the drugs in acidic microenvironments. The success of the research would advance the therapeutics for disease conditions that lower the pH in biological tissues, such as cancer and chronic inflammation.

Progress of the research will be reported annually to the American Chemical Society, and the results will be presented at a national meeting of ACS toward the end of the three-year grant term.

"This award is a strong encouragement to me and my collaborators because it affirms that high-quality research can be done by the faculty, students and staff scientists at Pacific, and that such research will be appreciated nationwide," said Dr. Guo.