VCU School of Pharmacy, Department of Medicinal Chemistry

Medicinal Chemistry is a discipline exploring biology in health and disease on a molecular scale. Visit us at http://www.pharmacy.vcu.edu/medchem/

Medicinal Chemistry is the chemistry of medicines. But, it is far more than mixing reagents to create a molecule that may be a “drug”. The medicinal chemist is a crucial part of a multidisciplinary research team that must understand, really understand, the biology of health and disease from the body and organ level down to cells and ultimately to the detail of single molecules and their interactio

Operating as usual

02/09/2024

Chemical designed by Guo launches as tool for cholesterol research, drug discovery

A chemical designed by Youzhong Guo, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, has been launched on the market. The chemical, called CHEAPS, maintains both the biochemical properties of cholesterol and the balance of hydrophobic (water-repellant) and hydrophilic (water-attracting) properties necessary for protein and cholesterol interaction research.

Guo and his team created this molecule, in part, due to their ongoing research on membrane proteins as drug targets. While conducting this research, Guo and his team discovered that existing chemicals on the market often had water solubility that was too high or too low for cholesterol research or the existing chemicals did not keep the biochemical properties of cholesterol intact. The team developed CHEAPS as an alternative to existing products and published a 2021 paper in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – General Subjects on the design, synthesis, characterization and application of CHEAPS.

CHEAPS will be a convenient research tool for those working on cholesterol-related research and may be used as a lead for new drug discoveries, Guo says.

“Better research tools, such as CHEAPS, can help us understand the structure and active mechanisms of many human membrane proteins,” Guo says. “Consequently, the advanced knowledge of membrane proteins will provide greater insights into what causes certain diseases/conditions and will create many possibilities to develop novel treatment strategies for membrane protein-related human diseases.”

Congratulations, Dr. Guo and team!

12/06/2023

Medicinal Chemistry Departmental Seminar

"Functional Near-Infrared Dyes for Applications in Chemical Biology"

Guest Speaker: Dr. Cliff Stains, PhD, Department of Chemistry, University of Virginia

Friday: December 8, 2023, Biotech Center, Founders Conference Room, 1st Floor, Time 3:15

Photos from VCU School of Pharmacy, Department of Medicinal Chemistry's post 11/20/2023

Medicinal Chemistry GSA participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer's on Nov. 4th, 2023. With the help of students and faculty of the department, we were able to raise $1,817 towards funds for Alzheimer's care, support, and research. We are thrilled by everyone's support and continuous effort to represent our department in the Richmond community."

Medicinal Chemistry, Research Lab Technician 11/13/2023

We have an opening for a full-time University and Academic Professional Research Lab Technician in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Dr. Shijun Zhang's laboratory. Recent graduates are encouraged to apply.

Medicinal Chemistry, Research Lab Technician About VCU:At VCU, we are UNCOMMON and UNLIKE any other university. A premier, urban, public research university nationally recognized as one of the be...

11/13/2023

Medicinal Chemistry Departmental Seminar

"Development of Selective Survival Motor Neuron-2 (SMN2) Gene Splicing Modifier as a Treatment for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)"

Speaker: Jannatun Namme, Graduate Student, VCU Department of Medicinal Chemistry

Friday: November 17, 2023, Lyons Dental School Building, Lecture Room 442 (4th flr), Time 3:15 pm

11/06/2023

"Design and Development of PROTAC Degraders Targeting the Androgen Receptor to Treat Prostate Cancer"

Speaker: Sarita Pandit, Graduate Student, VCU Department of Medicinal Chemistry

Friday: November 10, 2023, Biotech Center, Founders Conference Room, 1st Floor, Time 3:15

11/01/2023

Poster winners for this years VCU School of Pharmacy Research and Career Day held on Friday, October 27, 2023

First prize in the Graduate Student category: Charles Jones: Poster title 'Finding Therapy in the Mirror of Abuse"

First prize in the Postdoctoral Scientist category: Nitai Sarkar: Poster title 'Optimization of the "Psychic Energizer" Monase'

First prize in the PharmD student category: Rui Lyu: Poster title: 'In Vivo Pharmacological Evaluations of NAN Derivatives as Novel Mu Opioid Receptor Modulators'

10/30/2023

Medicinal Chemistry Departmental Seminar

"Development of Dual p70S6K and Akt Inhibitors for PAM Pathway-Related Cancers"

Speaker: Grace Rilee, Graduate Student, VCU Department of Medicinal Chemistry

Friday: November 3, 2023, Biotech Center, Founders Conference Room, 1st Floor, Time 3:15 pm

10/23/2023

Medicinal Chemistry Departmental Seminar

"Targeting the Innate Immune System; the Discovery and Development of TRL7/8 Small Molecules"

Speaker: Ally Thompson, Graduate Student, VCU Department of Medicinal Chemistry

Friday: October 27, 2023, Lyons Dental School Building, Lecture Room 442 (4th flr), Time 3:15 pm

10/16/2023

Dr. Safo has been awarded a CCTR Endowment Fund grant for his research project titled "Development of PKLR inhibitors for the treatment of liver cancer". Dr. Jiong Li is his collaborator on the project.

10/11/2023

Medicinal Chemistry Departmental Seminar

"Thesis Defense - Characterizing 3-O-Sulfation-Induced Novel Compact Topologies in Heparan Sulfate and Their Interactions with Proteins"

Speaker: Sam Holmes, Graduate Student, VCU Department of Medicinal Chemistry

Friday: October 13, 2023, Biotech I, Founders Conference Room, 1st Floor, Time 3:15 pm

10/09/2023

Dr. Yan Zhang has been awarded VCU's newly created 2023 National/International Recognition Award (NIRA). NIRA has been created to honor faculty members who have achieved exceptional recognition in their chosen field in terms of national and/or international accomplishments during the course of the current evaluation period (Jun 2022 to Jul 2023).

10/04/2023
10/04/2023

Medicinal Chemistry Departmental Seminar

"Design and Development of KRAS-G12C Inhibitors to Treat Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer"

Speaker: Albert Opare, Graduate Student, VCU Department of Medicinal Chemistry

Friday: October 6, 2023, Biotech I, Founders Conference Room, 1st Floor, Time 3:15 pm

10/02/2023

Prof. Shijun Zhang has just received a major new grant award of $600,000 from the ADDF for two years. The title of the grant is 'Probing neuroinflammation in Alzheimer’s with NLRP3 PET radiotracers'.

08/25/2023

Medicinal Chemistry Departmental Seminar

"Exploring Plant Bioactive Compounds for Diabetes Treatment"

Guest Speaker: Dr. Dongmin Liu, Professor, Fralin Life Sciences Institute, Virginia Tech

Friday: September 1, 2023, Biotech I, Founders Conference Room, 1st Floor, Time 3:15 pm

08/04/2023

Professor Martin Safo has received the 2023
VCU Distinguished Scholarship Award

06/14/2023

Dr. Aaron May has just been awarded an R21 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The title of the grant is 'Synthesis and Evaluation of Prp-Specific Probes and Prodrugs'.

06/14/2023

Medicinal Chemistry Departmental Seminar

"Systematic Structure-Activity Relationship Study of Nalfurafine Towards Treatments for Substance Use Disorders and Pain Management"

Speaker: Celsey Stahlman, Graduate Student, Final Seminar, Virginia Commonwealth University, Department of Medicinal Chemistry

Wednesday: June 14, 2023, R.B. Smith bldg, 1st Floor, Room 103, Time 1:00 pm

04/14/2023

Dr. Shijun Zhang has just been awarded a new R01 grant titled 'Probing Neuroinflammation in Alzheimer's Disease with NLRP3 PET Radiotracers'. This grant is a collective effort between Dr. Zhang, Dr. Kellogg and Dr. Halquist from our School and Dr. Rudolph Tanzi of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. This is a five year grant with total funding of $2,515,360 (direct and indirect). Please join me in congratulating Dr. Zhang and his team for an excellent achievement.

03/20/2023

Medicinal Chemistry Departmental Seminar

"Sumoylation and Chromatin Silencing in Skeletal Developement and Diseases"

Guest Speaker: Tao Yang, PhD, Van Andel Research Institute, Cell Biology, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Friday: April 14, 2023, Biotech I, Founders Conference Room, 1st Floor, Time 3:15 pm

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