We announced today the selection of the first five research organizations that will participate in the Florida Translational Research Program (FTRP) to advance drug discovery in the state. The projects focus on cancer, diabetes, and obesity, and are led by scientists from the University of Central Florida, the University of Florida, the University of Miami, Scripps Florida, and a team of our own Lake Nona scientists. The Florida Department of Health and Sanford-Burnham established the FTRP as a competitive grant program that provides funding for collaborative drug discovery projects. The overall goal of the program is to translate research discoveries made in Florida laboratories into the medicines of tomorrow.
We’re holding a satellite symposium in conjunction with the 2013 annual meeting of the Society for Laboratory Automation & Screening (SLAS), in partnership with DisoveRx and HighRes Biosolutions. The event, Destination Drug Discovery, will feature presentations from internationally renowned scientists. The speakers will present their cutting-edge research and the application of novel technologies and approaches to advancing therapeutic drug discovery. The satellite symposium will also provide opportunities for participants to enjoy informal networking with other drug discovery experts during presentations and session breaks.
What: Sanford-Burnham SLAS 2013 Destination Drug Discovery Satellite Symposium
When: Sunday, January 13, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Where: Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute at Lake Nona, Orlando, Fla. [map]
Keynote speaker: Michel Bouvier, Ph.D., F.C.A.H.S., University of Montreal. Other speakers include Stefan Knapp, Ph.D., University of Oxford.
Who’s invited: The Destination Drug Discovery symposium is open to the public. You do not need to register for SLAS 2013 to attend.
Register: Click here
Twitter: Follow @SanfordBurnham and #SLAS2013
More info: Contact Layton Smith, Ph.D.
An international team of scientists, including researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, have identified the first reported inhibitors of a key enzyme involved in survival of the parasite responsible for malaria. Their findings, which may provide the basis for anti-malarial drug development, were published July 19 in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.
According to the World Health Organization, there were 216 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2010. Severe forms of the disease are mainly caused by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum, transmitted to humans by female Anopheles mosquitoes. Malaria eradication has not been possible due to the lack of vaccines and the parasite’s ability to develop resistance to most drugs.
Discovering and developing new treatments for disease is a challenging, time-consuming, and expensive endeavor. For every drug that eventually makes it to the pharmacy, hundreds of compounds fail to deliver results and millions of dollars are spent without a direct return on investment. However, in these economically challenging times, existing drugs and compounds—whether in development, already on the market, or even ones that have failed clinical trials due to lack of efficacy—are being re-examined by pharmaceutical companies and research institutions. The goal of this approach—called drug repurposing— is to find potential new uses for these drugs.
Last week was a great one for medical researchers across the state of Florida. The state legislature and governor approved funding for the Collaborative Research Grant program between the Florida Department of Health and Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. Starting in July, the program will provide scientists at universities and non-profit institutes throughout Florida with access to Sanford-Burnham scientists and our state-of-the-art technologies for drug discovery. This includes access to the Institute’s Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics.
Together with the Florida Department of Health, Sanford-Burnham will develop a competitive grant program, based on peer-review that will provide funds for collaborative projects between Florida-based research scientists and Sanford-Burnham’s fully operational, state-of-the-art drug discovery technology center based at Lake Nona.
Education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is more important than ever as it creates the next generation of critical thinkers, increases science literacy, and enables the innovators of tomorrow in an ever-more globalized world. Innovation, in turn, leads to new developments and processes that drive our economy. But, as we all know, STEM courses are not necessarily among the most popular ones in schools or colleges across the nation. Recent surveys have shown that the United States is falling behind other countries when it comes to math skills and other STEM-related indicators. This is especially true for minority students.
The STEM Pipeline Program was initiated to help overcome this shortfall. The program’s goal is to encourage African-American and other underrepresented students to consider an education and, eventually, a career in STEM fields. The program is an innovative collaboration between the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Sanford-Burnham at Lake Nona in Orlando, Akerman Senterfitt, and the Central Florida Medical Society. It offers mentorships and in-classroom career information about STEM education at Central Florida middle and high schools with diverse populations. The program also fosters further student development by offering four-summer internships at Sanford-Burnham to qualified students pursuing a STEM major.
Several Sanford-Burnham investigators presented their research findings at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2011 on November 13-16, where more than 14,000 clinicians and researchers gathered in Orlando, Florida.
During his lecture at the Cardiovascular Seminar Series, Dr. Daniel Kelly, scientific director of Sanford-Burnham’s Lake Nona facility in Orlando, presented his laboratory’s ongoing work to determine the role of “energy starvation” in the development of heart failure. The Kelly laboratory has found that mitochondria, the cell’s energy-generating machines, becomes dysfunctional during the development of heart failure caused by common disease states such as high blood pressure and heart attacks. Dr. Kelly also presented several strategies his laboratory is pursuing to identify new drug targets to replenish mitochondria in the failing heart, including using the power of proteomics (defining the levels of all proteins operating in a cell) and metabolomics (identifying all the body’s metabolites).