Molecules to Medicine

“Molecules to Medicine”  (M2M) is a new training initiative of our program aimed at presenting timely content and simultaneously addressing workforce diversity. The M2M initiative will educate our students in the multifaceted aspects of getting a drug molecule from the bench to the bedside while simultaneously being a means of exposing them to the wide range of job opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry.

Specifically, M2M involves one new course, Molecules to Medicine (see below) and upgrades to two already existing courses, Biomedicinal Chemistry and Molecular Modeling & Simulation. Discussions of job opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry will be integrated in all courses, plus information on the scientific training and general education necessary to be competitive for positions in large companies and small start-ups. Also, a regular program is being established in which we invite our alumni, who are well- established in the pharmaceutical industry, to visit our Molecular Biophysics Journal Club to share their experiences and create networking opportunities.  Selected weekly seminars in the participating departments and in our Annual Retreat will be on the theme of M2M. We are making the offerings of M2M available to all graduate students regardless of their home department, so there is an immediate, broader-based institutional impact of this initiative.

CHEM 342 Molecules to Medicine

This course will explore the process of drug development, including target selection, lead discovery using computer-based methods and combinatorial chemistry/high-throughput screening, organic synthesis, bioavailability, clinical trials, and other factors (some economics and politics) involved in bringing a drug to the marketplace. Critical consideration of the variables to contend with at each step will be described and discussed, including aspects of research ethics and patent law. The basic science of molecular recognition, computer-aided drug design, and the role of factors from synthetic chemistry to toxicology will be presented. Case studies of the development of drugs recently successful in making the journey from molecule to medicine will be discussed, as well as the story of some that did not, and why. Emerging new design strategies such as fusion-protein therapies, crisper technology, and enhanced use of rational design and combinatorial methods will be emphasized, and how pharmaceutical research is evolving in the postgenomic era, particularly with biologics. Job opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry will be discussed.

Crosslisted:  BIOL342, CIS342, MB&B342