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Department Directory - Program for Collaborative Research in the Pharmaceutical Sciences
Director, Institute for Tuberculosis Research
The Albert Schatz Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy
INST AFFL, Program for Collaborative Research in the Pharmaceutical Sciences
My motivation for finding new drugs for tuberculosis stems from a general desire to help alleviate suffering from diseases that disproportionately affect the poor and that have been neglected by the very countries that have the resources to make a difference. The success that we had in going from the lab to the clinic in leprosy in the 90s, gave me confidence that we can do the same for TB as these diseases are caused by related bacteria. The ITR is pursuing several strategies for discovery of new anti-TB agents. This includes large scale screening of both natural and synthetic compounds for those that demonstrate specificity of activity (i.e. inhibit the TB bacillus but not mammalian cells). Lead compounds are then optimized by semi-synthesis. In addition we are attempting to optimize the anti-TB activity of classes of antibiotics used for other infections but that have not been clinically active in tuberculosis. Activity of all lead compounds are assessed in macrophage and mouse models of TB. Ultimately clinical trials will be conducted with collaborators in TB-endemic regions.