UIC researchers to develop new drugs to fight bioterrorism

The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to develop new drugs to combat agents of bioterrorism.

The one-year, $880,000 grant will fund the college's new Institute for Advanced Pharmaceutical Sciences. The center will discover new and effective medicines to fight bioterrorism and assist the college in obtaining additional funding sources to develop medicines to fight other infectious and chronic diseases such as tuberculosis, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and bipolar disorder.

"Anthrax has been identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of the most serious threats of bioterrorism, and UIC's College of Pharmacy has an extensive research program devoted to the discovery and development of antibiotics for the treatment of this and other infectious diseases," said Jerry Bauman, dean of the College of Pharmacy. "This grant will allow us to expand on our current studies."

UIC researchers will conduct four projects over the course of the year.

The projects entail the probing of novel sites in bacterial ribosomes for new antibiotic action; the development of aminocyclodextrins to block pore assembly by the anthrax pathogen in host tissues; rational development of new inhibitors of a key enzyme in fatty acid biosynthesis (Fab1) in many gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria; and the development and screening of natural products for their therapeutic potential against anthrax and other infectious agents such as Y. pestis, F. tularensis, Brucella spp, and Burkholderia spp.

Bauman will serve as director of the new center, with William Beck, professor and head of biopharmaceutical sciences, serving as deputy director. Researchers include Mike Johnson, professor and director of the UIC Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology; Andrew Mesecar, associate professor, Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology; Alexander Mankin, prof

Contact: Sam Hostettler
University of Illinois at Chicago

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