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Dr. James McKerrow

Neglected Tropical Diseases

James McKerrow

James McKerrow, Ph.D, M.D.

Distinguished Professor
Dean
Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences
Distinguished Professor of Pathology

Email
jmckerrow@ucsd.edu

Phone
(858) 822-7801


Research Summary: Protease biochemistry, drug design, molecular parasitology, host-parasite biology

Dr. McKerrow leads a consortium of academic and industry scientists dedicated to the discovery and development of new drugs for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). This consortium, the Center for Discovery and Innovation in Parasitic Diseases, is focused on drug discovery and development through Phase I clinical trials. The Center pioneered the development of high-throughput screening assays for ten neglected diseases, ranging from single-cell protozoa like Trypanosoma brucei and Trypanosoma cruzi, to complex multicellular helminths (worms) like Schistosoma and Brugia. Over 30 companies have shared compound libraries with the Center. The Center includes expertise in structure-based drug design, encompassing both computational approaches and structure-guided medicinal chemistry, and maintains animal models of NTDs for proof of concept studies. Among its accomplishments, the Center discovered and developed a drug for Chagas’ disease through a successful pre-IND meeting with the FDA. The Center has also received Orphan-Drug Designation from the FDA for two drugs targeting NTDs in a “repurposing” screening campaign. 

Academic Achievements

Education:

BSc in Chemistry & Biology at Haverford College (1968); PhD in Biology from the University of California, San Diego (1973); MD from the State University of New York (1976) 

Awards and Honors:

Certificate of Recognition for Faculty Diversity, Southern Regional Education Board (2007), President's Speaker, American Society of Microbiology Annual Meeting (2007), Essential Core Teaching Award. "Outstanding Lecture Series," Class of 2009, School of Medicine (2009), Gregor Mendel Honorary Medal. Academy Council of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (2009), President's Symposium Speaker, American Society of Parasitology (2010)

Leadership Experience:

Vice Chair for Research and Education, UCSF (2003-2012); Director, Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, UCSF (2002-2005); Chief of Anatomic Pathology, VAMAC San Francisco (1990-1996); Director, Tropical Disease Research Unit, UCSF (1995-2009); Director, Microscopy and Advanced Imaging Core, UCSF Liver Center (1997-2004)

Key Contributions to Pharmaceutical Sciences

  • Drug discovery and development
  • SSPPS strategic planning
  • Strategic partnerships with local industry

Selected Recent Publications (from >250 peer-reviewed articles)

Potential Collaborative Programs with the Pharmaceutical Industry

  • Collaborative research projects targeting neglected tropical diseases (Janssen, Anacor, ACEA, Astra Zeneca, GSK, Novartis GNF, Pfizer)