UC San Diego Institutes and Centers
The high level of attrition of drug candidates through the development process necessitates an increased efficiency in lead identification and optimization. Implementation of screening tools for in vitro ADME and in vivo pharmacokinetics can identify potential liabilities early and guide necessary structural modifications or other development strategies to mitigate problems. The UC San Diego Drug Development Pipeline provides these experimental steps needed to progress a bioactive small molecule or natural product to clinical candidacy.
We provide access to state of the art NMR technology for both UCSD and external users. Users can collect their own data, facility staff can do it all for you, or collaborative projects can be developed. We provide training in instrument operation and can offer advice for data analysis or project feasibility.
The Center of Excellence in Nanomedicine (CEN), directed by Assoc. Prof. Adah Almutairi, is an interdisciplinary research group that develops novel nano- and biomaterials to enable the future of biological research and medicine. CEN includes investigators from across campus, from bioengineering to neuroscience to radiology, designing and refining innovative tools that will allow precise control over the timing and location of drug delivery, disease-activated imaging signals, in vitro modeling of tissue development, and more. The Center also provides training in the application of nanotechnology and responsive materials to medicine through seminar series and workshops.
Directed by Prof. Mike Gilson, the Drug Discovery Institute (DDI) brings together faculty from across campus to translate fundamental insights into disease into new drug technologies and new chemistry into useful tools for medical research. The DDI facilitates collaboration among participating faculty through regular brainstorming sessions as well as individual advice to match investigators with others with relevant expertise and resources for high throughput screening and computer-aided drug design. The Institute is working to catalog the enormous library of marine natural products discovered by UCSD faculty to develop yet another shareable resource.
The Center for Computational Mass Spectrometry (CCMS) develops algorithms and software to identify all the proteins present in a biological sample, as well as the infrastructure required to freely share these cutting edge computational mass spectrometry tools with researchers around the nation and the world. The CCMS, directed by Asst. Prof. Nuno Bandeira and Computer Science and Engineering Prof. Pavel Pevzner, has produced several programs that accelerate the analysis of mass spectra and the identification of many types of proteins and peptides.
The Translational Research Alliance is a coordinating center that develops new pathways for clinical investigators to collaborate with basic science researchers outside UCSD and for basic scientists across the San Diego region to translate discoveries into new treatments. The TRA, headed by Prof. Deborah Spector, fosters partnerships with other universities, health care providers, biomedical research organizations, and BIOCOM and CONNECT to develop programs for resource-sharing and to facilitate development of novel therapies with industry.
Multi-institution Collaborative Programs
The Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics (RCSB) provides free public resources on the 3D structure of biological macromolecules to assist others and further the fields of bioinformatics and biology. RCSB, which includes investigators and support teams at UC San Diego (led by Prof. Phil Bourne), Rutgers University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, maintains the Protein Data Bank, the single worldwide repository of information about the 3D structures of large biological molecules, including proteins and nucleic acids. The PDB archive is available at no cost to users and is updated weekly with newly published structures.
The Panama ICBG is one of seven such projects, part of a collaborative effort by the NSF, NIH, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) that aims to integrate improvement of human health through drug discovery, creation of incentives for conservation of biodiversity, and promotion of scientific research and sustainable economic activity. The Panama ICBG, directed by Prof. Bill Gerwick, is a bioprospecting program for discovery of both pharmaceutical and agricultural products from endophytic fungi, cyanobacteria and heterotrophic bacteria from both terrestrial and marine sources. Partners include the University of Panama, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, University of Utah, UC Santa Cruz, Oregon State University, University of Arizona, Eisai Pharmaceuticals, and Dow Agrosciences.
The Pharmacogenomics Education Program (PharmGenEd™) is an evidence-based education program for pharmacists, physicians, pharmacy and medical students, and other healthcare professionals concerning the validity of current pharmacogenomic tests and the implications of their use in the clinic. The program team at SSPPS, led by Profs. Grace Kuo and Kelly Lee and supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is collaborating with national pharmacy, medical, and healthcare organizations to deliver PharmGenEd™ materials to more than 100,000 pharmacists, physicians, and healthcare professionals via the Web and live CPE/CME presentations.