The College of Pharmacy at the University of Iowa is comprised of two academic departments which house many faculty members whose research spans diverse fields. Their combined efforts make the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy a premiere research facility. Find out more about research areas in the college.
We invite you to view our research faculty members and information on their current research interests, within the academic departments: Pharmaceutical Sciences and Experimental Therapeutics (PSET) and Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS).
A second area of study in the Kern laboratory focuses on biologically important glycoconjugates. An emphasis within this program is the evaluation of new approaches to inhibit cellular interactions and biological processes mediated by cell surface glycosaminoglycans. The Kerns group is developing new strategies to design and synthesize non-polyanionic molecules that block or modulate physiological processes mediated by glycosaminoglycan-protein interactions.
The Kerns group also provides Medicinal Chemistry expertise and support for follow-up to high throughput screening and for a number of interdisciplinary, translational research projects focused on the design, synthesis and evaluation of novel bioactive small molecules and molecular probes. Ongoing studies include optimizing lead structures for use as chemical probes to validate new drug targets and characterizing structure-function relationships for lead structures toward the discovery of new therapeutics for a number of diseases including infectious diseases, inflammatory lung disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer.
One of our projects, currently supported by the National Cancer Institute, is focused on identifying small molecule inhibitors of RGS17. RGS17 is a protein upregulated in both prostate and familial lung cancers. Studies have shown that knockdown of RGS17 in these tumor types causes both tumor shrinkage and a reduction of metastatic potential of those cells. Our prime objective is to recapitulate that phenotype using chemical tools discovered through the use of High Throughput Screening (HTS). In HTS, we screen tens of thousands of diverse small molecules to identify those that inhibit RGS17s function in cancer cells. We utilized highly sophistocated robotics (check out the UI HTS facility page) to perform these screens. After identification of novel inhibitors, they can be optimized for potency, specificity and safety using medicinal chemistry techniques. On this project, we collaborate with Dr. Zhendong Jin, also in the MNPC division at Iowa, who brings his significant synthetic medicinal chemistry expertise to bear on this project. We also collaborate with Dr. Michael Henry, UI Dept. of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics (and Deputy Director of Basic Research for the Cancer Center), who is an expert in prostate cancer.