The research of members of the IMD3 focuses on broad aspects of basic and clinical science ranging from medicinal chemistry to advanced design and synthesis of new compounds using molecular modeling and structural biological approaches. Studies of several IMD3 members utilize proteomics and genomics to identify new molecular targets for assessing biological behavior of a disease or for designing an alternative drug. The emphasis of other IMD3 investigators is to translate these types of results into new assays and clinical tests applicable to management of disease. "Molecular Diversity" may be derived from a range studies such as combinatorial chemistry and high throughput screening, where literally millions of compounds are synthesized and tested to uncover new drug leads. At the other end of the scale, gene and protein expression profiling are being used to identify molecular signatures composed of unique macromolecules that may become candidates for drug targets or design. "Drug Design" also reflects a relatively new approach whereby known targets (enzymes, receptors, DNA segments) are used to devise specific structures that bind to them in a high affinity fashion by a process known as molecular recognition. Technically advanced methods for assessing ligand binding capacities and affinities reveal candidate compounds. Physical tools such as NMR spectrometry, X-ray crystallography, and molecular modeling, as well as sophisticated organic synthesis methods, are critical to this process. Collectively, members of the IMD3 are focused on identifying new molecular targets, designing new drugs or discovering candidate therapeutic compounds in natural products while developing clinically relevant tests assessing a patient’s diagnosis, prognosis or therapy selection and monitoring. with the same eventual goal, namely, the alleviation of human suffering.
- Enhance basic research collaboration and support in chemical and biological sciences;
- Develop research expertise in advanced aspects of drug design from lead discovery to clinical use, focusing on modern methods of rational and combinatorial lead generation, bioassays, structure optimization, including receptor selectivity, bio-stability, and pharmacokinetics, as well as process development and bioinformatics;
- Exploit collaborative research findings via interactions with industry and through the formation of new businesses in Kentucky, especially by effective technology transfer initiatives;
- Foster educational advancement of undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students at the University through specialized course work, industrial internships, and effective mentoring programs designed to support the training of high quality young scientists;
- Focus the fiscal resources and faculty expertise in the IMD3 to enhance student development as innovative investigators through travel awards, undergraduate and graduate fellowships.