The development of an enzyme or drug that will fight cancer could be one of the many discoveries that will be made in the new Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Center that officially opened for business last week.
The 15,000-square-foot facility, located on the north end of campus along with the Nursing and Health Sciences Center and the James D. Hughes Center, provides students with the latest in technology and research environments. The building includes collaborative classroom space, core analytical labs and other learning environments that support learning and research.
“This new facility gives the university capabilities that we have never had before,” said Roger Davis, dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. “A new era of science research is beginning on this campus that builds on the significant science work that has been taking place at Lipscomb for decades.”
Davis said the breadth of resources the building offers enhances discovery and scholarship as well as collaboration between undergraduate and graduate research opportunities.
“It is important for us to continue to find ways to use the sciences and health sciences to improve the quality of lives for people who are suffering medically,” said Davis. “We have great potential for impacting people through the research that will take place inside these walls.”
Four areas of research will be the focus of early study according to Davis.
Susan Mercer, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences, will continue her research in learning how specific painkillers known as opioids (such as meperidine, oxycodone and hyrdrocodone) interact with drug transporters and metabolizing enzymes in the brain. In meperidine’s case, this interaction makes a very effective pain-relieving drug become addictive with continual use.
Exploring how anti-cancer drugs and enzymes work on DNA is another major research focus that will take place in the new facility. Leading the study is Joe Deweese, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences, who is seeking to learn more about how enzymes that are targeted by cancer cells are impacted by cancer-fighting medicines in an effort to develop better drugs to fight the disease.
Developing novel compounds as possible future therapeutics in the areas of Parkinson’s disease and obesity is a third area of study. This study is led by Nate Daniel, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences.
A fourth primary research focus is a new study of anti-cancer drugs and how they impact the liver. Klarissa Hardy, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences, is developing a research laboratory to investigate the underlying biochemical and cellular mechanisms of drug-induced liver injury. Her research interests include characterizing the role of drug metabolism and transport in the initiation of drug-induced liver injury and identifying the downstream cellular responses that occur during the pathogenesis of liver toxicity.
“I am excited to get started with this research project,” said Hardy, who joined the faculty this fall. “The laboratory facilities in this new building will greatly enhance our ability to study this issue as well as provide a top-quality learning experience for our students.”
For more information about the College of Pharmacy, visit www.lipscomb.edu/pharmacy.