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Welch Foundation gives $1.6 million for drug discovery research
Date:9/11/2007

GALVESTON, Texas -- Thanks to a $1.6 million grant from the Welch Foundation, a coalition of six Gulf Coast institutions is launching a new initiative to develop innovative computational and chemical techniques intended to speed the development of new drugs and molecular tools for biomedical science.

The Welch Foundation funding will enable the John S. Dunn Gulf Coast Consortium for Chemical Genomics (GCC CG) to establish a computational chemistry research program. The program is designed to fund multiple projects that bring together innovative scientists involved with biomedical research and drug discovery: computational chemists, who work to produce computer models of real chemical systems that can be used to predict molecular properties; synthetic chemists, who specialize in building molecules designed for specific purposes; and biologists investigating systems can be applied to molecular intervention. Such studies are often the first step in the development of new drugs.

We're very grateful to the Welch Foundation for this gift, which continues its traditional mission of supporting the science of chemistry in Texas and also makes it possible for us to do medicinal chemistry that can have a real benefit for human health," said University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) professor Scott R. Gilbertson, the project's principal investigator.

Gilbertson, who also holds one of UTMB's two Robert A. Welch Distinguished Chairs in Chemistry, said the studies funded by the program will focus on small molecules' effects on protein-protein interactions. Interactions between protein molecules are critical to many cellular processes. Developing molecules to control such interactions is becoming a central area in understanding cellular function as well as the discovery of important therapeutics.

"We think that collaborations between computational groups and synthetic groups in this area will promote better computing methods t
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Contact: Jim Kelly
jpkelly@utmb.edu
409-772-8791
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Source:Eurekalert

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