On March 16, 2018, students from Professor Craig Merlic’s Honors Seminar for Chemistry 89 held a poster session focused on new medicines.
At the event held in the Young Hall collaboratory, 50 students from the Honors Seminar for Chemistry and Biochemistry class presented 25 posters on drugs recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The students’ posters presented drug information including disease biology and biochemistry, drug discovery and development, mechanism of drug action, clinical studies, drug synthesis, major side effects and drug resistance, and marketing information. The event was organized by Professor Craig Merlic and graduate teaching assistants Brett Cory, Carl Ferber, and Rob Tobolowsky. Photos from the event can be viewed on the on-line photo gallery.
Professor Michael Jung shares his insights on the heart-related chest pain and heart failure drug Corlanor (Ivabradine), with student Bryan Yang.
Professor Michael Jung, Associate Dean for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and professor of organic chemistry, was on hand to speak with the students about their posters. Jung was part of the team that developed the anti-androgen drug enzalutamide (Xtandi), which has been found to be very effective in slowing or stopping the progression of prostate cancer and received FDA approval in 2012. He also helped develop Erleada, which was recently approved by the FDA for treating an especially lethal form of prostate cancer.
(Left) Maziar Montazer presents his poster on Erivedge (Vismodegib) which is used for basal-cell carcinoma.
(Right) Merlic discusses a poster on Nuplazid (Pimavanserin), an atypical antipsychotic, by Hui Lan and Yanru Liu.
Chemistry 89, the Honors Seminar for Chemistry and Biochemistry, was designed by Professor Merlic as an adjunct to the lower division lecture course 30C that is the third and final course introducing organic chemistry and focuses on reactivity, synthesis, and biomolecules. The seminar class centers on the organic chemistry of pharmaceutical agents and begins with the students exploring how humans have utilized chemicals from nature to treat disease over the last 5000 years. They then learn the complete drug discovery process from target validation and lead identification, through drug optimization and development, and clinical trials and FDA review. Students also examine the molecular mechanisms of drug action and there is an emphasis on the chemistry involved at each stage of drug development.
(Left) Zheng Wang talks about the use of Juluca for HIV infections. (Right) Elena Wang presents the chemistry of Rydapt (Midostaurin) for acute myeloid leukemia.
Merlic offers this course every time he teaches Chemistry 30C as a way of introducing students to the myriad ways in which organic chemistry applies to the development of new pharmaceutical agents. He says “As the students complete their year-long course in organic chemistry, I think that this is a great way to introduce them to medicinal chemistry which is one of the most important applications of what they have been learning.”
(Left) Jung biochemistry student Jessica Ramos a question about Steglatro (Ertugliflozin) used to treat type 2 diabetes. (Right) Jung and Merlic listen to Zain Khalifeh talk about the analgesic Nucynta (Tapentadol).
(Left) Aline Hoang presents her poster on Zetonna (Ciclesonide) used for allergic rhinitis. (Right) Leo Lai fields a question from Jung about his poster on Lynparza (Olaparib) a PARP inhibitor for breast cancer treatment.
(Left) Erica Chen describes the dual action of Lutathera which combines both diagnostic and therapeutic actions into one compound. (Right) Noor Atif relates how Effient (Prasugrel) can be used for acute coronary disease.
(Left) Jay Patel presents a poster on Nucynta (Tapentadol) an analgesic agent. (Right) Ara Mandjikian discusses the chemistry of the antibiotic agent Ceftazidime (Avibactam).
Photos by Penny Jennings – UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry