BDCI Awards 2021 Accelerator Grants

Biological Discoveries through Chemical Innovation (BDCI) has awarded six 2021 Accelerator grants to 12 Emory scientists, including Emory chemistry faculty Simon Blakey, Nate Jui, and Monika Raj.

The BDCI is a collaborative initiative between the Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology in the Emory University School of Medicine and the Department of Chemistry in the Emory College of Arts and Sciences led by professors Haian Fu and Huw Davies. BDCI sits at a key intersection of biology, chemistry, and human health in both scientific discovery and training of new researchers. In addition to accelerating the development of the next generation of research tools, safe & effective drugs, and diagnostic agents, a major focus of BDCI is to build a research network at the interface between chemistry and human health at Emory.

BDCI Accelerator Grants aim to cultivate this network and catalyze innovative research by funding cross- disciplinary collaborations that align with the mission of the BDCI. This year’s proposals spanned three major units at Emory (ECAS, SOM, Winship Cancer Institute) and nine departments! The 2021 projects — along with their principal investigators, co-investigators and external partners — that received Accelerator Grants are:

Targeting the MKK3- MYC oncogenic axis for therapeutic discovery

Andrey Ivanov (Pharmacology & Chemical Biology) and Yuhong Du (Emory Chemical Biology Discovery Center)

Synthesis and evaluation of metabolism-resistant imidazo- benzodiazopene analogues for treatment of pathological sleepiness

Andrew Jenkins (Anesthesiology and Pharmacology & Chemical Biology) and Thota Ganesh (Pharmacology & Chemical Biology)

Targeting Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide signaling: a novel immune checkpoint pathway in exocrine pancreatic cancer

Simon Blakey (Chemistry) and Edmund Waller (Pathology, Hematology & Medical Oncology)

Molecular imaging agents for monitoring sirtuin deacetylases in cells

Monika Raj (Chemistry) and David Yu (Cancer Biology and Radiation Oncology)

Small molecule therapeutics for sickle cell anemia

Wook Joon Chung (Pediatrics) and Yuhong Du (Emory Chemical Biology Discovery Center)

Development of a tool to profile cancer patients in response to immunotherapy

Mark Goodman (Radiology & Imaging Sciences), Erik Dreaden (Biomedical Engineering), and Nate Jui (Chemistry)