September 30, 2008

CBC Lever Program Demonstrates Success in Focusing Large-Dollar Awards:

$2M CBC Lever Award Helps Attract $9.2M in Center Funding for the Chicago Tri-Institutional Center for Chemical Methods and Library Development

The CBC has awarded the second Lever Award to a group of scientists from the three CBC member institutions; Sergey Kozmin (University of Chicago), Karl Scheidt (Northwestern), Hisashi Yamamoto (University of Chicago), Vladimir Gevorgyan (UIC) and Viresh Rawal (University of Chicago), Milan Mrksich (University of Chicago), and Jie Liang (UIC). The $2 million Lever award matches a $9.2 million award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support the establishment and operation of the Chicago Tri-Institutional Center for Chemical Methods and Library Development (CTCMLD). The CTCMLD will provide significant new resources for biomedical research in the Chicago community and boost drug discovery efforts in the area by advancing high-throughput organic synthesis and integrating the production of new small-molecule libraries with broad biological screening. 
In order to achieve the maximum impact, the CTCMLD will feature a high degree of collaboration and synergy with several research programs at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and University of Illinois at Chicago.

Sergey Kozmin will serve as the director of the Center during the initial five-year period. The CTCMLD collaborative group will also include exceptional strength in organic synthesis, represented by Karl Scheidt, Hisashi Yamamoto, Vladimir Gevorgyan and Viresh Rawal, as well as the leading expertise in surface engineering of Milan Mrksich and cheminformatics of Jie Liang.

 The NIH award was made in September 2008.

CBC Lever Awards are matching grants made to inter-institutional groups that are submitting large-scale grant proposals. Lever Awards are primarily used to establish transformative infrastructure that can be made broadly available to the Chicago scientific community.

The CTCMLD represents a high-impact tri-institutional collaboration with projects to be headed by PIs from all three CBC member institutions. The CTCMLD Lever Award will support the following three key initiatives:

1. Enhancing the capabilities of the High-Throughput Synthesis component of the Core Facility of CTCMLD at University of Chicago, by establishing a professionally staffed facility with the state-of-the-art equipment for high-throughput synthesis, purification and analytical characterization of newly generated chemical libraries.

2. Establishing the Hit-to-Lead Development Resource of the CTCMLD at Northwestern University, which will provide unique support for innovative research at the interface of chemistry and biology in Chicago area.

3. Developing a Computational Cheminformatics Core at UIC, which will be used to guide production of small-molecule libraries with favorable physicochemical properties and will facilitate analysis of the compound screening data.

Once established with Lever Award funding, the core facilities will be available to researchers at all CBC institutions.