Title: “Lead Repurposing and Parasite Hopping as a Route Toward New Therapeutics for Tropical Diseases”
By Michael Pollastri
Organized by the Medicinal Chemistry Section
of the Northeastern Section, American Chemical Society (NESACS)
Thursday – April 21, 2022
Register for the April Webinar meeting at:
Biography: Dr. Michael Pollastri is serving as the Senior Vice Provost for Portland, where he leads the academic and research portfolio at the Roux Institute. Mike worked at Pfizer in hit-to-lead medicinal chemistry for nearly ten years. In 2007 he joined Boston University, where he led the establishment of the Center for Molecular Discovery, a resource focused on high-throughput screening and medicinal chemistry optimization capabilities. In 2009, he joined the faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Northeastern University and rose to the rank of full professor in 2017. He served as department chair, and then as interim dean of the College of Science until moving to the Roux Institute at Northeastern University in June 2020. His research is focused on discovery of new therapeutics for neglected tropical diseases. Dr. Pollastri earned his bachelor’s degree from the College of the Holy Cross, a master’s degree from Duke University, and his doctorate from Brown University.
Abstract: Many current therapies for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) have significant shortcomings and are often highly toxic, yet improved drugs are slow to be developed as there is no financial incentive to do so. Recognizing the financial pressures inherent in NTD drug discovery, we utilize a method for repurposing classes of established inhibitors of enzymes and pathways in humans as starting points for inhibitor discovery for the pathogens that cause NTDs. Our efforts in deploying this approach, which we call “Lead Repurposing,” will be described, highlighting progress made in multiple chemotypes to identify potent, non-toxic, in vivo efficacious lead compound for several protozoan pathogens. Our implementation of a ‘distributed drug discovery’ network that involves investigators from industry, academia, and government laboratories will also be highlighted.