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NESACS Meeting – Esselen Award – April 2024

April 12 @ 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Professor Richard B. Silverman

2024 Esselen Award Ceremony Honoring Professor Richard B. Silverman

Friday, April 12, 2024

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Harvard Faculty Club, 20 Quincy St.

NESACS Honors the 2024 Gustavus J. Esselen Awardee, Professor Richard B. Silverman, Followed by the Presentation of the Esselen Address

Professor Richard B. Silverman

Professor Richard B. Silverman

This meeting will feature Professor Richard B. Silverman, Patrick G. Ryan/Aon Professor; Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Molecular Biosciences, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; and Professor of Pharmacology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, as our speaker and awardee. He will receive the Gustavus J. Esselen Award for Chemistry in the Public Interest for his work to advance the synthesis and evaluation of a variety of enzyme inhibitors and protein aggregation inhibitors, particularly related to neurodegenerative and neurological diseases and cancer.

THE PUBLIC IS INVITED – RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED

Link to register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2024-esselen-award-ceremony-honoring-professor-richard-b-silverman-tickets-858954505047

This is a black tie optional event.

Schedule of Events

4:30 PM Board Meeting

5:30 PM Social Hour

6:30 PM Dinner

8:00 PM Award Meeting and Presentation of the Gustavus J. Esselen Award for Chemistry in the Public Interest to Professor Richard B. Silverman

Professor Silverman’s talk:

“Inhibition of Protein Aggregation and the Development of NU-9 for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases

Abstract: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating neurodegenerative disease in which the motor neuron circuitry progressively degenerates, affecting mostly motor neurons in the brain (upper motor neurons) and spinal cord (lower motor neurons). There are no effective cures, although four drugs, riluzole, edaravone, AMX0035, and tofersen have been FDA approved, but with limited improvement in patients. Death generally occurs within 2-5 years from disease diagnosis. About 10% of patients have familial ALS (hereditary; fALS) and the remainder have sporadic ALS (sALS) with no known genetic cause. Greater than 150 gene mutations have been identified in fALS.

Protein aggregation is a hallmark of all neurodegenerative diseases. We carried out a phenotypic high-throughput screen to identify compounds that inhibited protein aggregation caused by mutation of the sod1 gene, which leads to ALS in about 2% of ALS patients. Screen hits were filtered computationally, and three hit series were optimized.

In this lecture, I will discuss the development of two of these lead series, leading to two advanced compounds, for which one we have identified its target and the other, called NU-9, has been subjected to numerous preclinical studies related to efficacy, pharmacokinetics, and toxicology; the IND application for NU-9 to begin clinical trials has been approved by the FDA. The standard mouse model is used to show life extension by compound treatment; however, there is no translation from success in this mouse model and in patients. Therefore, we have taken a different approach, one that interogates the effectiveness of compounds to improve the health of upper motor neurons in mouse models, which degenerate very early in ALS; consequently, we anticipate mouse results should translate to patient efficacy. Preclinical results with NU-9 toward the treatment of ALS and Alzheimer’s disease will be presented.

Biography: Richard B. Silverman, Ph.D. Patrick G. Ryan/Aon Professor; Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Molecular Biosciences, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; and Professor of Pharmacology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Over the last 47 years at Northwestern he has developed numerous projects related to the synthesis and evaluation of a variety of enzyme inhibitors and protein aggregation inhibitors, particularly related to neurodegenerative and neurological diseases and cancer. One of the projects was highly successful: he is the inventor of Lyrica™, a blockbuster drug marketed by Pfizer for fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain, and epilepsy.

Silverman has invented a GABA aminotransferase inactivator that completed a Phase I clinical trial showing no adverse effects and is currently being used successfully to treat a child with infantile spasms and a second GABA aminotransferase inactivator currently in Phase I clinical trials for tuberous sclerosis; inhibitors of protein aggregation and toxicity in an ALS mouse model that stabilize upper motor neurons, recently approved by the FDA for clinical trials; selective inhibitors of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) for neurodegenerative diseases and melanoma; and inactivators of ornithine aminotransferase for hepatocellular carcinoma.

Silverman is the author or co-author of over 400 publications and holds 130 published patents to date. The third edition of his textbook, The Organic Chemistry of Drug Design and Drug Action, was published by Elsevier/Academic Press in 2014. He has received many awards in the last 10 years, including Esselen Award for Chemistry in the Public Interest 2024; Abeles and Jencks Award for the Chemistry of Biological Processes 2024; Member of the National Academy of Sciences 2023; Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Organic Chemistry 2021; Creative Invention Award of the American Chemical Society (ACS) 2017; Fellow, American Academy of Arts & Sciences 2014; Fellow, National Academy of Inventors 2014; Northwestern University Trustee Medal for Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship 2014; Medicinal Chemistry Prize of the Israel Chemical Society 2014.

Please visit https://www.nesacs.org/award/gustavus-john-esselen-award/ for more information on the selection process, the history of the Award and the life and career of Gustavus John Esselen, as well as past winners.

NESACS would like to thank the chair of the Gustavus John Esselen Award Committee of NESACS, Dr. John Macor, the Esselen Family, and Ms. Jeananne Piper Grady for her skillful organization of arrangements for, and invitations to this event.

The deadline for registering for dinner is 4:00 PM, Friday, April 5, 2024.

Registration or other questions? Please contact: admin@nesacs.org

Transportation and Parking?

MBTA closest stop is Harvard Square, with many bus lines (1, 68, 83) providing access via Mass Ave. or Broadway. Please visit www.mbta.com

Parking is available in the Broadway Street garage (3rd level or higher); enter from Felton St. via Cambridge St. Please mention the event for parking at no charge to you.

There is street parking around Harvard Square, but the 2 hour time limit might not be enough for the dinner or the meeting.

Organizer

Esselen Award Committee
View Organizer Website

Venue

Harvard University – Harvard Faculty Club
20 Quincy St.
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States
+ Google Map
Phone
(617) 495-5758
View Venue Website

Organizer

Esselen Award Committee
View Organizer Website

Venue

Harvard University – Harvard Faculty Club
20 Quincy St.
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States
+ Google Map
Phone
(617) 495-5758
View Venue Website