Associate Research Professor
Unit: Drug Discovery and Development
Harrison College of Pharmacy
347 Pharmacy Research Building
Auburn, AL 36849
1990: Instructor, Department of Industrial Ecology, Moscow Institute of Chemical Technology, Moscow, Russia
1996-97: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, New Hampshire
1997-98: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Southern Research Institute, Birmingham, Alabama
1999-2000: Research Pharmacologist II, Southern Research Institute, Birmingham, Alabama
2000-02: Research Pharmacologist III, Southern Research Institute, Birmingham, Alabama
2002-04: Senior Research Pharmacologist, Southern Research Institute, Birmingham, Alabama
2001-10: Manager, Chemotherapy and Chemoprevention Group, Southern Research Institute, Birmingham, Alabama
2010-13: Manager, In Vivo Therapeutics Group, Southern Research Institute, Birmingham, Alabama
2014-15: Director, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Biscayne Pharmaceuticals, Miami, Florida
2016-19: Associate Professor of Oncologic Sciences, University of South Alabama Mitchell Cancer Institute, Mobile, Alabama
2019-21: Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Department of Pharmacology, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama
2021-present: Associate Research Professor, Department of Drug Discovery and Development, Auburn University Harrison College of Pharmacy, Auburn, Alabama
Novel inhibitor for oncogenic RAS for lung cancer
Funder: NIH/NCI 1R01CA254197-01
Description: The long-term goals are to better understand mechanism of action, identify a drug development candidate for IND-enabling safety assessment and establish a mechanistic rationale to select patients for clinical trials based on activated RAS levels.
Scored in 2nd percentile
Novel sulindac derivatives targeting cGMP signaling to enhance cancer immunotherapy
Funder: NIH/NCI 1 R01CA238514-01
Description: This proposal will synthesize and characterize a novel series of non-COX inhibitory sulindac derivatives using prototype derivatives that target PDE5 and/or PDE10, while optimizing drug-like properties to increase systemic exposure.
Phosphodiesterase 10A, a novel target for lung cancer chemoprevention
Funder: NIH/NCI 5 R01 CA197147-04
Description: This project will synthesize and design a novel group of sulindac derivatives relating to a drug development candidate, MCI-048, that contain a methyl-pyrrolidene substitution for lung cancer by targeting phosphodiesterase 10 and to evaluate their efficacy, safety, and mechanism of action using in vitro and in vivo models. Additional aims are to study the involvement of PDE10 in lung tumorigenesis and to study additional analogs.
A Novel Non-COX inhibitory Sulindac Derivative for Colorectal Cancer Chemoprevention with Selective PDE10 and Wnt/β-Catenin Inhibitory Activity
Funder: NIH via Fox Chase Cancer Center
Role: Sub-contract Co-Investigator
Description: Use a panel of biomarkers to assess chemopreventive activity of a novel PDE10 inhibitor.
A Novel beta-Catenin Blocker That Activates Antitumor Immunity For Breast Cancer
Funder: Breast Cancer Research Foundation Alabama
Description: The purpose of this project is to evaluate a novel PDE10 inhibitor for breast cancer in a mouse model of metastatic disease.
I have a broad background in pharmacology and toxicology with expertise in drug discovery and development of anticancer compounds and cancer chemoprevention research. I started my career at Southern Research Institute (Birmingham, AL) and over the next 16 years I was responsible for scientific oversight for all in vivo anticancer testing performed at the institute on a contract basis (300+ studies annually). I was involved in establishment and in vivo propagation of a collection of over 80 human (both cell and patient-derived) and mouse tumor xenograft models and management of animal and formulation laboratories.
I provided guidance and served as a study director on over 1,100 in vivo pharmacology studies to advance drug candidates (discovered in-house and for commercial sponsors) into clinical development with 4 candidates subsequently receiving the FDA approval [Halaven® (for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer), Nexavar® (for the treatment of hepatocellular and renal cell carcinoma), Clolar® (for the treatment of pediatric refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia), and Tysabri® (for the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis)].
Next, at Biscayne Pharmaceuticals Inc. I lead the preclinical development of the company’s lead anticancer compound discovered by Dr. Andrew V. Schally, a Nobel Prize laureate and pioneering endocrine drug developer. I was responsible for directing preclinical CROs in the conduct of the IND-directed studies (including efficacy, safety toxicology, pharmacokinetics, and bioanalytical studies. Once I entered academia, first at the University of South Alabama and now at Harrison College of Pharmacy, I was responsible for the design, formulation, conduct, data analysis, and review of all animal studies to support the efforts of Drs. Piazza, Keeton, and Chen to develop RAS and PDE10 inhibitors for the treatment of cancer
Preclinical drug development