The Moulder Center for Drug Discovery will research new drugs, causes and cures for diseases.
Temple is now one of only a few schools in the Northeast with a fully integrated center for researching and developing new drugs.
The new Moulder Center for Drug Discovery Research at Temple will work closely with drug companies and laboratories to establish new medicines and to research causes and cures for significant diseases like cancer.
“We basically have a center for new drug discovery. We can do a search for a drug or disease from the beginning,” School of Pharmacy Associate Dean Magid Abou-Gharbia said.
“We started with the central nervous system. We are now on to lipid- and cholesterol-lowering drugs, and we are expanding to cancer research,” Abou-Gharbia said.
The Moulder Center is the combined effort of various faculty and staff members, primarily Abou-Gharbia. He said the lab wouldn’t be possible without a generous gift by pharmacy alumni Lonnie and Sharon Moulder, for whom the center is named.
The vision began in 2008 when Abou-Gharbia established a small drug discovery center at the school of pharmacy. It quickly garnered attention and received two grants from the National Institute for Health.
Abou-Gharbia petitioned the school for more funding and was awarded a substantial amount. He said he believes Temple’s president and the Board of Trustees saw the immediate potential.
“When you look at the tri-state area, there’s no academic institution that has a fully integrated drug discovery center,” Abou-Gharbia said.
Abou-Gharbia, who has a history in international pharmaceuticals, spent 26 years at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and holds more than 350 patents worldwide.
“To take biological molecules in the body, such as enzymes, and to capitalize on that information in order to come up with a new drug is primarily done in a company, not at an academic program like Moulder,” he said.
The center is grabbing overseas attention and has international scientists working in the lab to learn about the new equipment and developments.
Siva Annadurai is a graduate student who works on a collaboration project at the Moulder Center. He is an aspiring chemist who is eager to work in the lab.
“I get to interact with scientists at the Moulder Center. These scientists have considerable industrial experience, which they share, and give the industry perspective of drug discovery,” Annadurai said.
Annadurai said he believes the lab is an enormous opportunity for Temple students.
“I think the Moulder Center could be of immense benefit to students who are interested in learning the process of drug discovery. They can get to interact with scientists who have been part of drug discovery groups,” he said. “Temple students can understand the importance of a medicinal chemist in the drug discovery paradigm.”
Matt Finn can be reached at email@example.com.