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Lindsley’s drug discovery efforts land ASPET Award

Jan. 12, 2017, 10:24 AM

Craig Lindsley, Ph.D., a leader of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine’s groundbreaking drug discovery program, is the 2017 recipient of the Pharmacia-ASPET Award in Experimental Therapeutics from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET).

Craig Lindsley, Ph.D.
Craig Lindsley, Ph.D.

In a news release, ASPET said Lindsley was honored for “his pioneering use of technology-enabled synthesis, which led to fundamental and transforming effects on medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, and drug discovery.” The award will be presented April 22 during ASPET’s annual meeting in Chicago.

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized again by ASPET for the work our team is doing at Vanderbilt,” said Lindsley, director of medicine chemistry and co-director of the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery (VCNDD) and the recipient of two previous ASPET awards.

“This award represents efforts and achievements by the entire VCNDD, and highlights the translational impact of big team science and academic drug discovery,” he said.

Lindsley is the William K. Warren Jr. Professor of Medicine and professor of Pharmacology and Chemistry. He is the fourth Vanderbilt scientist to win the Pharmacia-ASPET Award, which has been given annually since 1969.

The others are John Oates, M.D., the Thomas F. Frist Sr. Professor of Medicine, VCNDD Director P. Jeffrey Conn, Ph.D., the Lee E. Limbird Professor of Pharmacology, and L. Jackson Roberts II, M.D., the William Stokes Professor of Experimental Therapeutics.

Lindsley earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and pursued postdoctoral studies at Harvard University. In 2001, he joined the Medicinal Chemistry Department at Merck & Co. in West Point, Pa., where he developed technology-enabled synthesis techniques for accelerating discovery of potential new drugs.

In 2006, Lindsley came to Vanderbilt, where he continues to pioneer the discovery and development of selective allosteric modulators, drugs that can adjust the activity of receptors in the brain, and which could lead to new treatments for disorders as diverse as Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.

He also has contributed to the development of the first selective inhibitors of the enzyme phospholipase D, which could represent a new class of drugs for treating cancer.

Lindsley and his colleagues recently were notified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that testing in humans may proceed for an investigational new drug for Alzheimer’s disease they have been working on for more than a decade.

He is founding editor-in-chief of the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience, and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His previous ASPET honors include the John J. Abel Award in Pharmacology for young investigators, and the ASPET-Astellas Award in Translational Pharmacology.

ASPET is one of the world’s largest scientific societies with 5,000 members focused on drug discovery and clinical pharmacology.

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