April 15, 2010

Lindsley lands award for translational pharmacology

Lindsley lands award for translational pharmacology

Craig Lindsley, Ph.D., has received a 2010 ASPET-Astellas Award in Translational Pharmacology from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET).

The award recognizes pharmacologic research that bridges the divide between basic science discoveries and applications that improve human health.

Craig Lindsley, Ph.D.

Craig Lindsley, Ph.D.

“This is a great honor to be among some of the most outstanding pharmacologists who have previously received this award,” said Lindsley, professor of Pharmacology and Chemistry.

As director of Medicinal Chemistry for the Vanderbilt Program in Drug Discovery and of the Vanderbilt Specialized Chemistry Center — part of the Molecular Libraries Probe Production Centers Network, Lindsley oversees the chemical synthesis of compounds that could become new medicines.

“For a medicinal chemist to receive the ASPET-Astellas Award in Translational Pharmacology shows how ASPET views the critical contributions of ligand design and the development of novel small molecules to enable and advance translational science.”

Lindsley came to Vanderbilt in 2006 from Merck Research Laboratories, where he led the Technology Enabled Synthesis Group within the Medicinal Chemistry department.

At Merck, he pioneered novel approaches that changed the company's approach to medicinal chemistry and impacted all of its therapeutic areas.
He is recognized for bringing technology-enabled synthesis to the forefront of drug discovery and medicinal chemistry.

Lindsley is a pioneer in the discovery of compounds that interact with cellular receptors in a new way.

Rather than turning a receptor “on” or “off” (which is what traditional pharmaceuticals usually do), these compounds — called allosteric modulators — “tune” the protein's function up or down, like a dimmer switch.

He and his colleagues have discovered allosteric modulators that are promising candidates for treating cancer, schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and fragile X syndrome.

They are now working to chemically optimize the compounds so that they can be advanced as drugs.

Lindsley will receive the $30,000 award on April 24 at ASPET's annual meeting. Other recipients of the 2010 ASPET-Astellas Award in Translational Pharmacology include: Kenneth Tew, Ph.D., of the Medical University of South Carolina, and Gonzalo Torres, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh.

The Astellas Foundation funds the awards.