Concordia University

Conférenciers invités

Dr. Timothy Geary

Professeur et Directeur, Institut de parasitologie
Université McGill

Drug Discovery for Neglected Tropical Diseases:
Reversing the Equation

Infections of humans by parasitic helminths once were global in incidence. More than a billion people still serve as hosts to these worms, almost all of them living in developing nations. These Neglected Tropical Diseases cause significant morbidity, contributing to the cycle of poverty which constrains development in resource-limited regions. Medicines to treat these infections have generally been adopted from veterinary use (for livestock and companion animals) and have not been optimized for humans. Several are donated by Western pharmaceutical companies for use in humans in Africa and elsewhere. An alternative approach is to foster innovation systems that enable scientists living in areas most affected by these diseases to assume leadership roles in the search for new and better medicines to treat them.

This lecture introduces parasitic diseases of poverty and describes a novel drug discovery process that was implemented in South Africa and Botswana, focused on identifying high-value antiparasitic drug candidates in collections of chemicals purified from African sources. Changing the way in which drugs are provided to regions of poverty requires the strengthening of scientific capacity as well as the development of new ways of thinking about intellectual property and the requirement for local leadership. Integrating multiple levels of drug discovery and development in this context is an unfinished story with significant challenges and great potential.

Dr Timothy Geary

Timothy Geary obtained his PhD in 1980 from the University of Michigan (Pharmacology). From 1980-1985, he was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Assistant Professor in malaria research at Michigan State University. From 1985 to 2005, he was a research scientist in the veterinary parasitology group at the Upjohn Company (Pharmacia, then Pfizer) in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In 2005, Tim joined McGill University as a Tier I Canada Research Chair and Professor in the Institute of Parasitology, and became its Director in 2007. He has received many awards from parasitology societies, is on the editorial boards of 7 scientific journals and has published some 225 articles and book chapters.  He consults for many pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies on antiparasitic drug discovery and development and for non-profit organizations, including the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation. His current research interests lie in the analysis of mechanisms of drug action and resistance and on the identification of miRNAs, metabolites and proteins used by nematode parasites to influence host immune response.

Dr. Tomislav Friščić

Professeur Associé, Départment de chimie
Université McGill

Chemistry 2.0

Rapid consumption of feedstocks, coupled with a massive impact of chemical manufacturing on the environment, has greatly increased the interest and awareness of chemists in the development of cleaner, safer and more efficient chemical methodologies. A major concern are solvents, that are globally used in excess of 30 million tons and largely end in toxic waste. As chemistry is unimaginable without solvents, addressing this problem requires a re-examination of a fundamental principle of how chemistry is performed. Over the past decade mechanochemistry, i.e. reactions induced by milling or grinding,1 has been applied with great success to a wide range of systems, from organic and inorganic synthesis, to organometallics, functional materials (metal-organic frameworks, pharmaceutical cocrystals) and nanomaterials.

Tomislav Friščić

Image: Jean-Louis Do, Concordia University and McGill University

While mechanochemistry offers a general route to conduct chemistry without bulk solvents, it also provides a means to discover reactions and synthesize targets that are difficult or even considered impossible to make from solution. It appears that mechanochemistry and related solvent-free methods could provide access to Chemistry 2.0: the cleaner, safer and more efficient chemistry sought by modern chemists.2

1. Do, Friščić ACS Centr. Sci. 2017, 3, 13.
2. Do, Friščić Synlett. 2017, 28, 2066.

Dr Tomislav Friščić

Tomislav Friščić is an Associate Professor at McGill University. He received his B.Sc. at the University of Zagreb with Branko Kaitner, followed by a Ph.D. with Len MacGillivray at the University of Iowa. He was a post-doctoral associate with William Jones and a Herchel Smith Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge. His group is developing solid-state catalytic and self-assembly methodologies in diverse areas of organic, metal-organic, pharmaceutical and materials synthesis. He has co-authored >150 research and review articles and was awarded the 2011 RSC Harrison-Meldola Medal. In 2013 he joined the Editorial Board of CrystEngComm and is an Associate Editor for Molecular Crystals & Liquid Crystals and is the Social Media Editor for Crystal Growth & Design. He also serves as the Canadian representative in the American Crystallographic Association (ACA) and is the vice-chair of the Canadian National Committee for Crystallography (CNCC).

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