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Pharmacy school gets $10M biomedical research grant

OXFORD — The University of Mississippi and its School of Pharmacy have received a five-year, $10-million Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence, or COBRE, grant from the National Institutes of Health.

COBRE is one of the main components for NIH’s Institutional Development Award program, which is designed to broaden funding for biomedical and behavioral research.

The grant is for the second phase of UM’s center, the Center of Research Excellence in Natural Products Neuroscience, or CORE-NPN, which was first funded as a COBRE center in 2006. CORE-NPN’s mission is to bring together a number of researchers with complementary backgrounds and skills to conduct investigations related to effects of natural products on the central nervous system.

The Institutional Development Award program is divided into three phases, with each phase requiring a competitive renewal. Each phase is a five-year award. The first phase consists of developing research scientists as well as research cores in the CORE-NPN. The second phase includes scientists, but focuses on further developing research cores. The third phase focuses on self-sustainability for the centers.

Stephen J. Cutler, chair of the medicinal chemistry department, is the principal investigator for UM’s program.

“In Phase I, we developed promising lead drug candidates for managing drug addiction and conducted preliminary preclinical studies on novel drug delivery technologies,” Cutler said. “Phase II will allow us to move these drug candidates and drug delivery systems through additional preclinical studies. Ultimately, the goal is to commercialize these discoveries to improve human health.”

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