The Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology was established in 1994 to provide educational and research opportunities in the areas of biotechnology, drug discovery, and basic life sciences. The Center has grown to include a core group of six faculty and another six affiliate faculty, with additional recruitments underway. The Center has also developed successful affiliations across multiple departments and colleges, and is now a cross-disciplinary unit.
The Center faculty employ a wide diversity of approaches in their research, including Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Cell and Molecular Biology, Computational Biology & Chemistry, Crystallography, Genomics, Microbiology, Pharmacology, and Proteomics. However, the unifying direction for the Center is the interaction of small (drug) molecules with cellular targets, and new drug discovery. The results of studies carried out in the Center have been reflected in numerous publications that appear in high-profile journals, and are periodically highlighted in mass media.
The Center offers excellent opportunities for research and training. Research in the Center is supported by a number of grants from the major funding agencies. One of the largest grants ever recieved by UIC is under the direction of Dr. Michael Johnson, Professor and Director of the Center, along with several of the Center Faculty and other Researchers within the University. This 5-year, $15.7 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (National Institutes of Health) was awarded in 2003 to develop new antibiotics to treat and prevent anthrax infection. Another large ($8 million) grant was awarded for the project focused on development of therapeutics for SARS. Various grants from NIH, NSF, and other major agencies support work in individual laboratories in the Center. In addition, research in the Center is supported through research grants and collaboration with various pharmaceutical companies, including Abbott Laboratories, Lybradyn, Inc., Pfizer, Protez Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Cempra Pharmaceuticals. We are proud to have achieved a record level of funding over the past decade.
Center faculty are members of Advisory Boards of several biotechnology companies, and participate in review committees for the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, American Heart Association, Wellcome Trust, Human Frontier Science Program, and other agencies.
Center faculty, staff, and students participate in collaborations with colleagues at UIC and many other institutions, including Loyola University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, Department of Defense, Mayo Clinic, University of California Santa Cruz, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute, Purdue University, Scripps Research Institute, Institut Pasteur in Paris, University of Paris and the Universidad de Zaragoza in Spain.
The graduates from the Biotechnology track Graduate Program, run by the Center, pursue their scientific careers in major Universities in the US and abroad, and in the Pharmaceutical industry.