Brian Paegel, UCI professor of pharmaceutical sciences

The National Institutes of Health has granted $2 million to researchers in UCI’s School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences. The new Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award will fund drug discovery technology development in the laboratory of Brian Paegel, UCI professor of pharmaceutical sciences. “The NIH has generously supported my laboratory over the years in reaction miniaturization and automated, high-speed chemical analysis,” Paegel said. “The MIRA will allow us to explore high-risk approaches that circumvent the canonical rules of druggability. Instead of targeting mature proteins in the cell, the modus operandi of drug discovery, we are engineering cutting-edge chemical and analytical tools to find molecules that control the process of protein synthesis itself.” Paegel’s collaborators include RNA chemical biologist Robert Spitale, another UCI professor of pharmaceutical sciences; and ribosome structural biologist Jamie Cate, UC Berkeley professor of chemistry. The highly interdisciplinary project – involving instrumentation engineering, molecular and cellular biology, polymer chemistry, chemical synthesis and informatics – is the latest example of intensifying convergent science initiatives at UCI.