Our History

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For the millions of people around the world living with disease, the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute at Northwestern University offers new hope. From landmark Alzheimer’s studies to new treatments for pediatric leukemia, epilepsy, cardiovascular disease and addiction, our members are dedicated to advancing human health.

Inspired by the work of Richard Silverman, who developed pregabalin, the chemical that became Lyrica™, the blockbuster drug that was the first approved treatment for fibromyalgia and diabetic neuropathy, CLP Institute catalyzes early therapeutic discoveries and shepherds them through research and development to reach patients sooner. Development of Lyrica™, the most financially successful drug ever to have come from a US academic institution, took 16 years before it was available in the US. CLP Institute was formed to lower the barriers to success and shrink the time it takes to develop and delivery new diagnostic tools and therapeutics to society.

The Institute was created in 2005 as an outcome of the 2005-2010 Northwestern strategic planning process to stimulate interdisciplinary biomedical research across all of Northwestern’ s colleges, schools and hospitals. The Institute began programming in 2009 when its new home, The Richard and Barbara Silverman Hall of Molecular Therapeutics and Diagnostics, opened its doors. Since its inception, the Institute has grown from a founding group of six faculty members, one staff person, and limited research support to more than 60 tenure-track faculty, 14 research faculty, 15 administrative staff, and 55 technical staff and research associates.

A fundamental element of the Institute’s mission is to stimulate new centers of excellence and core facilities that will lower the barriers to cross-disciplinary collaboration and accelerate innovation and translation. Three interdisciplinary University Research Centers are affiliated with the Institute:

  • Northwestern Proteomics
  • Center for Molecular Innovation and Drug Discovery
  • Center for Developmental Therapeutics

These Centers deploy administrative and technical staff, receive an operating budget from the Office for Research, and occupy discrete space. The Institute also stimulates formation of externally funded centers, such as the NCI-funded Physical Sciences-Oncology Center, and develops new multi-investigator research programs aligned with the strengths and interests of Institute investigators.

CLP faculty develop new technology platforms that provide the biomedical research community with broad access to technology and expertise that accelerates research across the university.  Once these platforms are mature they are embedded within the Institute’s eight shared resource facilities or become the foundation for a new core facility.