CLP Institute serves as host to four University Research Centers where researchers from different disciplines coalesce into teams dedicated to better understanding the molecular underpinnings of life and applying that knowledge to the development of new and better ways to detect, treat and diagnose disease. Each center makes available to the broader research community core facilities that serve researchers from three colleges and members of over twenty academic departments as well as scores of users from industry and other academic research institutions.
Researchers in the Chicago Region Physical Sciences-Oncology Center, led by CLP Director Thomas O’Halloran, are developing a powerful new interdisciplinary approach to cancer that couples the strengths of chemistry, engineering, and physics with molecular biology and medicine to determine the fundamental physical and chemical changes underlying cancer cell behavior. This new knowledge has become the foundation for a radically new approach to cancer treatment and early diagnosis.
Center for Molecular Innovation and Drug Discovery
Karl Scheidt, the Dow Chemical Research professor of chemistry, leads the Center for Molecular Innovation and Drug Discovery. CMIDD advances collaborative research using molecular science to identify new medically relevant targets, interrogate new targets and biological pathways, and bridge the gap between basic and clinical research. CMIDD is focused on creating new knowldge in the area of therapeutic science, training next generation experts in medicinal chemistry, chemical biology and drug discovery and producing innovative technologies that pave the way for future clinical treatments.
Under Scheidt’s guidance, CMIDD created the core facility ChemCore that provides quality medicinal and computational chemistry services to researchers interested in creating and using new molecular entities as probes or therapeutic agents. ChemCore has ranked in top 10% of 50+ university core facilities for its outstanding administration, resource management and overall performance. The core facility is also a key component of the Lurie Cancer Center.The Center’s accomplishments include identification of the first small molecules to display behavior against the CXCR4 receptor, a chemokine receptor that mediates HIV infection, which is enabling new basic and translational research for this drug target; discovery of the role of the MAP2K4 protein as a critical mediator of metastasis in prostate cancer; and ongoing efforts to develop inhibitors that could lead to first generation anti-metastatic agents. In addition, CMIDD scientists are working with neurology collaborators to develop new antidepressants. CMIDD has generated more than 30 new grant awards worth ca. $7 million, published 46 papers, filed 20 invention disclosures and 15 provisional patent applications, generated 9 patents, and led to 4 spin-off companies.
Northwestern Proteomics, led by Neil Kelleher, Walter and Mary E. Glass Professor of Molecular Biosciences, is a juggernaut for team science with collaborations extending to more than 100 investigators across both campuses. It is the only research center in the world that is devoted primarily to top-down proteomics. This powerful, but challenging technique allows researchers to investigate intact proteoforms without prior digestion into peptides. This shift in approach propels a variety of national interests in technology development, systems biology, and clinical/translational proteomics.
Committed to disseminating these new proteomics methods and hands-on training for diverse laboratories and scientists, the center built and manages the Proteomics Core Facility that leads the region in providing top-down proteomics services to academic groups and corporations worldwide. Northwestern Proteomics has generated more than $15 million in funding, spun out three companies and generated over 150 papers.
The Center for Developmental Therapeutics (CDT) focuses on assisting faculty develop and advance a robust pipeline of promising therapeutic and diagnostic agents. The Center’s staff provide access to novel models of disease progression as well as expertise in translation and commercialization. This Center was developed in CLP under the guidance of Andrew Mazer, CLP’s first Entrepreneur-in-Residence, and Tom O’Halloran with a threefold mission to provide expertise in animal models of disease and accelerate the translation of basic science discoveries into new therapies or diagnostic methods/devices; train students and faculty in preclinical and clinical drug development; and provide the expertise, advice and networking needed by faculty and students interested in creating new companies or partnerships required for commercialization of their discoveries.
CDT has achieved major impacts on translation drug and diagnostic development at Northwestern through its Entrepreneur-in-Residence program and investor conferences that introduce the business community to faculty innovations, and Developmental Therapeutics Core for preclinical testing of potential therapeutic compounds, diagnostics and devices. Its operational core, the Developmental Therapeutics Core, provides an array of in vivo models, performs toxicity studies in small mammals, and provides access to a broad repository of novel patient-derived xenograft (PDX) tumor models created by CDT researchers in collaboration with the Lurie Cancer Center. The Center has 7 patents and applications on file and has helped spin out 5 companies. The Center collaborates with more than 50 faculty across the university on projects ranging from developing new implantable devices to testing potential chemotherapies. CDT research staff have participated in more than 40 grant applications that have led to more than $20 million in new external funding to date.
Download Overview of CPL-Affiliated Centers and Cores PDF.