The Institute’s vision for 21st century science emerges from complementary strengths in drug discovery and development, preclinical imaging, proteomics, cell free synthesis, physiochemical analysis, and nanoscale imaging. The next waves of technology for early detection and treatment of a broad array of diseases will arise from this multi-pronged attack.

Researchers in the Chicago Region Physical Sciences-Oncology Center, led by 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.

Karl Scheidt, the Dow Chemical Research professor of chemistry, leads the Center for Molecular Innovation and Drug Discovery, which provides the synthetic chemistry expertise needed by life sciences investigators to transform basic scientific discoveries into promising therapeutic candidates. 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.

Northwestern Proteomics, led by Neil Kelleher, is developing an NIH-funded national resource dedicated to accelerating a significant shift in the approach to protein analysis by mass spectrometry, from indirect measurements of protein fragments to direct measurement of intact proteins. This shift in approach propels a variety of national interests in technology development, systems biology, and clinical/translational proteomics.  They are committed to disseminating these new proteomics methods and hands-on training for diverse laboratories and scientists.

In 2010 CLP established the first academic Entrepreneur-In-Residence (EIR) program, which has had a powerful effect across the University on the development and success of new translational research programs. Working closely with Innovation and New Ventures Office INVO, Dr. Andrew Mazar, CLP’s first EIR, catalyzed a new era of collaboration between the basic and clinical sciences.

Mazar, in collaboration with Thomas O’Halloran, created the Center for Developmental Therapeutics, which focuses on preclinical development of new drugs and diagnostics. CDT researchers partner with investigators across the university to develop preclinical models of disease and perform the early stage testing of potential therapeutics and diagnostics in cell, organ and animal models that is required prior to the start of clinical trials in humans.



Center for Developmental Therapeutics

Project management and consulting services for therapeutic translational projects. The Center works in collaboration with the Innovations and New Ventures Office to facilitate commercialization of therapeutic technologies.

Center for Molecular Innovation & Drug Discovery

Collaborative research platform and educational opportunities that integrate biologists and chemists to enhance interdisciplinary drug discovery research.

Chicago Region Physical Sciences-Oncology Center

Multi-investigator team science intiative organized around the conceptual framework that addresses the spatio-temporal organization of chromation and the information transfer in cancer.

Northwestern Proteomics

Develops and applies tools to analyze proteins using mass spectrometry. The Center focuses on the continuous innovation of technology to meet growing demands for analysis of proteins, specializing in intact protein analysis; while handling multiple projects large and small.

The Cornew Innovation Fund is a pilot project program intended to support potentially high value, high risk research at the juncture of multiple disciplines.

The Cornew Fund has not only led to more than $14M new federal funding but has led to the development of a new class of therapeutics for treating Alzheimer’s disease, new surgical glues, and surprising new insights into the earliest stages of fertilization and embryonic development.

The expectation is that these monies will be spent within one year of receipt and that the awardees will submit a brief report on the work performed for inclusion in the Annual Report of the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute. Awards are made possible through the philanthropy of the CLP Executive Advisory Board, typically on an annual basis with applications solicited in advance of the annual fall board meeting.

Click here for list of awardees.