Pharmacy: Medicinal Chemistry & Drug Discovery

An Overview of the Drug Development Process

At a Glance:


Course Prerequisites: Some prior knowledge of Chemistry

Session Offered:

  • Session 3: July 12th - July 18th

Location: UConn Storrs Campus

Supplemental Lab Fee: $50.00

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How will you make a difference? The ever-expanding pharmaceutical field holds an abundance of opportunities for students to contribute to the development of life-changing medicines. The UConn Pre-College Summer course in Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery provides students with an overview of the entire drug development process.

We will start with how pharmaceutical companies determine what disease they want to target and work our way through the entire discovery process over the one-week course, ending with post-approval monitoring by the FDA. Students will also:

  • Tour laboratory facilities at UConn dedicated to drug development
  • Learn about the application and use of specific instruments on campus
  • Perform in-lab experiments designed to introduce students to several different aspects of drug design and development.

Science is rooted in questions, and in this course we will answer a variety of specific questions, including the following:

  • Lead compounds – what are they and where do they come from?
  • What is medicinal chemistry and how is it used in the drug discovery process?
  • What animal tests are required before a drug can be given to humans?
  • What are drug-drug and drug-food interactions?
  • What are clinical trials and how do they work?

Much of our discussion on these topics will revolve around the development of currently used drugs such as Lipitor (high cholesterol), Januvia (type II diabetes), and Harvoni (hepatitis C).

Note: To be eligible to enroll in Medicinal Chemistry & Drug Discovery, students need to have some chemistry background.

Faculty: Kyle Hadden, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry within the University of Connecticut's School of Pharmacy. Dr. Hadden is a valued member of the UConn community as both a teacher and the Principal Investigator of the Hadden Research Lab. While at UConn, he has received numerous awards such as the American Cancer Society Research Scholar award, the Child Health Research Award from the Charles H. Hood Foundation, and the V Scholar Award from the V Foundation for Cancer Research. Dr. Hadden's main research interests are the early stage development of small molecules as anti-cancer drugs targeting a variety of different cellular proteins.

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