Research Programs/Student Opportunities
Proteomics is the study of structure and function of proteins in a large scale. For any living organism, proteins are considered to be a vital part because of its role in metabolic pathways of cells. These proteins not only play a role in physiological condition of the cell but also in altered manner during pathologic conditions. Our Master of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MPS) program capitalizes on the value of proteomics to identify untracked disease targets as well as expediting the drug development pipeline using our unique in-house combinatorial source of natural and chemical compound libraries. MPS students will be engaged in research projects using advanced proteomics technology to accelerate fundamental research as well as pre-clinical trial processes while identifying new and long lasting therapeutic treatments. Ongoing MPS Proteomics research includes but not limited to identifying novel disease targets in prostate cancer, type 2 diabetes and hepatitis B virus (HBV).
Metabolic Diseases Research
Metabolic diseases are any diseases or disorders that disrupt normal metabolism, which is the process of converting food to energy on a cellular level. Metabolic diseases affect the ability of the cell to perform critical biochemical reactions that involve the processing or transport of proteins, carbohydrates, or lipids. The MPS program provides hands-on research opportunities using advanced molecular biology approaches to identify and develop effective, precise and more potent therapy against most common metabolic diseases, with a special focus on diabetes and cardiovascular-related diseases, using the MPS core unique source of library compounds for novel drug discovery targets.
Antiviral Drug Discovery Research
Viral diseases are an ongoing major health burden across the globe, however there are quite limited options of direct antiviral drugs. We are living in a world where hundreds of millions of people are chronically infected with Hepatitis C and B viruses. In particular, the Northern California region, including the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento, have a high prevalence of Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)-infected patients, which is mainly contributed to the high Asian population of this region. Therefore, one of the major research projects of the MPS program is developing a cost-effective and safe "absolute cure" for HBV infection through high-throughput screening of anti-HBV activity of hundreds of unique MPS sources from the natural and chemical library for the next generation of HBV drug discovery.
Anticancer Drugs Research and Development
Anticancer drug research and development has been the largest market area in the pharmaceutical industry, in terms of the number of projects, clinical trials and spending. In the last 10 to 30 years, targeting therapy for cancers has been developed and achieved enormous clinical effectiveness by transforming some previously deadly malignancies into chronically manageable conditions, but curing the problem still remains. The MPS program has highly profiled oncologists in both basic science and clinical practice working in novel biomarker/drug discovery and precision medicine. Therefore, investigating new anticancer targets and designing new therapeutics are some of the major research projects the MPS program offers for our students. Ongoing research in MPS anticancer research projects include but are not limited to prostate cancer, leukemia, brain, colon and liver cancer.
Food Allergies Vaccine Research
It is estimated that about 4 to6 percent of all children in the United States are affected by food allergies. Food allergies do not yet have a cure, and allergic reactions can prove fatal. Of all food allergies, those to peanuts are the most common. One of the main goals of the MPS research scope is to use immunotherapy to change the immune system’s response by developing a therapeutic vaccine for food allergies. Ongoing MPS research on food allergy vaccine development includes: (i) poison ivy vaccine which has been in clinical trials; (ii) peanut allergy vaccine with ongoing pre-clinical trial.
Drug Development Regulatory Affairs
The drug development process is lengthy, complex, and extremely costly, but is necessary. . Pharmaceutical companies use all the data accumulated during discovery and development stages in order to register the drug and later market the drug. Throughout the development stages, regulatory affairs plays a critical role not only as the interface with health agencies and as a link between different departments in the company. but also as the leading department to provide strategic advice on extremely difficult decisions through the life of a drug. Students of our MPS program will be trained to investigate the challenges surrounding drug development regulatory affairs, with an aim to propose new strategies and guidelines in order to ensure the drug’s safety and efficacy in humans.