The generous gifts and giving are normally used for, but not limited to:
1）Supporting faculty and their new discoveries
Dr. Bailong XIAO started his lab at SPS in 2013. He is also a joint Principal Investigator at the Center for Life Science and the IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research at Tsinghua University. His research has focused on identifying and characterizing the so-called sensory ion channels, including temperature-activated ion channels and mechanically activated ion channels such as Piezo channels. These channels can function as receptors for various physical stimuli including temperature, chemicals, and mechanical force, and consequently govern the sense of touch and other mechanotransduction processes. Xiao’s lab aims to uncover these channels’ functional structure as well as their physiological and pathological significance which are critical for the subsequent drug discovery and development research. His recent discovery of the architecture of Piezo1 ion channels help us understand the specialized force sensory ion channels that play critical roles in vascular development and blood cell function, which might enable us to design novel therapeutics in the future to treat diseases caused by abnormal functions of these mechanotransducers.
Dr. Yonghui ZHANG was appointed as a Principal Investigator at SPS in 2013. His research focuses on the new drug targets identification and new drug leads discovery, especially in the field of isoprenoids metabolism. Currently there are three classes of drugs targeting isoprenoid biosynthesis: (1) statins, such as Lipitor, target HMG-CoA reductase, blocking cholesterol biosynthesis; (2) terbinafine blocks the fungi ergosterol biosynthesis via inhibiting squalene epoxidase; (3) bisphosphonates like Zometa, Fosmax are used for the treatment of bone resorption through inhibiting farnesyl diphosphate synthase. However, little progress has been made beyond these drugs. Zhang’s lab has contributed a great deal to the understanding of the structure, biology, and inhibition of new potential drug targets in this metabolic pathway, opening up intriguing possibilities for new drug or therapeutic discovery.
2）Accelerating translational research
Translational research is one of SPS’ top priorities and an essential pathway to realizing its long-term mission of using science and technology to improve human health. Translational research expedites the conversion of laboratory discoveries into clinical outcomes by eliminating the barriers between fundamental science and downstream clinical trials to benefit patients more quickly. Leveraging the series of advanced translational platforms at SPS we will be able to catalyze translational research through high throughput drug discovery, screening and evaluation.
3）Cultivating future pharmaceutical scientists
SPS is committed to student-centered teaching that features multi-disciplinary classes, internships, study abroad, and laboratory research. Our academic model effectively promotes the development of critical thinking, problem solving and research skills, with an emphasis on scientific rigor and creativity. By engaging students in theoretical and practical understanding of biomedical research and Pharmaceutical R&D, SPS aims to produce future pharmaceutical scientists who will drive tomorrow’s pharmaceutical breakthroughs in solving our greatest disease challenges.