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Brothers Lab

Drug discovery and development - Molecular Therapeutics Shared Resource

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Investigator / Contact Person Shaun Brothers

Research

Dr. Brothers has three major programs, for neuroscience, rare genetic disorders and for cancer, with funding in place for each. He utilizes modern drug discovery approaches to uncover agents that may be useful as probes for understanding biological processes, with the added view of taking these probes down a pathway toward clinical translation. There are numerous approaches that he employs, including looking at the targeted discovery, repurposing, and phenotypic outcomes. Even though he spends much of his effort in the three programs, Heis largely disease agnostic, and since he applies the science of drug discovery, this can be useful in almost any program or biology. Therefore, he is highly collaborative and welcomes any interest scientists may have in his program whether in academia or in industry. 

Neuroscience: Dr. Brothers has programs in addiction and anxiety related disorders. Particularly, his team is working to develop small molecule modulators of GPCR systems in the central amygdala that hold potential to modify anxiety associated with PTSD or withdrawal. They are also working on how the epigenetics in the brain contribute to a number of diseases. 

Rare Genetic Disorders: Dr. Brothers; team identified a compound which subsequently has had a successful IND with eh FDA and is in clinical trials for MPSI. They are pursuing other lysosomal storage diseases, including MPSII/III. Future efforts are focused on a broader platform to address numerous other single gene disorders using small molecules. 

Cancer: Dr. Brothers’ team run the Molecular Therapeutics Shared Resource (MTSR). The MTSR at provides preclinical drug discovery and development capabilities with the goal of discovering novel small molecules that have the potential to become drugs for the treatment of human disease. Nearly all human-directed research is aimed at understanding disease with the goal of finding cures. The most powerful and efficient way to treat disease is by use of pharmaceuticals. The MTSR provides expertise in drug discovery to begin the process.

Services offered by the MTSR include assay development, compound screening, in vitro models, library curation & preparation and other work related to the preclinical drug discovery pipeline, including customized assays, target validation, and full pipeline project management. MTSR services, which include cell death assays, clonogenic assays, alpha screen, plate reading, and library addition, enable translation of basic research to clinical utility. The MTSR validates therapeutically relevant targets to support the advancement clinical research.

Other preclinical and clinically oriented programs based on our work also exist.