Research Associate Professor and Director of Medicinal Chemistry
Area of interest
The Wang lab is interested in developing drug leads/candidates for new targets including kinase, phosphate kinase and protein targets identified by UNC faculty and external investigators. The Wang lab has successfully used the structure- and/or ligand-based drug design approaches to deliver compounds to clinic (MerTK inhibitors) or licensing (IDH1 inhibitor, co-developed with NCATs) (discussed below) and engages in collaborative projects with many UNC faculty. Dr. Wang is currently the Director of Medicinal Chemistry in the CICBDD and a Research Associate Professor in the Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy. In the past 11 years at UNC, the work in the Wang lab has been primarily focused on the discovery of small molecule inhibitors targeting protein kinases including the Mer receptor tyrosine kinase, IP kinases, MELK, PIP5K1C, and IKKÎµ/TBK1. Other targets explored by the Wang lab include IDH1, CIB1, GAPDHS and Eppin. The Wang lab, collaborating with Drs. Douglas Graham (Emory) and Shelley Earp (UNC), has discovered small molecule Mer kinase inhibitors with differing kinome selectivity profiles using a structure-based drug design approach. UNC2371 (MRX2843), identified as a clinical candidate, shows excellent pharmacological and pharmacokinetic (PK) properties and is in Phase I clinical study for patients with relapsed or refractory solid tumors. For the IDH1 project, the Wang lab has collaborated with Dr. Matthew Boxer (NCATS) at NCATS and have discovered selective mutant IDH1 inhibitors with excellent cellular activity, good PK properties and long residence time and a preclinical candidate now being out licensed by the NCI. In addition, the Wang lab has been actively working on IP kinases (lead optimization via structure-based drug design), MELK (lead optimization via computer-aided drug design), and CIB1 (hit to lead) projects. These targets are in different therapeutic fields such as oncology/cancer immunotherapy, obesity/type II diabetes, and fatty liver disease.
Awards and Honors
- EII Tier I Award
- 2018 Eshelman Innovation Award, Tier I
- 2000 Wallace Prize, University of Pittsburgh
- 2001 Poster competition winner, University of Pittsburgh