Friday Forum - New Drug Discovery Program Targets Alzheimer’s Disease

Friday, March 24, 2017
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Holland Building, Room 222

All students, faculty, staff and visitors are invited to attend this presentation by Jason Herr, a research fellow at Albany Molecular Research Inc, or stream the lecture online. The online broadcast will be available using this link.


Alzheimer’s Disease is characterized medically by an accumulation of plaques in the brain composed primarily of a 42-amino acid protein called amyloid β (Aβ42). One therapeutic approach currently being tested in the clinic is to use small molecule drugs to interfere with the function of an enzyme called gamma-secretase. This enzyme has several important biological roles, but in the disease state its task is to produce the toxic protein Aβ42. This talk will introduce a drug discovery program designed to develop drugs that interact with gamma-secretase so that it disrupts is ability to produce Aβ42, but still allow it to carry out its positive functions. These molecules are called gamma-secretase modulators (GSMs). In a more general sense, the presentation will also describe how medicinal chemists use information from biological testing to develop better drugs, both in terms of improving drug potency (how well they work at the molecular level) and increasing drug-like properties (how efficiently they reach their intended target in a living system).