The Emory Initiative Biological Discovery Through Chemical Innovation (BDCI) is pleased to announce the awardees for the Accelerator Grant. The BDCI aims to promote basic research across Emory University by supporting the translation of biological insights to chemical tools and the utilization of those tools as probes to accelerate understanding of disease mechanisms. A major focus of the BDCI is to build a research network in the multi-disciplinary area at the interface between chemistry and human health, to catalyze the discovery of biological principles, and to accelerate the development of the next generation of effective and safe therapeutic and diagnostic agents. The Accelerator Grants aim to catalyze innovative research through cross-disciplinary collaborations. Funding decisions were based on the scientific merit and alignment with the mission of the BDCI: it seeks to catalyze future research, collaboration, and discovery at the intersection of biology, chemistry, and human health. This year proposals spanned three major units at Emory (ECAS, SOM, Winship Cancer Institute) and nine departments! The 2019-2020 projects — along with their principal investigators, co-investigators and external partners—that were awarded Accelerator Grants are:

“Development of GluN3-Selective Allosteric Modulators for Treatment of Neurological Disease”

Stephen Traynelis, PhD (Pharmacology & Chemical Biology) and Dennis Liotta, PhD (Chemistry)

Dennis Liotta and Stephen Traynelis

“A Novel Therapeutic Approach for Treating inflammatory Bowel Disease”

Nathan Jui, PhD (Chemistry) and Eric Ortlund, PhD (Biochemistry)

Nathan Jui and Eric Ortlund

“Enabling High-Throughput Screening for RNA Repeat Expansion Disorders Using an Imaging-Based Assay”

Jennifer Heemstra, PhD (Chemistry) and Gary Bassell, PhD (Cell Biology)

Gary Bassell, PhD and Jnnifer Heemstra, PhD

“Identification of Novel Compounds and Target Pathways for the Treatment of Human Dwarfism”

William R. Wilcox, MD, PhD, (Human Genetics) with support from the Emory Chemical Biology Discovery Center

William R. Wilcox, MD, PhD

“Using C. elegans to Conduct a Drug Screen to Block Age Associated Decline in Muscle Mass and Function (Sarcopenia)”

Guy M. Benian, MD (Pathology & Laboratory Medicine) with support from the Emory Chemical Biology Discovery Center

Guy M. Benian, MD