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Medicinal Chemistry

The mission of the department of Medicinal Chemistry is to conduct basic research in chemistry and biochemistry as it relates to drug discovery, to teach these principles in the professional and graduate programs, and to provide service to the scientific community.

The Department of Medicinal Chemistry is located in the College of Pharmacy, and is an integral part of the University of Florida’s Health Science Center. The department has excellent facilities for research in the major areas of Medicinal Chemistry and faculty have been highly successful in attracting extramural research support for the past several years.

Medicinal Chemistry areas of research in drug design, marine natural products and toxicology are a unique blend of the physical and biological sciences. The scope of the field is sufficiently broad to give students with many different science backgrounds a rewarding and challenging program of study. Areas of active interest include drug discovery, organic synthesis of medicinal agents, natural products chemistry, prodrugs, topical drug delivery, peptide chemistry, molecular modeling, drug metabolism and molecular toxicology.

Faculty Spotlight


Raymond J. Bergeron, Ph.D.Emeritus Graduate Research Professor

Investigating ways to better treat iron-overload diseases, Bergeron, who holds 119 patents, currently has two drugs in clinical trials with Genzyme. One drug is used for treatment of liver cancer. The other was developed for the treatment of children with a rare anemia disease in which iron builds up, causing an overload that cannot be effectively eliminated. Iron overload can lead to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), liver cancer, one of the most difficult and insidious forms of cancer to manage, said Bergeron. The therapeutic choices for this disease are few, and generally the success rate is very poor. A Phase I/II clinical trial is in progress at five U.S. centers to assess the safety, tolerability and efficacy of DENSPM in hepatocellular carcinoma.

Meet Our Faculty

The Department of Medicinal Chemistry features many internationally recognized faculty who excel at research and teaching.


Dr. Yousong Ding receives grant from Air Force’s Young Investigator Research Program

Yousong Ding   Yousong Ding, Ph.D., an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry, was one of 56 scientists and engineers selected to receive a grant award from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, or AFOSR. The three-year award amounts to $360,000 and will allow Ding to develop an unprecedented cell-based strategy for the manufacturing of nitroaromatics, an important family of industrial chemicals that have a broad range of public and military uses. Industrial nitration is notorious for its heavily polluting processes, and Ding’s research will have the potential to revolutionize the nitration chemical industry by facilitating earth-benign production of nitroaromatics.

AFOSR awarded approximately $20.6 million in grants to researchers at 41 institutions and small businesses who submitted winning research proposals through the Air Force’s Young Investigator Research Program. The competition is open to scientists and engineers at research institutions across the United States who received a Ph.D. or equivalent degree in the last five years and show exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research.

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