Assistant professor secures new grants; position in Infectious Diseases Institute Thematic Program

12/05/2017

Head shot of Mark Mitton-FryMark Mitton-Fry, PhD, assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy’s Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy Division, recently received two new grants related to his work in infectious diseases. In addition to his grants, Mitton-Fry was named a Co-Director of the Prevention, Detection and Therapies Thematic Program for Ohio State’s newly launched Infectious Diseases Institute.

Prof. Mitton-Fry came to The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy in July of 2016. Prior to working with the college, he was an assistant professor at Ohio Wesleyan University and spent much of his time teaching various chemistry courses. Mitton-Fry started his career at Pharmacia as a synthetic medicinal chemist. Shortly thereafter, Pharmacia was acquired by Pfizer, a leading pharmaceutical company, and Mitton-Fry took a new position with Pfizer.

“Working in the pharmaceutical industry was a natural fit with my educational background. During my time at Pfizer, I met some colleagues who were incredibly passionate about antibacterial drug discovery. I was enthralled by the sense of community they showed and wanted to get involved in the work,” Mitton-Fry said.

Mitton-Fry said that he is excited to be at Ohio State and credits the university’s Discovery Themes, a university-wide initiative to bring top research scientists to campus to focus on critical societal needs and promote and enhance broad university collaboration, as a substantial reason he chose to become a Buckeye.

“I don’t think I would have the opportunity to work at the university if it weren’t for Discovery Themes. My position is partially funded through the university’s Discovery Themes, and it provides me access to the resources I need to put together effective grants and proposals,” he said. “Discovery Themes lends itself to great collaborations. It is easy to find people who share common interests and to work with them. The collaborative spirit at Ohio State has been one of the defining features of my experience so far.” 

Mitton-Fry’s research is currently focused on superbug infections, such as MRSA. He recently received two grants with co-investigators to support his research: a $300,000 Dr. Ralph and Marian Falk Medical Research Trust grant for “Novel therapies for MRSA and innovative methods for tackling bacterial resistance,” and a $108,000 grant from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for “Novel bacterial type II topoisomerase inhibitors to treat MRSA.”

“(My team and I) are working on bacterial infections that are no longer treatable by many current drugs; they have become resistant. We want to develop drugs that defeat the bacteria and plan a research program that targets both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial pathogens. We will use these grants to work toward new therapies and structural methods that will allow us to design more effective drugs,” he said.

Co-investigators for the grants include: Dr. Daniel Wozniak, professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Microbiology and professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Microbial Infection and Immunity; Dr. Jack C. Yalowich, professor of Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy; Dr. Steffen Lindert, assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; and Dr. Craig McElroy, Director of Instrumentation at the College of Pharmacy.

The College of Pharmacy is proud of the work Mitton-Fry is doing to improve the lives of patients fighting superbugs.