September 28, 2020
The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy is pleased to present Susan Mooberry, PhD, professor of Pharmacology and Greehey Distinguished Chair in Targeted Molecular Therapeutics at UT Health San Antonio, on Tuesday, Oct. 20, at 2:30 p.m. Dr. Mooberry‘s virtual seminar, “Challenges and New Solutions for Natural Products Drug Discovery,” will be delivered as part of the college’s 2020 Distinguished Lecture Series.
Dr. Mooberry’s research is focused on the discovery of more effective therapies for the treatment of challenging cancers, including triple-negative breast cancers and pediatric solid tumors. Her laboratory has expertise in the discovery and mechanisms of action of diverse microtubule targeting agents, and more recently new natural product-derived compounds with activity against specific subtypes of breast and pediatric cancers. Dr. Mooberry has published over 130 peer-reviewed articles, reviews and book chapters, and holds nine patents on new classes of drug leads.
Dr. Mooberry has served on scientific review panels for national and international organizations. Her research has been funded by both NIH and corporate sponsors. She is a past president of the American Society for Pharmacognosy (ASP) and was elected as an ASP Fellow in 2019.
Dr. Mooberry received her BS in biology from St. Lawrence University and her PhD in pharmacology at the Medical University of South Carolina. She conducted postdoctoral studies at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center where she then moved into a faculty position. In Hawaii, Dr. Mooberry identified new classes of microtubule targeting compounds, including one class that advanced to clinical trials. In 2000, she began with UT Health San Antonio.
Many of the most important drugs used for human health were identified in nature. In addition, natural products continue to identify new molecular drug targets. Challenges remain, however, for natural products drug discovery. To address unmet medical needs in cancer, we have incorporated new mechanism-blind screening approaches to identify compounds with selective cytotoxic effects against cell lines representing the different subtypes of triple-negative breast cancer and selected pediatric solid tumors. This screening strategy, tied with strict bioassay-guided fractionation, has yielded multiple active compounds with selective actions against these targets. A challenge remains in how to determine their molecular mechanisms of action. We have recently used both a CRISPR-Cas9-mediated gene knockout screen and the publicly available Achilles Cancer Dependency Database available on the Dependency Map (DepMap) portal to identify mechanisms of selective cytotoxic activity of natural products isolated in our screens. These resources open new opportunities to, in some cases, rapidly identify potential mechanisms of action and sensitivity of compounds with selective cytotoxic effects. New approaches have the potential to greatly enrich natural products drug discovery initiatives.