Center for Drug Discovery and Translational Research

Center for Drug Discovery and Translational ResearchThe Harvard community abounds with biomedical investigators whose laboratory findings have great potential for benefitting patients. Established in 2012 within the BIDMC Department of Surgery, the Center for Drug Discovery and Translational Research provides a unique platform and broad expertise in drug discovery and development with the goal of accelerating the translation of basic science research from the laboratory to the clinic.

The Center for Drug Discovery and Translational Research is led by founding director Lijun Sun, PhD, Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. Trained as a chemist, Dr. Sun joined BIDMC after 15 years in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, where he participated in the clinical development of a number of first-in-class, novel molecular entities with the potential to treat cancers and autoimmune diseases.

One of the center’s major strengths is its ability to foster multidisciplinary collaborations among investigators throughout the Harvard community who aspire to see their basic science discoveries developed into novel technological or therapeutic innovations for patients with a wide range of prevalent diseases. Many of the center’s collaborative research programs are supported by external funding from the federal government or other sources.

Recent collaborative projects underway in the center, based on Dr. Sun’s work on the optimal integration of molecular simulations into the generation of bioactive molecules, include the discovery of novel inhibitors with the potential to combat diseases such as cancer, atherosclerosis, and diabetic neuropathy, to cite just a few.

To date, the center has filed four U.S. provisional patent applications based on its inventions, and one of its technology platforms has been licensed by a biotech startup focused on discovering and developing novel anticancer and anti-inflammatory therapies.

The center’s capabilities include molecular design, in silico screening, computational predictive modeling, drug synthesis, and pharmaceutics. The center also provides access to Harvard-wide core facilities such as crystallography, nuclear magnetic resonance, and high-resolution mass spectroscopy.

In keeping with BIDMC’s commitment to education, the Center for Drug Discovery and Translational Research shares its knowledge through the publication of peer-reviewed papers; presentations at national and international conferences; and training the next generation of scientists and physician-investigators.

Click here to read an interview with Dr. Sun about the center, its services, his own research, and what brought him to BIDMC.