Dr. Vanessa Sperandio, a UT Southwestern Medical Center Professor of Microbiology and Biochemistry, recently won one of fourteen GSK 2014 Discovery Fast Track Challenge Awards. SGK awards the prize to promote faster translation of academic scientific research into new therapies.
Dr. Sperandio from Brazil joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 2001 after her postdoctoral research, and has recently received other professional distinctions. “I am thrilled about this opportunity, and grateful to Dr. Norgard and Dr. Steven McKnight, Chair of Biochemistry, for all of their support through all of my years here at UT Southwestern. The unique collegial, collaborative, and outstanding scientific environment at UT Southwestern is a key factor in allowing my research to flourish,” she said in a press release.
Dr. Sperandio proposed a new way to treat bacterial infections, and her work was chosen from 428 entries that were submitted by 234 universities and institutes from 26 different countries. The winners will collaborate with researchers in the company’s Discovery Partnerships with Academia (DPAc) and its Molecular Discovery Research team to test the hypotheses they have submitted and screen targets against the GSK compound collection. Active substances could be the starting point in which the full drug discovery programs are based so it can lead to innovative medicines suitable for the bacterial infections fight.
Duncan Holmes, the European Head of DPAc, added: “We believe there is a real advantage in bringing together the best in academia and industry to help take innovative ideas forward in drug discovery. The Discovery Fast Track Challenge is designed to find the best ideas for collaborative drug discovery from any therapeutic area, in any geography. We look forward to working with each of the winners to help identify novel quality pharmacologically active compounds for their targets and being part of the researcher’s journey in making a difference.”