Practical Aspects of Drug Discovery: At the Interface of Biology, Chemistry and Pharmacology (Montevideo, Uruguay)

Wellcome Genome Campus Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences

28 November 2021

Institut Pasteur de Montevideo

Registration Deadline

02 September 2021

PLEASE NOTE: This course was cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Applications for the 2020 course have been carried over to 2021. The course is now open to new applicants.

Learn about the theoretical, practical and organisational aspects of small molecule and natural product drug discovery.

In collaboration with the Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research (WCAIR), University of Dundee and the Institute Pasteur de Montevideo and Universidad de la República, Uruguay, we are pleased to announce the Overseas course Practical Aspects of Drug Discovery: At the Interface of Biology, Chemistry and Pharmacology

Increasingly scientists representing a variety of disciplines in leading research institutions, as well as small and medium-sized companies are leveraging their expertise to engage in early-stage drug discovery. Such drug discovery R&D requires the productive combination of multiple disciplines including biochemistry, medicinal and computational chemistry, natural products, pharmacokinetics, pharmacology and project management, the breadth of which can present organisational, knowledge and competence challenges for institutions and investigators.

This interactive, lecture- and discussion-based course will give scientists of all disciplines a broad introduction to the theoretical, practical and organisational aspects of small molecule and natural product drug discovery. Each topic-based lecture mixes presentation with discussion sessions and case histories to develop the key aspects of critical disciplines and activities. Additional discussion-based practical sessions will build on the lectures to illustrate the strategic planning of drug discovery programmes, including the development of target product profiles, compound progression criteria, scientific strategy and the need to work collaboratively. This course will focus on the need for drug discovery in Latin America and how these approaches can be applied in the regional context and environment.

Target audience

The course is open to applicants from institutes based in Latin America and the Caribbean. The programme is aimed at:

  • Researchers with a background knowledge of any discipline related to drug discovery, including biology, chemistry, pharmacology, computational chemistry and informatics.
  • Representatives from research institutions who want to expand upon their expertise in disease biology into early stage drug discovery and have an interest in non-transmissible and communicable Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), TB, Malaria and HIV among other diseases, are encouraged to apply.
  • Applicants with an interest in treatments for any disease would benefit.

The course is free to attend and limited bursaries are available to cover travel and accommodation costs.

The programme will include lectures and discussions covering the following topics:

  • Project management and organisation of multi-disciplinary projects
  • Target discovery and validation
  • Hit discovery options
  • Phenotypic screening and mode of action elucidation
  • Screening set assessment
  • Screening cascades, assay development and quality control
  • Data mining
  • Introduction to pharmacokinetics
  • Principles of compound optimisation and case histories
  • In silico approaches to drug design
  • Natural products – isolation, structure elucidation and optimisation
  • Data packages required for out licensing and partnering
  • An introduction to preclinical and clinical development

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course, participants should be able to:

  • Describe the process of small molecule and natural product drug discovery
  • Discuss the medicinal chemistry approach of modification to natural products in the drug discovery process
  • Apply the principles of target assessment and validation to a potential drug target
  • Classify the different approaches to hit discovery
  • Discuss the positives and negatives of different approaches to drug discovery
  • Define the basic principles of DMPK
  • Assess the DMPK and toxicology challenges in lead optimisation and pre-clinical drug development
  • Describe the uses of computational chemistry in the drug discovery process
  • Discuss the basic medicinal chemistry principles and their impact on early development
  • Describe the clinical and non-clinical stages of the drug discovery process
  • Understand the mechanics of working with collaborators and funding agencies
  • Apply key principles to your own research in a Latin American setting

Guest speakers:

Guzmán Alvarez, Universidad de la República, Uruguay

Manuel Ibarra, Universidad de la República, Uruguay

Virginia López, Institut Pasteur de Montevideo, Uruguay

Gloria Serra, Universidad de la República, Uruguay

Alan Talevi, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina