Skip to Content

College of Pharmacy

Dr. Igor Roninson

COBRE Center for Targeted Therapeutics

Pilot Grant Program

The Center for Targeted Therapeutics offers a program of small pilot grants to encourage University of South Carolina faculty to conduct research on targeted therapeutics, utilizing support from at least one of our core facilities.

Grant Application Topics

Topics for pilot grant applications include:

  • Identification and/or validation of novel molecular targets for the treatment of a disease
  • Designing/discovering new prototype drugs (of any chemical nature) acting on a defined molecular target
  • Targeted drug delivery
  • Design and laboratory testing of novel drug combinations based on the drug target’s biology

Pilot project applications are solicited once a year, prior to spring. All of the applications undergo a peer review process and the winners are selected by the External Advisory Committee.

Current Pilot Projects

One-year projects to develop a novel research idea into a larger project:

Mohamad Azhar, Ph. D.
Associate Professor, Cell Biology and Anatomy
USC School of Medicine Columbia


Cameron McCarthy, Ph. D.
Assistant Professor, Cardiovascular Translational Research Center
USC School of Medicine Columbia

Melissa Moss, Ph.D.
Professor, Chemical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering
USC Molinaroli College of Engineering and Computing

Michael Wyatt, Ph. D.
Professor, Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences
USC College of Pharmacy

Prior Pilot Projects

Juan Francisco Leon Oyola, Ph.D. 
Assistant Professor, Department of Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences, USC College of Pharmacy
Project: Exploration in the synthesis of cannabidiol dimers as potential agents to treat neurological disorders

Rosemarie M. Booze, Ph.D.
Professor, Bicentennial Endowed Chair of Behavioral Neuroscience, Psychology Department, USC College of Arts and Sciences
Mediator kinase inhibition alters the trajectory of age-associated cognitive decline

Reilly Enos, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology
Two Novel Brain-Specific Estrogen Treatments for Estrogen-Deficient Increases in Obesity

Wenbin Tan, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor, Cell Biology and Anatomy
CYLD as a therapeutic target for SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein-exacerbated myocardial damage

Jie Li, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Discovery of Novel SARS-CoV-2 Main Protease Inhibitors

Campbell McInnes, Ph.D.
Professor, Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences
Synthesis, Binding and X-ray Crystallography of Peptides from the Receptor Binding Domain of the Novel Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 with human ACE2

Eugenia Broude, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences
Suppression of Cytokine Storm using a Small-Molecule Transcriptional Kinase Inhibitor

Michael Shtutman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences
Project: Development of Propagation-Deficient SARS-CoV-2 for Rapid Anti-COVID-19 Drug Discovery

Joseph McQuail, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Pharmacology, Physiology & Neuroscience
Precision Targeting of Heteromeric NMDA Receptors in Age-Related Memory Disorders

Taixing Cui, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Cell Biology and Anatomy
Esmaiel Jabbari, Ph.D.
Professor, Chemical and Biomedical Engineering
Project: Suppressing Stenosis in Vein Bypass Graft Surgery

Guoshuai Cai, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Project:  Transcriptomic Data Analysis to Characterize Inhibitors of Transcription-regulating Kinases

Seungjin Shin, Ph.D.
Research Associate Professor
Project:  Identification of novel targets which can enhance PARP1 inhibitor therapy.

Claudia Grillo, Ph.D. 
Research Associate Professor
Project: Leptin-sensitive raphe neurons as a potential novel target for obesity treatment.

Pavel Ortinski, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor,
Project: Mg2+-insensitive N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors as target in cocaine dependence.

Boris Kantor, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor, USC School of Medicine
Director of the Vector Core
Project: Designing inducible CRISPR-CAS vector system for validation of COPZ1 gene, as a novel target for anticancer intervention.

Gabor Szalai, Ph.D. 
Research Associate Professor
Department of Drug Discovery, College of Pharmacy
Project: Evaluation of the Peromyscus leucopus panel for pharmacogenomics studies.

Ho-Jin Koh, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor, Arnold School of Public Health
Project: TRB3: A Novel Mediator for Denervation-induced Muscle Atrophy

Rekha Patel, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
Project: PKR inhibitory peptides for treatment of type 2 diabetes and other chronic inflammatory conditions

Georgi Petkov, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences, College of Pharmacy
Project: Identification and validation of KCNQ channels as novel molecular targets for the treatment of overactive bladder and urinary incontinence.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.