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2018 Edward E. Smissman Memorial Lecturer

Craig W. Lindsley, Ph.D. (Web Page)

  • William K. Warren Jr., Chair in Medicine
  • Professor of Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Chemistry
  • Co-Director and Director of Medicinal Chemistry & DMPK, Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery
  • Associate Director of Therapeutics, Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology
  • Editor-in-Chief, ACS Chemical Neuroscience

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Scientific Lecture
"Allosteric Modulation of Muscarinic Acetylcholine Receptors"
9:30 a.m., Alderson Auditorium, KU Union

Public Lecture and Award Presentation
"Bedside to Bench and Back Again – Drug Discovery within the VCNDD"
4:30 p.m., Alderson Auditorium, KU Union

Friday, September 21, 2018

Scientific Lecture
"The Rebirth of mGlu1 for the Treatment of Schizophrenia"
10:00 a.m., Ballroom D, KU Burge Union


Craig W. Lindsley completed his undergraduate studies at California State University, Chico receiving a B.S. in Chemistry (1992) working in the labs of Professor Dave Ball on the synthesis of borreldin.   He then moved to southern California and received his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara (1996) under the guidance of Professor Bruce Lipshutz, focused on organometallic chemistry and linchpin methodology for polyene construction.  He then pursued postdoctoral studies at Harvard University in the Shair lab as an Institute of Chemistry and Cell Biology Fellow.  Following brief stints at Parke-Davis and Eli Lilly, he joined Merck at the West Point site.  There, he led a medicinal chemistry group that developed the first allosteric Akt kinase inhibitors, the first mGlu5 PAMs, and the first M1 PAM.  During his six years at Merck, he and his team delivered six preclinical candidates for neuroscience and oncology programs as well as a clinically utilized GlyT1 PET tracer.

In 2006, he accepted an Associate Professor position in Pharmacology and Chemistry at Vanderbilt University, and was promoted to Full Professor in 2009.  Currently, he is a Professor of Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Chemistry and holds the William K. Warren Jr. Chair in Medicine.  In addition, he is the co-founder and co-Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience, along with Professor Jeff Conn, and is the Director of Medicinal Chemistry and DMPK for the VCNDD.   After serving as the lone Associate Editor for Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry, he became the founding Editor-in-Chief of ACS Chemical Neuroscience in 2009.

Research in the Lindsley lab is broad and encompasses basic synthetic chemistry (natural product total synthesis, synthetic methodology), chemical biology and molecular pharmacology.   One major facet is the development of robust in vivo tool compounds to validate novel targets and mechanisms, primary focused on allosteric modulation of GPCRs, ion channels, kinases and transporters.  These tools then inform drug discovery efforts within the VCNDD towards patented molecules and clinical candidates.  To date, the VCNDD has licensed programs to several pharmaceutical companies (Janssen, Bristol-Myers-Squibb, Karuna, LaJolla, AstraZeneca, Seaside Therapeutics) that then entered clinical development, as well as strategic colalborations with Ono, Taisho and Bayer Pharmaceuticals.  Recently, with funding from the William K. Warren Foundation, the VCNDD took an M1 PAM through IND-enabling studies, IND-filing with the FDA and initiated Phase I trials at Vanderbilt University Medical Center without the assistance of a big pharma partner.

He has received numerous awards including the ASPET-Astellas Award for Translational Pharmacology (2010), the John J. Abel Award in Pharmacology (2014), the Pharmacia-ASPET Award in Experimental Therapeutics (2016).  In 2013, he was awarded the Portoghese Lectureship from the ACS MEDI division and the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry for impact in the field of medicinal chemistry, and also received the Philip S. Portoghese Award (2015).  In 2016, he was inducted as an AAAS Fellow, and named a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher (2015-2017) as well as a Thomson Reuters World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds (2016).

He holds over 72 issued US patents and has published over 400 manuscripts and another 140 published patent applications.  As co-founder and co-director of the VCNDD, Craig has raised over $150 million in licensing and research support from NIH (including PI of an MLPCN Specialized Chemistry Center), Foundations and pharmaceutical companies and demonstrated that drug discovery in an academic environment can be highly successful.

His interests extend beyond drug discovery.   When not playing or doing homework with his six children, he is an avid music fan (Nashville is music city) and diehard KISS fan.

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