Medicinal Chemistry ranked as top VCU department for inventions

 

Two men face the camera, shaking hands. One holds a plaque.
Martin Safo is the No. 1 inventor at the top-ranked department at VCU for invention disclosures. In this file photo he poses with VCU President Michael Rao, left, at the 2014 VCU invention awards.
Greg Weatherford
Director of Communications
VCU School of Pharmacy

The No. 1 department at VCU for invention disclosures in 2018 was the School of Pharmacy’s Department of Medicinal Chemistry, according to the latest annual report from VCU’s Innovation Gateway.

With 12 faculty members, the Medicinal Chemistry Department reported 14 inventions last year. That figure comprised more than 10% of the  university’s overall 134 invention disclosures for 2018.

“This is the latest recognition of the groundbreaking work going on at the School of Pharmacy,” said Joseph T. DiPiro, dean of the School of Pharmacy and Archie O. McCalley chair. “Under the leadership of Dr. Umesh Desai, our Medicinal Chemistry Department continues to demonstrate the importance of innovation. Pharmacy has always been about innovation and discovery, and these creative researchers are finding new ways to treat diseases.”

With five inventions credited, professor Martin Safo, Ph.D., was the department’s No. 1 for disclosures. His research has focused on finding ways to improve the health of people with sickle-cell disease and those who have difficulty absorbing vitamin B6 because of a hereditary disorder that can cause severe disabilities in children.

“Our work has the potential to improve the lives of millions around the world,” Safo said. “I’m proud to play a role in moving health science forward at the School of Pharmacy and at VCU.”

Also highlighted in the annual report is Shijun Zhang, Ph.D., an associate professor in medicinal chemistry, for his work designing a compound that can reduce inflammation in nerve tissues, a key symptom and risk factor of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Four VCU departments ranked second for invention disclosures with 12 each in 2018: chemistry, electrical/computer engineering, computer engineering, chemical/life science engineering and mechanical/nuclear engineering.

When tallied by school or college, VCU School of Medicine reported the most invention disclosures with 53, followed by the VCU College of Engineering with 43, the College of Humanities & Sciences with 24, and the School of Pharmacy with 15. 

Innovation Gateway, part of VCU’s Office of Research and Innovation, releases its report on invention, commercialization and research each year. See the full 2018 report: https://innovationgateway.vcu.edu/media/innovation-gateway/docs/annual-reports/VCUIG_2018_Annual_ReportWEB.pdf

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