News and Events


A paper authored by Drs. Gunda Georg, Jon Hawkinson, Kwon Ho Hong, and Shameem Sultana Syeda, all from the Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development, was publicized in the most recent press release of the American Chemical Society. The paper explores the potential of the plant extract ouabain as a male contraceptive agent. Ouabain has long been used by African hunters as the lethal agent for poison-tipped arrows, but in small doses it has also shown efficacy in lowering fertility rates in males.

Dr. Gunda Georg has been featured in multiple media outlets for her work into the development of a male birth control pill. The articles highlight the recent exploration into the efficacy of ouabain, a plant extract that has long been used by African hunters to create poison-tipped arrows. A form of ouabain is also produced in small amounts in the human body and studies have shown that men with higher levels of ouabain have lower fertility, making it a promising candidate as a male contraceptive agent. You can read more about ouabain and Dr.

Congratulations to Dmitri Konorev and Katlyn Fleming, who are both recipients of this year’s Rowell Graduate Fellowship! This fellowship was established by the family of pharmaceutical industrialist Theodore H. Rowell to support graduate students in the pharmaceutical sciences with an emphasis on drug delivery systems.  

Congratulations to Katlyn Fleming and Cliff Csizmar, who are both recipients of this year’s Bighley Graduate Fellowship! The fellowship was established in 2008 by Dr. Lyle D. Bighley and Sharon Bighley as a way to support graduate students working in the biomedical health sciences. It recognizes excellence in students conducting research in laboratories with an emphasis on collaborative and interdisciplinary work. You can read more about the award here

Dr. Natalia Tretyakova has been awarded a grant for $1.7 million from the National Institutes of Health for the project "Smoking-Induced Epigenetic Changes in the Lung: Role of DNA Demethylation," on which she is the principal investigator. 

Dr. Carrie Haskell-Luevano received a $125,000 Winston and Maxine Wallin Neuroscience Discovery Fund grant for her project, "Discovery of Opioid Receptor Endogenous Allosteric Modulators For the Treatment of Pain and Addiction." Dr. Philip Portoghese is a co-investigator on the project.

Dr. Gunda Georg is the Principle Investigator of a $8.3M National Institutes of Health U54 Center Grant titled Contraceptive Discovery, Development, and Behavioral Research Center (2017-2021). In addition to Drs.

Dr. Stephen Hecht was named one of the 2017 Dean's Distinguished Research Lectureship Honorees, which recognizes the best research faculty in the basic and clinical sciences. To be considered, honorees must have the first or last author credits on a publication that has been cited at least 1,000 times by others. Dr. Hecht will give a presentation on his research at the award ceremony on October 26th. The announcement is here.