Research News

Jusko receives $2.9 million grant to reveal ‘rules of biology’

By MARCENE ROBINSON

Published September 30, 2019

headshot of bill Jusko.
“Our interdisciplinary collaboration offers the imagination and insight necessary to recognize new principles that emerge and underlie the complexities of how drugs, hormones and natural compounds work and interact in the body.”
William Jusko, SUNY Distinguished Professor
School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Renowned UB pharmaceutical scientist William Jusko has received a nearly $2.9 million Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) to improve understanding of corticosteroid and anticancer drug effects on the body.

The award, provided by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health, seeks to provide researchers with funding to reach scientific breakthroughs.

Jusko, is SUNY Distinguished Professor in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and director of the UB Center of Excellence in Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics.

His research will partly focus on corticosteroids, a class of hormones that is essential to stress response, immune response, inflammation and more. Corticosteroids’ myriad of metabolic effects limit their clinical use, as researchers have difficulty accounting for the complex interactions between the hormone, normal physiology and disease.

The five-year study will examine corticosteroid effects on genomic, metabolic, pharmacologic and physiologic responses in normal and arthritic animal models. It will also assess mechanisms of anticancer drug effects in pancreatic cancer. The researchers will also develop complex mathematical and computer models that help map these processes.

“These studies and mathematical modeling innovations will provide new methods of assessing drug interactions, revealing and quantifying the rules of biology and pharmacology relevant to critical hormone, biological and pharmacologic functions, Jusko explains.

“Our interdisciplinary collaboration offers the imagination and insight necessary to recognize new principles that emerge and underlie the complexities of how drugs, hormones and natural compounds work and interact in the body.”

Additional investigators include Debra DuBois, adjunct research associate professor of biological sciences, and Richard Almon, professor of biological sciences, both in the UB College of Arts and Sciences; and Ioannis Androulakis, professor of biomedical engineering at Rutgers University.