Searle Scholar awards go to UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty 2 years in a row

Danica Galonić Fujimori, PhD, a faculty member in the UCSF Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine has been named a 2011 Searle Scholar. Her UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty colleague, Bo Huang, PhD, earned the honor in 2010.

The prestigious awards are given annually to 15 young biomedical scientists “who have already demonstrated innovative research with the potential for making significant contributions to biological research over an extended period of time.” Scholars each receive $300,000 to support their research over a 3-year period.

Huang’s Searle-aided work develops and applies super-resolution optical microscopy, which captures the structures and processes inside cells by mapping the positions of single fluorescent molecules. This will allow researchers to “see” macro-molecular details of health and disease playing out in cells.

Fujimori’s supported research will focus on a chemical biology strategy to discover the roles of histone demethylases in cellular regulation. In short, her work will develop chemical probes to better understand the function (and dysfunction in diseases, such as cancer) of enzymes that alter the expression of genes and thus the behavior of cells.

The program is funded by the estates of John G. and Frances C. Searle. John Searle was president of G.D. Searle & Co., of Skokie, Illinois, a research-based pharmaceutical company.

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy is a premier graduate-level academic organization dedicated to improving health through precise therapeutics. It succeeds through innovative research, by educating PharmD health professional and PhD science students, and by caring for the therapeutics needs of patients while exploring innovative new models of patient care. The School was founded in 1872 as the first pharmacy school in the American West. It is an integral part of UC San Francisco, a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide.