Medicinal Chemistry Student Wins Prestigious Fellowship, Furthers Addiction Research
Deanna Montgomery, fourth-year medicinal chemistry PhD candidate, has been awarded the 2017-2018 American Chemical Society Division of Medicinal Chemistry Pre-Doctoral Fellowship. Ms. Montgomery earns a $26,000 stipend and the opportunity to present her research at the 2018 American Chemical Society National Meeting. Since 1991, the Division has awarded Pre-Doctoral Fellowships on a competitive basis to graduate students in medicinal chemistry and related fields.
“Addiction research is a really important area of study because of the larger societal implications of addiction in addition to personal medical implications,” says Deanna. “Addiction has a huge impact not only on the individuals affected, but on the families and friends of these individuals and on society as a whole. I find the opioid system particularly interesting because of the role it plays in modulating mood and reward. The potential therapeutic use of the opioid system is not limited to the treatment of opioid addiction. Rather, this system shows promise for use in the treatment of addiction to various other kinds of drugs of abuse, such as cocaine and other stimulants.”
Drug overdose deaths continue to increase in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2000 to 2015 more than half a million Americans have died from drug overdoses. The development of effective treatment options for substance abuse is urgently needed.
“I’m working in Dr. Hank Mosberg's lab on the design, synthesis, and evaluation of multifunctional opioid peptidomimetics,” explains Deanna. “The opioid system has been shown to regulate the rewarding properties of drugs of abuse and to contribute to the development of addiction. My primary project focuses on the development of multifunctional ligands that act on both the κ opioid receptor and the µ opioid receptor as a potential treatment for cocaine addiction.”
“We are extremely proud of Deanna for winning this very prestigious and extremely competitive award,” says George Garcia, Professor and Chair of Medicinal Chemistry and Director, Interdepartmental Program in Medicinal Chemistry. “It’s a strong statement about Deanna’s potential as a future leader in the field.”