NIGMS Pledges Over $48 Million to Create Chemical Techniques and Libraries


October 1, 2008

Libraries of small molecules are a crucial source of potential new drugs and research tools. Yet existing collections—and the techniques needed to generate them—fail to meet all the needs of pharmaceutical and biomedical scientists. Continuing its commitment to address this problem, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) announces support for five Centers of Excellence in Chemical Methodologies and Library Development (CMLD).

With this announcement, NIGMS is funding one new center and renewing support for its four existing CMLD centers. Over their 5-year lifetimes, these five centers are expected to total more than $48 million.

Each CMLD center will develop cutting-edge technologies to generate, analyze, and optimize chemical libraries and will synthesize thousands of novel chemical entities using high-throughput techniques.

Central to the CMLD effort is making the new methods and resources broadly available for biomedical research and drug discovery. To facilitate this, each CMLD center must collaborate with biologists to determine the physiological activities of the new molecules.

The CMLD centers will also feed their chemical libraries directly into the NIH Molecular Libraries Roadmap Initiative, which will screen them in its search for chemical probes to study biology.

Each CMLD center is a collaborative effort involving teams of researchers. The five centers are:

  • Boston University (John A. Porco, Jr., Ph.D., principal investigator)--$2.6 million for the first year of funding to develop microfluidics and other strategies to synthesize small molecules for use by the biological community (CMLD initiated in 2002).
  • Harvard University in Boston, Mass. (Stuart Schreiber, Ph.D., principal investigator)--$2.5 million for the first year of funding to create powerful chemical tools to design and synthesize chemical entities that have desired structures (CMLD initiated in 2003).
  • University of Chicago (Sergey A. Kozmin, Ph.D., principal investigator)--$2.2 million for the first year of funding to develop techniques that include using a gold surface to immobilize molecules to discover new reactions and to analyze the biological activities of small molecules (CMLD created in 2008).
  • University of Kansas in Lawrence (Jeffrey Aubé, Ph.D., principal investigator)--$2.2 million for the first year of funding to solve synthetic challenges in library construction and to optimize the use of microwave radiation to foster chemical reactions on a microscopic scale. (CMLD initiated in 2003).
  • University of Pittsburgh (Peter Wipf, Ph.D., principal investigator)--$1.7 million for the first year of funding to invent nanotechnology techniques for designing highly efficient, miniaturized chemical reactions (CMLD initiated in 2002).

For more details about the CMLD projects launched in 2002 and 2003, see

NIGMS Center Grants Will Spice Up Chemical Libraries
October 10, 2002

NIGMS Chemistry Center Grants To Expand Drug Discovery Toolkit
October 1, 2003

For information about the awards, see /Research/FeaturedPrograms/CMLD/ or contact Alisa Machalek in the NIGMS Office of Communications and Public Liaison at (301) 496-7301 or