Our goal is to facilitate the synergistic collaboration of researchers in the chemical and biological sciences to expand basic and clinical biomedical research and to advance translational medicine.

Chemical Biology can reveal new molecular insights into macromolecules and their complexes with proteins, nucleic acids and/or small molecule compounds, probe molecular and biological activities at the individual and system level, and develop new diagnostics, modified RNA, LNPs, and drugs to detect and treat various diseases. The Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM) has formidable strength in basic and translational research, and is poised to grow chemical biology that could significantly extend the reach of the research and provide the ‘glue’ to bring these disciplines together to maximize the development of therapeutics and imaging agents for use in clinical research and clinical practice. The Center for Translational Chemical Biology at PSOM will promote basic biochemical and translational synergies within PSOM and within the broader UPenn community as measured by joint publications, new training opportunities, additional research support, new intellectual property and new diagnostics and treatment for patients.

We will nucleate the efforts described above initially through cross-departmental collaboration with support from the Departments of Biochemistry and Biophysics and the Department of Radiology as well as participating investigators who cut across the Penn campus (see below). Center activities will include Monthly Research Meetings, Sponsored Seminars and Symposia, and Pilot Project Awards. The Center will also coordinate with and leverage the ongoing activities of the NIH-funded Chemistry-Biology Interface Training Program. One goal of the activities of this center is to broaden faculty involvement beyond the initial host departments and beyond PSOM, promote the recruitment of more Chemical Biology faculty to PSOM, SAS and SEAS, and establish a Chemical Biology Graduate Program to make UPenn the formative leader in the area of Translational Chemical Biology.

Specific Areas of Focus

The following areas are highlighted for their use of chemistry and molecular biology to be applied in basic and translational domains:

  1. Molecular characterization of macromolecules and their complexes

  2. Chemoinformatics and computational chemistry

  3. Chemical probe and compound library development

  4. Use of chemical tools to probe biological systems

  5. Engineered molecular systems and synthetic biology

  6. Nanotechnology development and biological applications

  7. Chemistry-guided therapeutic intervention

  8. Development and application of translational diagnostics and drugs

  9. Engineered immunotherapies, biologics (e.g. antibody-drug-conjugates, bispecifics), and mRNA/vaccines

News and Announcements

  • Congratulations Drs. Taabazuing and Burslem Tuesday, October 31, 2023

    Congratulations to Dr. Cornelius Taabazuing and Dr. George Burslem on being awarded CTCB's 2nd Pilot Grant. They will be studying small molecule tools for investigating innate immune regulation. 

  • New gene-editing technique can ‘turn on’ enzymes that cause DNA base mutations Thursday, October 28, 2021

    The novel Penn method has been patented and allows for new possibilities in biologic and therapeutic research, including for cancer

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