Lakshmi P Kotra, B.Pharm (Hons), PhD
– Professor, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto
– Scientist, Toronto General Research Institute, University Health Network
– Director, Center for Molecular Design and Preformulations, UHN
– Scientific Director (Toronto-based), UHN-Shanghai
Keywords: Drug Discovery, Medicinal Chemistry, Drug Formulations, Small Molecule Drugs, Biologics, Cancer, Diabetes, Neuropathy and pain, Multiple Sclerosis, Malaria, Viral Infections, Thrombocytopenia.
Research Interests. The Kotra group is a multi-disciplinary group adapting an integrated approach in drug discovery that combines advanced principles in computer modeling, medicinal chemistry and biochemistry for efficient drug discovery process. Interests of the group lie in understanding enzyme/receptor structures; identifying underlying principles in the disease process; designing molecular intervention strategies using synthetic medicinal chemistry; confirming the biological/therapeutic activities of the designed compounds; and performing animal efficacy studies using disease models. Our group collaborates extensively with molecular biologists, structural biologists and clinician-scientists around the globe. Chemistry is at the core of all our research programs
Research Projects: The Kotra group currently has a number of exciting ongoing drug discovery projects. These include structure-based design of (1) inhibitors against orotidine monophosphate decarboxylase (ODCase), (2) drugs effective for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease, (3) interferon mimetics as broad-spectrum antivirals, (4) drugs targeting thrombocytopenia and (5) antimalarials. Students and staff conduct chemical, biochemical and animal studies, as well as drug formulations experiments to translate discoveries into medicines. A number of other medically relevant projects are underway initiated by various industry partners in the areas of biologics, natural products and drug delivery. Research in the Kotra group is funded through a variety of public and private sector grants and contracts.
Kotra Group Accomplishments: The Kotra group has made significant contributions in medicinal chemistry and drug discovery leading to a number of licenses and translation into preclinical development. These include three novel classes of antimalarials, drugs for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy, pre-lead compounds targeting neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis (MS), and functionally effective agonists to interferon receptor as potential antiviral agents. Group activities have produced several license agreements with private sector partners, including three start-up companies.
Core Technical Expertise: The Kotra group has technical competency/expertise in synthetic medicinal chemistry, computational chemistry and biochemical and animal studies, spanning small molecule therapeutics as well as biologics. Designing new strategies, especially in small molecule drug discovery, is a unique and special strength in the group.
Toronto Medical Discovery Tower
5th Floor Room 5-401, 101 College Street
Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1L7