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Headshots of Lamees Hegazy and Bahaa Elgendy

Elgendy and Hegazy Receive $3.1 Million NIH Grant to Support Chronic Pain Research

Bahaa Elgendy, Ph.D., associate professor of medicinal chemistry at University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis and Lamees Hegazy, Ph.D., associate professor of computational and medicinal chemistry at UHSP, were the recent recipients of a $3.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to support research focused on the treatment of inflammatory pain.

The five-year grant will allow Elgendy and Hegazy, and their research collaborators, to further investigate the role of the REV-ERB nuclear receptors as a viable target for the treatment of inflammatory pain. Elgendy and Hegazy will leverage the known physiological functions of REV-ERB in chronic inflammation and use a chemical biology approach to identify novel REV-ERV ligands with superior pharmacological profiles, with the goal of advancing the potential therapy to clinical trials.

Elgendy and Hegazy are serving as principal investigators on the project, along with Kristine Griffett, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmacology at Auburn University.

“Chronic inflammation affects millions of Americans each year and can manifest into a variety of chronic pain conditions,” Elgendy explained. “Unfortunately, many of the current therapeutics used to treat chronic pain, such as NSAIDS and opioids, can cause unwanted side effects and have the potential to become addictive. As a result, there is a critical need for alternative therapeutic drug targets to treat individuals who experience Chronic Inflammatory Pain.”

This grant is important because it will give us the chance to continue our research in this area and help us pave the way towards developing new clinical drug candidates with the potential to alleviate chronic pain conditions.

Work on the project is now underway and will continue through 2027.

“As we expand on our work in this area, we hope that our efforts will encourage the wider research community to further explore the functions of REV-ERB and its potential role in chronic pain and other disease states,” Elgendy noted.

Elgendy and Hegazy’s research is conducted through the Department of Pharmaceutical and Administrative Sciences at UHSP and at the Center for Clinical Pharmacology. Established in 2015, the Center for Clinical Pharmacology is a partnership between University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis and the Department of Anesthesiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The center continues to diversify with faculty investigators currently engaged in a variety of diverse research areas.

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