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photo of malto presenter
University of Houston Biology undergraduate student Nga Nguyen, a lab member of UHCOP Associate Professor Joydip Das, Ph.D., explains her poster project to UHCOP Professor Ming Hu, Ph.D., at the MALTO meeting.

43rd Annual MALTO Comes to Houston

UHCOP Hosts Regional Event May 22-24 for Student, Postdoc Researchers in Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy

As host of the 43rd Annual MALTO Meeting-in-Miniature May 22-24, UH College of Pharmacy welcomed more than 70 attendees from five states to share their latest research in the discovery and design of synthetic compounds and natural products within the fields of medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy for the treatment of cancer, inflammation, oxidative stress, and cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.

The meeting kicked off with welcoming remarks by F. Lamar Pritchard, Ph.D., R.Ph., UHCOP dean, and Ramanan Krishnamoorti, Ph.D., UH Interim Vice President of Research and Technology Transfer/UH System vice chancellor of Research and Technology Transfer. In addition, Richard A.F. Dixon, Ph.D., director of the Drug Discovery Program at the Texas Heart Institute, presented the "Learnings from the Development of Highly Selective Endothelin A Receptor Antagonists and Recent Insights into Integrin Modulators" for the keynote A. Nelson Voldeng Memorial Lecture.

For more event photos, please visit MALTO album on FlickR.

More than 30 poster presentations and 16 podium presentations by undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows were made at the meeting, with three awards for the top presentations. The first-place awardees were:

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University of Mississippi Professor and MALTO President John Rimoldi, Ph.D., congratulates presentation award winners, left, Qinghui Wang of the University of Tennessee and, right, Satya Prakash Shukla of the University of Houston College of Pharmacy.
  • The Robert A. Magarian Outstanding Podium Presentation Award – Qinghui Wang, graduate student at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, who presented "Structural Optimization of ABI-231 Targeting the Colchicine Site in Tubulin for Advanced Melanoma." Wang's UTHSC coauthors of the project were fellow graduate student Arnst E. Kinsie and faculty members Duane D. Miller, Ph.D., and Wei Li, Ph.D.
  • The Thomas L. Lemke Outstanding Poster Presentation Award – Abu Bakar Siddique, graduate student at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, for his project, "Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Based Oleocanthal: A Promising Lead for the Control of C-Met-Dependent Breast Malignancies." Siddique's coauthors were fellow graduate students Hassan Y. Ebrahim and Mohamed M. Mohyeldin, and project sponsor Khalid El Sayed, Ph.D.
  • The Ronald F. Borne Outstanding Postdoctoral Poster Presentation Award – Satya Prakash Shukla, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of project sponsor UHCOP Associate Professor D. Gomika Udugamasooriya, Ph.D. Shukla's poster, entitled "Homo- and Hetero-Multimerizations of Peptoids to Target Cancer," was coauthored by fellow UHCOP postdoctoral fellows Joseph Manarang, Ph.D., and Jaspal Singh, Ph.D., and Udugamasooriya's former colleagues at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Philip E. Thorpe, Ph.D. (deceased), and Rolf A. Brekken, Ph.D.

MALTO's roots date back to 1974 when UHCOP Professor Emeritus Thomas Lemke and fellow founders organized the first meeting for institutions from Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma (lending to the original name of "ALTO"), with Mississippi joining after the 1977 meeting. Attendance at the nonprofit organization's annual meetings often includes researchers from other states not incorporated into the MALTO moniker, such as Georgia and Tennessee. The meetings are intended to foster share research in an atmosphere of fellowship but also provide a venue for graduate students, undergraduate students and postdoctoral fellows to hone their presentation skills.

The organizing committee for the 43rd meeting comprised UHCOP Medicinal Chemistry faculty members Greg D. Cuny, Ph.D., Joydip Das, Ph.D., Ke-He Ruan, Ph.D., M.D., Udugamasooriya, and Louis Williams, Ph.D., along with UHCOP staff member Daniel Chang.

For more information about the meeting and the organization, visit the MALTO section