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Drug advances for neurological diseases discussed

March 2, 2010

KALAMAZOO--The latest research into chemicals developed to treat the effects of strokes, transmission of pain, migraine headaches and assorted neurological diseases will be explored at Western Michigan University Thursday, March 11, by a chemist who has helped develop drugs to combat such maladies.

Dr. Richard B. Silverman is a recognized leader in the field of medicinal chemistry and the inventor of Lyrica, a blockbuster drug used to treat epilepsy and neuropathic pain. His presentation, at 5 p.m. in Room 1720 of the WMU Chemistry Building, is titled "Selective Neuronal Nitric Oxide Synthase Inhibitors for the Prevention and Treatment of Neurodegenerative Diseases." It is free and open to the public.

Silverman, the John Evans Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University, will discuss the development of a new class of drugs that have the potential for treating neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), head trauma, epilepsy and stroke.

Prior to his current appointment, Silverman was the Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence, also at Northwestern. He has received a number of important teaching awards, including the E. LeRoy Hall Award for Teaching Excellence and the Northwestern University Alumni Teaching Award. He also has won prestigious awards for research, such as the Arthur C. Cope Senior Scholar Award of the American Chemical Society and the Perkin Medal awarded by the Society of Chemical Industry.

His visit to WMU is made possible by the Visiting Scholars and Artists Program and co-sponsored by the Department of Chemistry and Kalexsyn, a medicinal drug research company in WMU's Business Technology and Research Park.

The WMU Visiting Scholars and Artists Program was established in 1960 to contribute to the intellectual life of WMU and the community by providing funds for academic units to bring distinguished scholars and artists to campus. In addition to meeting with faculty and students, these scholars address the community at large. Since its inception, the program has supported more than 600 visits by scholars and artists representing more than 60 academic disciplines.

The chair of the committee that oversees the program is Dr. Elke Schoffers, associate professor of chemistry.

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Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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