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Patrick M Woster PhD

Endowed Chair, SmartState for Drug Discovery

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  • Professor
  • College of Pharmacy
  • COP Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences
Academic Focus
  • Design, synthesis and biological evaluation of epigenetic modulators, antitumor and antiparasitic agents.
  • Discovery of small molecules that stimulate immune function for use in cancer immunotherapy.
  • Epigenetic modulators as antiinflammatory agents for the treatment of periodontal disease.
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Patrick M. Woster currently serves as Distinguished University Professor, Chair and SmartState® Endowed Chair in Drug Discovery at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Woster received a B.S. in Pharmacy in 1978 and a Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry in 1987, both from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He was a postdoctoral associate in Chemistry at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Michigan, mentored by James K. Coward. 

            Dr. Woster has conducted research in multiple areas, including the discovery of inhibitors of the polyamine pathway, novel antimalarial, antitrypanosomal and antibacterial agents, a variety of antitumor compounds, chemopreventive agents and epigenetic modulators. He is perhaps best known for the 1996 discovery (in collaboration with David Edwards) of 6,7-dihydroxybergamottin, the constituent in grapefruit juice that inhibits cytochrome P450 in the gut, altering the bioavailability of numerous therapeutic agents. In collaboration with Robert A. Casero, he was also the first to produce small-molecule inhibitors of lysine-specific demethylase 1, the first-discovered histone demethylase, and to show that inhibition of this enzyme promoted the re-expression of tumor suppressor factors. Most recently, he has expanded his work with epigenetic modulators to non-cancer diseases such as sickle cell disease, cardiovascular reperfusion injury and periodontal disease. His research has consistently been supported by NIH, WHO, the Doris Duke Foundation and several other external sources. He has authored more than 145 manuscripts, holds 11 patents and has given numerous invited presentations. Dr. Woster was Chair of the 2009 Polyamine Gordon Research Conference, and Chair of the 2014 National Medicinal Chemistry Symposium. He has served on numerous grant review panels, including more than 40 NIH study sections, is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Medicinal ChemistryGenesMedicinal Chemistry Research and Research and Reports in Medicinal Chemistry, and reviews for more than 50 scientific journals.  

            Dr. Woster is a Fellow of the American Chemical Society (2014), the Royal Society of Chemistry (2015), the Asian Federation of Medicinal Chemistry (2017), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2017). In 2019, he was inducted into the ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame.