Walters Research Group

The Lead and Probe Discovery Core of the Institute of Therapeutics Discovery and Development

Dr. Michael A. Walters is Director of the Lead and Probe Discovery Core of the ITDD.  The Lead and Probe Discovery Core is a full-service parallel chemistry group that specializes in the optimization of compounds that are confirmed as active hits from high-throughput screening.  The process of optimization employed by the LPD features a cycle of design, synthesis, purification, and assay. 

The LPD uses the tools of cheminformatics and the principles of medicinal chemistry to design arrays of follow up compounds based on the structures of the confirmed actives. These arrays help the medicinal chemists in the LPD develop structure-activity and structure-physical property relationships (SAR, SPR) between analogs of the confirmed hits.  These arrays are synthesized using the parallel chemistry equipment available in the LPD.  Compounds are purified in our high-throughput purification group and are made available in plates for screening.  Assay results in the form of SAR and SPR guide subsequent iterations of the optimization cycle, allowing the effective and rapid follow up of multiple active series.

Research

The Walters group is actively involved in several research and development projects:

(1) The discovery and development of compounds to treat the dementia associated with several neurological diseases, including Alzheimer's disease. This project is in collaboration with the research group of Dr. Karen Ashe, and is support by the Grossman Center for Memory Research and Care.

(2) Development of new therapeutics to treat heart valve stenosis. This is a Minnesota Partnership project that involves close collaboration with researchers at the Mayo Clinic. Our primary collaborator is Dr. Jordan Miller.