Targets, Modulators and Delivery Program (TMDP)

TMDP Mission: To develop strategies for the identification and validation of cellular targets for cancer therapy, and for the discovery of small molecules and delivery methods that affect target function.

The TMDP is organized to promote collaboration and catalyze the translation of scientific discoveries from all FPBCC basic research program members, while providing FPBCC members with translational research programs access to potential new targets for therapeutic development and evaluation. The research interests of TMDP faculty are organized around the following three themes:




Target Validation


Develop Modulators for cancer targets


Explore delivery methods

Develop novel approaches for the detection and evaluation of prospective cancer targets. Employ genetic, small molecule and computational analyses to detect and evaluate potential cancer targets, including approaches such as in silico ensemble docking-based screens and high throughput gene expression-based screens.

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Identify and evaluate small molecule modulators that disrupt cancer cell signaling to serve as leads for translation. Utilize synthetic, computational chemistry, and structure-function analysis to identify and test NCEs of defined cancer targets. Preclinical studies with the NCEs build the foundation for eventual clinical trial evaluation

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Develop novel tools and technology to efficiently and selectively deliver small molecules and/or RNAi to tumors. Formulate nanomaterials as customized carriers of anti-cancer agents and for intraoperative tumor imaging, through the use of copolymer-based delivery vehicles, hyaluronic acid-based nanomaterials and multifunctional polycationic nanomaterials.

Program Co-Leaders:

Robert Lewis

Robert Lewis, PhD 
Professor, Eppley Institute


Amar Natarajan

Amar Natarajan, PhD
Professor, Eppley Institute


Sarah Holstein

Sarah Holstein, MD
Associate Professor, Internal Medicine
Division of Oncology & Hematology