Dr. Chris Rochet
Dr Yoon Yeo
Monday, February 13, 2023

The Purdue College of Pharmacy is excited to announce the selection of the first annual Geriatric Research Support Award.

Through the generosity of Dr. Victor Yanchick, former pharmacy faculty member and Purdue Pharmacy alumnus PhD ’68, this award is designed to support research in the broad area of Geriatric Pharmacotherapy.

Drs. Chris Rochet, professor of medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology, and Yoon Yeo, professor of industrial and physical pharmacy and biomedical engineering, were selected by a panel of pharmacy faculty members as the first recipients of the award.

Geriatric pharmacotherapy is an area aimed at developing treatment strategies that are tailored to the unique needs of older patients.

“Our population continues to age,” Rochet said. “The incidence of age-related disorders such as Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is increasing. Unfortunately, these disorders (which affect tens of millions of individuals around the world) are currently only treated with drugs that help alleviate symptoms but have no impact on the underlying neuron death in the brain. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop new “disease-modifying” therapies that delay the onset of PD or AD or slow disease progression, as we’re aiming to do here.”

RNAs have significant therapeutic potential for undruggable diseases, including neurological disorders.

“The issue has always been the lack of a carrier to deliver RNAs to target organs such as the brain,” Yeo said. “Lipid nanoparticles have been successful for local delivery of antigen-encoding mRNA or hepatic delivery of small RNAs, but conventional systems have not met the need for addressing other organs. Our new carrier called ‘Nanosac’ has features that make it promising for brain delivery.”

Rochet adds that their teams are excited to receive this award.

“Although our labs are in a great position to carry out this study, a limitation in developing such a program is the need for funding to launch the research and obtain key data that can be used to compete for additional support. Receiving the Geriatric Research Award to start this program will allow our research to potentially have a high impact on the treatment of PD and other age-related disorders.”