(May 27, 2015) -- Meet Doug Frantz. The Max and Minnie Tomerlin Voelcker Distinguished Professor in Chemistry was selected by the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly & Co. to receive its Outstanding Open Innovation Drug Discovery Collaborator Award.
For the past five years, Frantz’s graduate and post-doctoral students have developed nearly 1,500 new chemical compounds. Under a collaborative agreement, Eli Lilly has studied the compounds for their potential as medicinal treatments.
“Every day, my students read 20 to 30 chemical journal articles and try to figure out what people have done in the past,” said Frantz. “We try to build on those findings, figure out ways to combine chemical reactions and set up conditions where two molecules can come together and create a new molecule.”
Two of the UTSA compounds Eli Lilly & Co. is considering could potentially treat schizophrenia and chronic pain.
“We signed a research agreement that is allowing UTSA students to do chemistry in their Indianapolis laboratories using robots that follow the instructions our students provide to their synthetic chemists,” said Frantz. “The robots run the compounds through various analytical tests and our students observe the tests on a computer screen in our laboratory.”
Frantz says that synthetic chemistry is not easy; it requires great patience as students learn the laborious process of trial and error. The students that take on the challenge, he says, make the best scientists across all disciplines.
“It’s a frustratingly lengthy process, and 99 times out of 100, the ideas don’t work. But that one time when they get that one reaction to work, the celebrations make it all worth it,” said Frantz.
Frantz joined UTSA in 2005 after serving on the faculty at UT Southwestern and as part of the research and development team at Merck and Co. He earned his doctoral degree in organic chemistry from Texas A&M University and his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches.
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The events are a collaborative effort between student organizations, student led-groups, and campus departments.
Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
The UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy invites everyone to its monthly lecture and stargazing event
Flawn Sciences Building (FLN 2.02.02), Main Campus
The UTSA and San Antonio communities are invited to see the Roadrunners in action during this free game that marks the end of the spring workouts season.
Dub Farris Athletic Complex, 8400 North Loop 1604 W), San Antonio
The UTSA Alumni Association and the San Antonio Parks Foundation will co-host the official Fiesta event. The outdoor event is family-friendly, with live music, lawn games, a free mechanical bull ride, photo fun, local food, fresh sips, local art and cowboy merch. Admission is free for those who RSVP online, however there will be a $10 entry charge at the gates on the day of the event, as capacity allows.
UTSA Park West Athletics Complex
UTSA is a designated early voting site for the May 4 Joint, General and Special Election. Any registered Bexar County voter can skip the lines and cast a ballot at UTSA from Monday, April 22 to Tuesday, April 30.
H-E-B Student Union Bexar Room (HSU 1.102), Main Campus
The Campus Master Plan task force and Page consultants will share the initial draft of the master plan.
Student Union Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02), Main Campus
The Campus Master Plan task force and Page consultants will hold a series of meetings in late April and early May to share the initial draft of the master plan.
Buena Vista Street Building Aula Canaria (BVB 1.328), Downtown Campus
In this UTSA 50th anniversary speaker series, Roger Enriquez, UTSA associate professor of criminal justice, explores how immigration past and present helps us understand its future.
Casa Hernán, 411 Cevallos St., San Antonio
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