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The RRF’s “Innovative Research Award” is a 2-year grant of $400,000.

The overall objective is to utilize a high throughput cell-based compound screening assay to discover small molecules targeting disease pathways causing progression of joint destruction in OA.

Dr. Loeser and his colleagues will determine the ability of target-selected compounds to restore the catabolic and anabolic balance in joint tissues, and perform pre-clinical testing of selected compounds in an in vivo model of OA.

Dr. Richard Loeser is Director of the UNC Thurston Arthritis Research Center (TARC), and the Joseph P. Archie, Jr. Eminent Professor of Medicine in the UNC Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology.

He is joined by co-PI Kenneth Pearce, PhD, a Research Professor within the Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery (CICBDD) in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy; Phillip Coryell, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Loeser lab; and co-investigators Dr. Lara Longobardi from TARC and Dr. Shawn Gomez from the UNC-NC State Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering.