Center for Drug Discovery Director Wins Prestigious Award for Remarkable Research Record

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November 1, 2015 — Milton Brown, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Drug Discovery (CDD) at Georgetown Lombardi, recently received the Percy L. Julian Award from the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Engineers (NOBCChE). Bestowed for distinguished contributions in pure or applied research in science or engineering, the award is NOBCChE’s highest honor.

Three people stand side by side
From left: Malinda Gilmore, NOBCChE board chair; Milton Brown, MD, PhD; Talitha Hampton-Mayo, NOBCChE president

Since Brown joined Georgetown Lombardi in 2006, he has led a staff of over 20 researchers in finding and evaluating new drugs and testing them against molecular targets. The CDD seeks to take translational research to the next level, bridging the gap between basic and clinical research. Under Brown’s guidance, scientists from a range of disciplines collaborate to move therapeutic discoveries from their initial concepts to preclinical studies, all the way to the hospital itself.

“One of my biggest passions is developing new compounds that can be translated into better treatments for patients, whether they have cancer or other diseases,” says Brown. “At the same time, I enjoy mentoring young scientists and helping them on their journeys to become great researchers. It is very humbling to be honored by an organization that promotes quality research and encourages the next generation of bright minds to explore the STEM fields.”

Brown has a long history of recognition for his work. He is the principle investigator on the CDD’s Chemical Diversity Center grant from the National Cancer Institute. In 2008, he was appointed as the Edwin H. Richard and Elisabeth Richard von Matsch Endowed Chair for Experimental Therapeutics at Georgetown. In his nearly two decades of research, he has filed patents for compounds to treat a variety of conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, kidney disease and hypertension. In addition to his role as director of the CDD, he is a professor in oncology, neuroscience, pharmacology and physiology, and biochemistry and molecular & cellular biology.

The honor is named after Percy Julian, a prominent chemist renowned for synthesizing medicinal steroids from plants. Brown is the 37th recipient of the honor since it was established in 1975.

“Dr. Brown’s career is so remarkable because it is defined by the ways he has worked to better other people’s lives through science,” says Talitha Hampton, president of NOBCChE. “His dedication and innovation in the field of drug discovery makes him a wonderful role model for students and professionals alike. His commitment to scientific excellence, entrepreneurship, and servant leadership truly embodies the spirit of Percy Julian and demonstrates that scientific curiosity can open up a world of possibilities.”

As he is recognized for his achievements thus far, Brown hasn’t taken his eye off the future.

“The exciting thing about my line of work is that it constantly pushes me to keep raising the bar and pursuing even greater discoveries,” he says. “I’m looking forward to uncovering even more groundbreaking therapies that will raise the standard of care. I never forget that is the reason for my research.”

Meghan Lasswell
GUMC Communications