UCI Pharmaceutical Sciences Professors Awarded COVID-19 Research Awards

Professors Return to Labs to work on COVID-19 specific Research

Four UCI Pharmaceutical Sciences Faculty, Professors Andrej Luptak, John Chaput and Young Jik Kwon have been awarded COVID-19 Research awards by UCI to work on COVID-19 specific research. Their work offers the promise of major, and possibly immediate, impact on efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID19 and minimize the negative effects of the pandemic.

John Chaput

Diagnostics & Gene Silencing Therapeutics

Our research aims to create diagnostic agents that are rapid and simple to use. Similar to an over the counter pregnancy test, our assay will be nearly instantaneous and colorimetric, providing a straightforward way for healthcare workers to quickly identify and treat patients with COVID-19. In addition the Chaput lab will be working to create a novel class of drugs that would block the virus from recognizing a protein on the surface of a lung cell.

Young Jik Kwon

Nanoantiviral & Vaccine

The Kwon lab is creating a novel antiviral agent that can be inhaled and hinder the virus from growing and spreading. The are also working to develop an effective vaccine. They are also working to develop an effective vaccine.

Andrej Luptak

Blocking and Detecting COVID-19

The Luptak lab is developing specialized, but easily produced, molecules that can block the virus from spreading within the lung tissue of a patient. Similarly, we are developing a diagnostic tool that would allow direct detection of the nCoV-2 virus in patient samples within minutes.

Weian Zhao


The Zhao Lab proposed point-of-care test (POCT) can work at the community level (e.g. clinics, pharmacies, drive-through testing sites, airports) for rapid screening with time-to-result in less than 30 min and with no need for trained personnel. Their technology holds great potential to enable rapid screening in the communities to prevent, contain and slow down spreading as well as identify and triage patients for immediate treatment interventions. Surveillance data provided by this tool can also enable policy makers to employ differential strategies on a community-by-community basis. Therefore, this project can potentially make an immediate, significant, and broad societal impact by helping to save millions of lives and trillions of dollars for our already overwhelmed healthcare system.

To learn more about these projects please contact us at sppscomm@uci.edu.

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