Research by UNCW Chemistry Professor Jeremy Morgan Could Aid in Creating New Medicines

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

In a lab he shares with three other faculty scholars, chemistry and biochemistry professor Jeremy Morgan is leading research that could lead to the creation of new medicines. The research, funded by the National Institutes of Health, is focused on producing nitrogen-based molecules that could be used in the pharmaceutical manufacturing process. 

The molecules may not become new medicines, but they could potentially be used to develop them. A large number of new medicines are manmade, using synthetic molecules like the ones Morgan and his team of students are producing. 

“We are creating synthetic compounds,” said Morgan, whose field is organic chemistry. “While we would love to discover a new drug, the research is focused on creating more efficient chemical processes for producing new pharmaceuticals.” 

Morgan was recently awarded a renewal of his NIH grant in a competitive process, this time for $360,250. Overall, the project has received funding totaling $682,841 through the NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences. 

Morgan is one of many UNCW faculty members who had to relocate following extensive damage to Dobo Hall resulting from Hurricane Florence. His temporary office and lab are in the MARBIONC building at the Center for Marine Science at Myrtle Grove. 

But the shared lab accommodates his undergraduate and graduate research assistants, who work with him to create compounds that are stored in tiny vials for future testing to determine their potential use in creating new pharmaceuticals. 

“The research Dr. Morgan is conducting has the potential to affect countless lives,” said Aswani Volety, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “He and his students have demonstrated incredible determination and resiliency as they have continued this project despite being displaced by Hurricane Florence – and have even secured renewed funding.” 

Faculty and student research are key components of UNCW’s Strategic Plan

-- Tricia Vance


Jeremy Morgan (left) and graduate student Mark Healey (right) hold boxes of vials in Morgan's lab at MARBIONC.
UNCW Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Jeremy Morgan (left) and graduate student Mark Healey hold vials of new molecules created under a grant from the National Institutes of Health.