In October 2021, the H3D Foundation sponsored an in-person 2-day “Introduction to Drug Discovery” Workshop in Cape Town, hosting 23 participants from across South Africa.
Prof Kelly Chibale, Chairman and CEO of the H3D Foundation, shared wisdom from his personal journey into Drug Discovery.
“If you have a vision to do something, you have to stick to that vision that you received,” he said. “When I made up my mind about what I wanted to do, I refused to look to the left or the right. That consistency is so important – you have got to be convinced.”
The workshop included a guest lecture by Dr Miquel Duran-Frigola, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Ersilia, on machine learning tools to support drug discovery projects. Ersilia is working with the H3D Centre and the H3D Foundation on machine learning/artificial intelligence drug discovery capacity building projects. The workshop included presentations by a number of H3D Staff: Dr John Woodland, chemical biologist Ms Jessika Akester, senior research scientist, Dr Susan Winks, Dr Liezl Gibhard and Dr Mathew Njoroge, Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics (PK) investigators.
“There are currently no drug discovery courses in South Africa”, says Dr Susan Winks, workshop organizer and co-Founding Director of H3D Foundation “but we are growing the drug discovery community locally and across the region – there is therefore a need for these types of courses and workshops accessible to post graduate students and researchers of all levels from various disciplines across the health innovation value chain.” The H3D Foundation is filling that gap with practical workshops that enable a deeper understanding of integrated drug discovery through coupling breakaway groups with lectures on theory and case studies.
Participants provided positive feedback about practical examples and group discussions aiding in their understanding of various drug discovery topics, including decision-making tools for compound prioritization and screening cascade development.
The article was written by Ms Alacia Armstrong on behalf of the H3D Foundation.
This is a very good inititive for us africans . I am a student of pharmaceutical chemistry honours degree program at University of Zimbabwe ,currently enrolled in my last semester of the level two. I have recently done some course on introduction to molecular modelling in drug discovery and its advanced level course High-Throughput Virtual Screening for Hit Finding and Evaluation, which teach best practices for virtual screening of large ligand libraries. This course offer hands-on work with Schrödinger’s Small Molecule Drug Discovery software and advanced techniques, such as Active Learning Glide and Absolute Binding Free Energy Perturbation. The course had no limits on the level of education so my ask is , can someone who is not a postgrad be part of this initiative since the workshops seem to be only for those students in their postgrad level. I am a young scientist with so much passion for this field of CAD drug design and discovery being able to attend these workshops will undoubtedly be something i will love for my career growth and having access to world class mentorship .