Shanghai Key Lab of New Drug Design

1. Brief Introduction

Shanghai Key Laboratory of New Drug Design (SKLNDD) was founded in November 2011, under the approval and funding of the Shanghai Science and Technology Committee (STCSM), and passed the acceptance in October 2013. The current academic committee director is Prof. Luhua Lai, and the current laboratory director is Prof. Honglin Li.

Based on the disciplines of pharmaceutical sciences and in combination with relevant research directions of ECUST, SKLNDD attempts to integrate superior disciplines to enhance the innovation of pharmaceutical basic research. Guided by the national and Shanghai science and technology strategic planning, the research directions of SKLNDD mainly focus on three aspects: medicinal chemical biology method, drug information and design method, and drug synthesis and optimization method.

There are currently 45 research members in SKLNDD, all of whom have doctoral degrees, and the young and middle-aged talents under 45-year old account for 68%. The honored professorships and awards include: The National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars (2), Changjiang Professorship Awards (2), National Youth Science and Technology Innovation Leader (2), National Program for Support of Top-notch Young Professionals (2), Outstanding Youth Science Foundation (4). The independent research groups are linked together through research projects, to form an efficient and innovative drug research group at a higher level.

2. Laboratory Director

Prof. Honglin Li received his bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering and, and PhD degree in engineering mechanics at Dalian University of Technology in 2000 and 2005, respectively. As a post-docto, he studied at Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica from July 2005 to May 2008. Since March 2008, he worked at School of Pharmacy in East China University of Science & Technology as a Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Computational Chemistry. The major academic rewards he has received include: the 13th Science and Technology Award for Chinese Youth (2013), National Youth Science and technology innovation leader (2015), “Ten Thousand Talent Program” Leading scientist (2017), National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars (2018).

For addressing bottlenecks in current drug design methods, Dr. Honglin Li devotes himself to developing novel computational tools, which are well validated in web lab, to rationalize and improve the efficiency, speed and cost-effectiveness of the drug discovery process. He has made some innovative achievements by combining dry/wet research approaches in drug design, drug interaction mechanism investigation and target identification. He has developed several in silico target identification and drug design methods, and obtained a series of novel lead compounds during the validation of those methodologies against various targets of diseases such as malaria, T2DM and cancer. After structural optimization with his special expertise and experience in drug design, some modeified leads have entered pre-clinical studies. Presently, he has published more than 130 papers on PNAS, Nucl. Acids Res., J. Med. Chem. and J. Chem. Inf. Model. etc, participated in the compilation of five monographs, and applied for more than 60 patents with 30 being granted.

3. Research Directions

The research directions of SKLNDD mainly focus on three aspects: medicinal chemical biology method, drug information and design method, and drug synthesis and optimization method. The three closely linked directions are connected to each other to allow full play to the advantages of interdisciplinary disciplines, forming the distinct characteristics and advantages of the key laboratory.

4. Laboratory Facility

The laboratory comprehensively utilizes the existing experimental conditions to integrate superior resources, and establishes a research system with centralized target, strong regulation and integration. Based on this, several innovative research teams have been formed, such as drug screening and pharmacology platform, neuropharmacology and chemical biology platform, pharmaceutical chemistry biology platform, and pharmaceutical preparation and pharmaceutical engineering research platform, covering an area of over 3,100 square meters. Additionally, the public instrument platform built with School of Pharmacy has a number of large-scale instruments such as Biacore T200, LC-MS, and ITC 200. The public instrument platform has joined the Shanghai R&D public service platform and is available 24 hours a day for appointment services. The instrument reservation website is