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Neurosurgery & Brain Repair

Center of Excellence for Aging & Brain Repair

CNS D³ Laboratory


There are three early stages of drug discovery and development (D³). Stage one of D3 begins with the discovery of a specific molecule, a lead active pharmaceutical ingredient (API). Once a molecule with promising biological activity has been identified a second stage (preformulation) identifies a solid form of the molecule that has optimal physicochemical properties. This material is called a drug substance or API. When an API is combined with other materials (e.g. excipients), it enters the third stage of D3 (formulation). The drug product that is most commonly produced is in the form of an oral tablet.

Our laboratory primarily focuses on central nervous system (CNS) D³. Our research strategy often involves naturally derived compounds with therapeutic potential for various neuropsychiatric disorders. Once a lead API is identified, we optimize its therapeutic efficacy using preformulation and formulation interventions. Our preformulation strategy employs crystal engineering techniques to generate novel crystal forms with improved physicochemical properties. These optimal physicochemical properties often lead to improvements in therapeutic efficacy. If the preformulation screens fail to yield the desired improvements in efficacy of a lead API, we apply formulation strategies such as nanocarrier systems.

Key Capabilities

  • Pharmacokinetics (preclinical and clinical)
  • Pharmacokinetics modeling (Phoenix WinNonlin™)
  • Solid form screening (e.g. polymorphs, solvates, salts, cocrystals)
  • Physicochemical characterization (e.g. IR-spectroscopy, powder x-ray diffraction, single crystal x-ray diffraction, differential scanning calorimetry, thermogravimetric analysis, nuclear magnetic resonance)
  • Efficacy
  • Toxicity


We welcome collaborative pursuits and/or contract research. For more information please contact Dr. Doug Shytle.