According to RFA-AT-14-006, the greater objective of a Center for Advancing Natural Products Innovation and Technology (CANPIT) is to develop, consolidate, and disseminate technologies in order to overcome methodological obstacles in natural products (NP) research, and to establish synergistic interaction between the CANPIT, external experts, and collaborating leading NP investigators. Addressing this demand, the proposed UIC CANPIT integrates three multidisciplinary Technology Research & Development (TR&D) Projects operated by an investigator team with a strong record of collaboration, innovation, and excellence in NP research. The UIC CANPIT will develop, and actively share, cutting edge bioanalytical methodologies that address important biomedical questions and advance the holistic approach to NP agents and their metabolomic complexity. The methodological improvements will address persistent needs in translational NP research: targeted and reproducible separation (TR&D Project 1), universal purity analysis, advanced structure de-replication and determination (TR&D Project 2), as well as targeted high-sensitivity detection and quantification of NPs and their pharmacokinetic metabolites (TR&D Project 3). The bioanalytical focus of the UIC CANPIT matches the majority (6 of 8) of the Specific Areas of Research Interest identified in the RFA. Moreover, this focus reflects the wealth of preliminary data and the availability of numerous innovative NP technologies that originate from the UIC team and are ready for adaptation, collaboration, and dissemination. Accordingly, the Projects 1/2/3 have both hypothesis- and sharing-driven aims that seek to develop, consolidate, and adapt cutting edge NP methodologies. Plans for sharing mechanisms (adapt- and/or develop-to-share) feature the status of the CANPIT technology and proposals for collaborative research with nine outside Technology Demonstration Projects (TDPs) are presented. In addition to coordinating the CANPIT-TDP interactions, the objective of the Coordination & Dissemination (C&D) Project is to harmonize the research output of the UIC CANPIT, mine bioanalytical NP knowledge, produce Good Research Practices (GRPs) documentation for NPs, and promote the coherence of the CANPIT outcomes. An Administrative & Management (A&M) Core will manage the center’s meeting and reporting functions and coordinate the intra- and extramural resources and relationships. The UIC CANPIT will receive substantial institutional and outside support as documented in 20 support letters. Working closely with the assigned NCCAM scientist and the External Advisory Committee, the PI/PD and his team seek to achieve the ultimate objective of establishing leadership in NP research methodology through bioanalytical innovation and active sharing in order to overcome the methodological hurdles currently faced by the natural products community.
Public Health Relevance
This project seeks to establish the UIC Natural Products Technology Center to serve as a national resource and provide leadership for the advancement of innovative technologies and methods used in natural products research. The program develops, adapts and shares cutting edge approaches in separation, structural analysis, and biomedical mass spectrometry technologies for chemical and biological investigations that will transform the current state-of-the-art characterization of natural health products. The integrated program will be a unique resource to be maintained within the highly interdisciplinary pharmacognosy research environment at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and will be made broadly available for translational clinical research involving dietary supplements and other natural products.