As professor and founding director of the Center for Drug Discovery (CDD) at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Daniel LaBarbera, PhD, is leading the forefront of drug innovation.
LaBarbera’s laboratory at the CDD is powered by robotic technology that can test hundreds to thousands of different drugs at a time to determine their potential efficacy in treating a multitude of diseases. (The CDD can typically screen 50,000-to-100,000 unique drug molecules in a single project.)
By optimizing the analysis of new drugs and therapies, LaBarbera and his collaborators can shepherd promising new drugs and therapies to clinicians faster – helping people in Colorado and beyond live longer, healthier lives.
Below, LaBarbera shares a peek into his world of drug discovery and how it brings meaning to his life outside the lab.
What led you to specialize in your area of expertise?
As a young adult I enjoyed building structures and solving unknown challenges. In college, I found I had an aptitude for biology and chemistry, and medicinal chemistry and pharmacology allow me to build molecules with unique structures that solve challenges in our understanding of human disease. More importantly, my expertise and career allow me to educate the next generation and make innovative discoveries to help people live healthier and longer, which adds purpose and meaning to my work and life.
How does being part of the CU Anschutz Medical Campus ecosystem help you further your work and your professional goals?
CU Anschutz is a diverse and inclusive environment that fosters innovation and collaboration to solve major problems that we face in science, healthcare, and society. As the Director of the Center for Drug Discovery in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, I am fortunate to be at the forefront of drug innovation and development, working with some of the most talented researchers, clinicians, and technology development experts, nationally. The goal of the Center for Drug Discovery is to facilitate and advance academic drug discovery and development to the clinic to improve outcomes for patients in Colorado and the world. CU Anschutz is the best place to achieve this goal.
When I’m not at work, I enjoy...
When I’m not at work, I enjoy spending most of my time with my family and staying active and busy. I also am the cook in my family, so I spend a lot of time shopping for food and preparing home cooked meals for my family. I find cooking to be a unique extension of my professional skills because it allows me to build and create unique meals that keep my family healthy and happy. Being with my family and keeping them healthy and happy brings me purpose, joy and peace.