Dr. J. Phillip Bowen
Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences
- B.S., Chemistry, Piedmont College
- Ph.D., Organic Chemistry, Emory University
Research Background and Interests
The use of pharmaceutical agents is one of the most effective treatments in modern medicine. Relying on drug therapies is an inexpensive and effective approach to combat various disease states, alleviate medical conditions, and function as useful preventive agents.
Dr. Bowen’s research interests span the fields of organic, medicinal, and theoretical chemistry. Specifically, the Bowen research group is using computational chemistry and computer-assisted drug design (CADD) methods for the design of novel antiangiogenic agents for the treatment of cancer and related diseases. Cancer is a broadly defined term used to describe not just one disease but many, each of which are characterized by abnormal cell proliferation. The underlying causes that bring about this abnormal cellular behavior are specific to each type of cancer. The success of tumor-targeted therapy has been limited by this diversity and other factors. Since all cancer cells require a suitable supply of blood, tumor vasculature is an interesting therapeutic intervention.
The basic idea behind the approach of antiangiogenisis treatment is to interrupt the new blood supply for tumors. The concept is based on suggestions first made by Dr. Judah Folkman. For continued growth, development and functioning, tumor masses require a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients as well as efficient mechanisms for waste removal. Without this new blood supply, tumors will not grow beyond the size of approximately 2 mm and remain in a dormant stage. The process of blood vessel growth from preexisting vasculature, stimulated by biochemical signals, is termed angiogenesis. The goal of antiangiogenic therapy is to interfere with the mechanism of positive regulators of angiogensesis. In the Bowen group, a series of inhibitors have been developed based on the natural products fumagillin, curcumin and solenopsin.
- PHA 352/382 Computer-Assisted Drug Design
- PHA 453 Cardiovascular/Renal Disorders II
- PHA 809 Principles of Drug Action
Early in my college studies I decided to pursue an academic career so that I could position myself in an environment of life-long learning. I have a deep desire to understand the physicochemical basis of drug action in the human body. I find it utterly fascinating that we can predict biological activity based on molecular structures with computational chemistry methods. Throughout my personal journey of discovery, I have always had a passion to share what I have learned with others. Since 1986 I have been fortunate to have taught a variety of courses that reflect my research and personal interests. These courses ranged from organic and medicinal chemistry to physical and computational chemistry.
When teaching organic chemistry I would always use pharmaceutical and medical examples to excite the students and show connectivity that might not be appreciated when immersed in details. When teaching physical chemistry I would try to show the relevance to physiology and drug design. My goal at Mercer COP is to present relevant medicinal chemistry concepts that are the foundations of drug action in the human body.
When I was a student I had many excellent teachers who inspired me to try to excel in the classroom. I have tried to blend into my own classroom presentations the different styles of teaching that I enjoyed as a student and thought were most effective. My teaching philosophy may best be summarized by this simple phrase, show respect to students. This means that a teacher must be prepared for lectures, be available for students after class hours and be able to provide an environment in which students feel comfortable in asking questions without being intimidated. I have endeavored to apply these simple guidelines throughout my professional academic career. Students seem to enjoy that I bring humor into the classroom and mix personal stories and/or relevant news items into lecture materials to illustrate concepts.
I believe in trying to serve as a model for my students and to excite them about the material we are covering. My teaching style coupled with the subject matter I have taught has literally changed the career paths of many young adults who have elected to pursue research careers in computer-assisted drug design or medicinal chemistry. On many occasions students have told me the influence I have had on their education and career pathways. This is gratifying and shows the positive influence that professors can have on students inside and outside the classroom. I have endeavored to work with students outside of classroom lectures through office hours, informal study sessions, and formal review sessions. So I try to make an effort to connect with students personally and professionally.
In summary, I suppose one of the driving forces for trying to be an effective teacher is that I would like to influence my students and be remembered as fondly as I remember the dedicated teachers I had. I have always felt that teaching ideas with passion and having a positive relationship with students will have far-reaching ramifications in their lives and the lives of others. I have always believed in the quote from Henry Brock Adams that “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” So for me, teaching is not an unwanted distraction from an academic research career, but an opportunity to share, to influence, to matter, and to be remembered.
- Stewart, K., Shanley, J., Ahmed, K. B. A., Bowen, J. P., “The Drug Guru Project.” In Bioisosteres in Medicinal Chemistry, Brown, N., Ed., 2012.
- Zhong, H., Wees, M. A., Faure, T. D., Carrillo, C., Arbiser, J., Bowen, J. P., The Impact of Ionization States of Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibitors on Docking-based Inhibitor Design. ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters 2011, 2, 455-460.
- Chawade, A., Fu, L., Bowen, J. P., Processing and Storing Chemical Structures Using Graphical Tools and Databases. IJCSIC, September 2010, 1, 47-51.
- Zhong, H., Bowen, J. P., Binding Free Energy Calculation for Duocarmycin/DNA Complex Based on the QPLD-Derived Partial Charge Model. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 2008, 18, 542-545.
Contact Dr. Bowen