Christopher R. McCurdy, Ph.D., F.A.A.P.S.

Chris McCurdy

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Contact Info

Dr. Christopher R. McCurdy, Ph.D.
Department of Medicinal Chemistry
College of Pharmacy
Medical Sciences Building
1345 Center Drive, P6-33
PO Box 100485
Gainesville, FL 32611
Tel: 352-294-8691
Websites: Department of Medicinal Chemistry Profile
UF CTSI Translational Drug Development Core


Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Florida College of Pharmacy
Director, UF CTSI Translational Drug Development Core


B.S. Pharmacy, Ohio Northern University, Raabe College of Pharmacy
Ph.D. Medicinal Chemistry, University of Georgia, College of Pharmacy
NIH NIDA Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Minnesota, College of Pharmacy under Distinguished Professor Philip S. Portoghese

Research Interests

Dr. McCurdy’s research focuses on the design, synthesis and development of pharmacotherapy for drug abuse/addiction and pain. Dr. McCurdy is a broadly trained medicinal chemist, behavioral pharmacologist and pharmacist, whose research focuses on the design, synthesis and development of drugs to treat pain and drug abuse. For more than 20 years, much of his research has focused on opioid Neuropeptide FF and sigma receptor ligand/probe design, synthesis, pharmacological evaluation and development. He has been successful in discovering unique and selective tools for sigma receptors, NPFF receptors and opioid receptors. He is an internationally recognized expert on Kratom or Mitragyna speciosa that is under investigation for opioid withdrawal syndrome.

A significant portion of McCurdy’s career has been dedicated to the development of novel sigma receptor ligands in collaboration with a variety of interdisciplinary groups to generate and optimize selective ligands which could serve as critical experimental tools and more recently, as potential medication development leads to attenuate the effects of cocaine, methamphetamine and pain. Most notably, he has developed a PET/MR imaging diagnostic agent for visualizing the origins of chronic, neuropathic pain by interacting with sigma receptors at the site of nerve damage. First-in-human studies are currently underway in a Phase 0 trial. In addition to his discovery chemistry roles, McCurdy serves as the director of the UF Translational Drug Development Core.

Recent Publications

A Role for Sigma Receptors in Stimulant Self-Administration and Addiction. Katz JL, Hiranita T, Hong WC, Job MO, McCurdy CR. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2017 Jan 22. doi: 10.1007/164_2016_94. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 28110353

Quantification of Highly Selective Sigma-1 Receptor Antagonist CM304 using Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry and its application to a Pre-clinical Pharmacokinetic Study. Avery BA, Vuppala PK, Jamalapuram S, Sharma A, Mesangeau C, Chin FT, McCurdy CR. Drug Test Anal. 2016 Dec 30. doi: 10.1002/dta.2156. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 28039926

Suspected Adulteration of Commercial Kratom Products with 7-Hydroxymitragynine. Lydecker AG, Sharma A, McCurdy CR, Avery BA, Babu KM, Boyer EW. J Med Toxicol. 2016 Dec;12(4):341-349. PMID: 27752985

Blockade of Cocaine or σ Receptor Agonist Self Administration by Subtype-Selective σ Receptor Antagonists.Katz JL, Hiranita T, Kopajtic TA, Rice KC, Mesangeau C, Narayanan S, Abdelazeem AH, McCurdy CR. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2016 Jul;358(1):109-24. doi: 10.1124/jpet.116.232728. PMID: 27189970 Free PMC Article

The Sigma-2 Receptor and Progesterone Receptor Membrane Component 1 are Different Binding Sites Derived From Independent Genes. Chu UB, Mavlyutov TA, Chu ML, Yang H, Schulman A, Mesangeau C, McCurdy CR, Guo LW, Ruoho AE. EBioMedicine. 2015 Oct 19;2(11):1806-13. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2015.10.017. PMID: 26870805 Free PMC Article

Sigma-2 Receptors Play a Role in Cellular Metabolism: Stimulation of Glycolytic Hallmarks by CM764 in Human SK-N-SH Neuroblastoma. Nicholson H, Mesangeau C, McCurdy CR, Bowen WD. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2016 Feb;356(2):232-43. doi: 10.1124/jpet.115.228387. PMID: 26574517 Free PMC Article

Further validation to support clinical translation of [(18)F]FTC-146 for imaging sigma-1 receptors. Shen B, James ML, Andrews L, Lau C, Chen S, Palner M, Miao Z, Arksey NC, Shuhendler AJ, Scatliffe S, Kaneshige K, Parsons SM, McCurdy CR, Salehi A, Gambhir SS, Chin FT. EJNMMI Res. 2015 Dec;5(1):49. doi: 10.1186/s13550-015-0122-2. PMID: 26384292 Free PMC Article

In vitro opioid receptor affinity and in vivo behavioral studies of Nelumbo nucifera flower. Kumarihamy M, León F, Pettaway S, Wilson L, Lambert JA, Wang M, Hill C, McCurdy CR, ElSohly MA, Cutler SJ, Muhammad I. J Ethnopharmacol. 2015 Nov 4;174:57-65. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2015.08.006. PMID: 26260436 Free PMC Article

Characterization of CM572, a Selective Irreversible Partial Agonist of the Sigma-2 Receptor with Antitumor Activity. Nicholson H, Comeau A, Mesangeau C, McCurdy CR, Bowen WD. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2015 Aug;354(2):203-12. doi: 10.1124/jpet.115.224105. PMID: 26034081 Free PMC Article

Design, synthesis and biological evaluation of bivalent benzoxazolone and benzothiazolone ligands as potential anti-inflammatory/analgesic agents. Abdelazeem AH, Khan SI, White SW, Sufka KJ, McCurdy CR. Bioorg Med Chem. 2015 Jul 1;23(13):3248-59. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2015.04.057. PMID: 25975638 Free PMC Article

Evaluation of Phytocannabinoids from High Potency Cannabis sativa using In Vitro Bioassays to Determine Structure-Activity Relationships for Cannabinoid Receptor 1 and Cannabinoid Receptor 2. Husni AS, McCurdy CR, Radwan MM, Ahmed SA, Slade D, Ross SA, ElSohly MA, Cutler SJ. Med Chem Res. 2014 Sep 1;23(9):4295-4300. PMID: 25419092 Free PMC Article

Nonpeptide small molecule agonist and antagonist original leads for neuropeptide FF1 and FF2 receptors.Journigan VB, Mésangeau C, Vyas N, Eans SO, Cutler SJ, McLaughlin JP, Mollereau C, McCurdy CR. J Med Chem. 2014 Nov 13;57(21):8903-27. doi: 10.1021/jm500989n. PMID: 25268943 Free PMC Article

Flavanones from Miconia prasina. Tarawneh AH, León F, Ibrahim MA, Pettaway S, McCurdy CR, Cutler SJ. Phytochem Lett. 2014 Feb;7:130-132. PMID: 24976876 Free PMC Article

Novel pyrazolopyrimidine derivatives targeting COXs and iNOS enzymes; design, synthesis and biological evaluation as potential anti-inflammatory agents. Abdelazeem AH, Abdelatef SA, El-Saadi MT, Omar HA, Khan SI, McCurdy CR, El-Moghazy SM. Eur J Pharm Sci. 2014 Oct 1;62:197-211. doi: 10.1016/j.ejps.2014.05.025. PMID: 24907682

SN79, a sigma receptor antagonist, attenuates methamphetamine-induced astrogliosis through a blockade of OSMR/gp130 signaling and STAT3 phosphorylation. Robson MJ, Turner RC, Naser ZJ, McCurdy CR, O’Callaghan JP, Huber JD, Matsumoto RR. Exp Neurol. 2014 Apr;254:180-9. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2014.01.020. PMID: 24508558 Free PMC Article

Neuroprotective targets through which 6-acetyl-3-(4-(4-(4-fluorophenyl)piperazin-1-yl)butyl)benzo[d]oxazol-2(3H)-one (SN79), a sigma receptor ligand, mitigates the effects of methamphetamine in vitro. Kaushal N, Robson MJ, Rosen A, McCurdy CR, Matsumoto RR. Eur J Pharmacol. 2014 Feb 5;724:193-203. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2013.12.039. PMID: 24380829 Free PMC Article

Evaluation of σ-1 receptor radioligand 18F-FTC-146 in rats and squirrel monkeys using PET. James ML, Shen B, Nielsen CH, Behera D, Buckmaster CL, Mesangeau C, Zavaleta C, Vuppala PK, Jamalapuram S, Avery BA, Lyons DM, McCurdy CR, Biswal S, Gambhir SS, Chin FT. J Nucl Med. 2014 Jan;55(1):147-53. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.113.120261. PMID: 24337599 Free PMC Article

Development and validation of a UPLC-MS/MS method for the determination of 7-hydroxymitragynine, a μ-opioid agonist, in rat plasma and its application to a pharmacokinetic study. Vuppala PK, Jamalapuram S, Furr EB, McCurdy CR, Avery BA. Biomed Chromatogr. 2013 Dec;27(12):1726-32. doi: 10.1002/bmc.2986. PMID: 23893615 Free PMC Article

Structure activity relationship study of benzo[d]thiazol-2(3H)one based σ receptor ligands. Bhat R, Fishback JA, Matsumoto RR, Poupaert JH, McCurdy CR. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2013 Sep 1;23(17):5011-3. doi: 10.1016/j.bmcl.2013.06.032. PMID: 23867168 Free PMC Article

σ Receptor antagonist attenuation of methamphetamine-induced neurotoxicity is correlated to body temperature modulation. Robson MJ, Seminerio MJ, McCurdy CR, Coop A, Matsumoto RR. Pharmacol Rep. 2013;65(2):343-9. PMID: 23744418 Free Article

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