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

Contact Info

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


Professor of Medicinal Chemistry

Director, UF Translational Drug Development Core

Research Area

Dr. McCurdy’s research focuses on the design, synthesis and development of pharmacotherapy for drug abuse/addiction and pain.


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

Current Research Focus

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


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

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