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Barbara S. Slusher

Barbara S. Slusher 

Department Affiliation: Primary: Neurology; Secondary: Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, Psychiatry, Neuroscience, Medicine, Oncology
Degree: Ph.D., Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; M.A.S., Johns Hopkins Carey Business School (formerly Johns Hopkins School of Continuing Studies)
Rank: Professor
Telephone Number: 410-614-0662
Fax Number: 410-614-0659
E-mail address:
School of Medicine Address: John G. Rangos, Sr. Bldg., 855 N. Wolfe Street, Suite 278, Baltimore, MD 21205
Website:  Drug Discovery


Johns Hopkins Drug Discovery (JHDD)

Dr. Slusher directs JHDD which represents the largest integrated drug discovery program on campus with a veteran team of medicinal chemists, assay developers, pharmacologists, toxicologists, and pharmacokinetics/drug metabolism experts with an average of 15 years Pharma R&D drug discovery experience. The team is engaged in identifying novel drug targets arising from the faculty’s research and translating them into new drug therapies for clinical development. The collaborative efforts have led to the launch of a number of new drug discovery projects in Neurology, Psychiatry, Oncology, Immunology, and Gastrointestinal disorders with significant potential for impacting the lives of patients. JHDD has established an innovative high throughput screening collaboration with Pharma (JHU-Pharma HTS Agreement ) . JHDD has also licensed its small molecule technologies to Pharma (Johns Hopkins and Eisai Press Release) and has spun-out four new biotechnology companies including Cerecor (, Dracen Pharmaceuticals (, Lorem Therapeutics (Press Release), and most recently Adarga Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Slusher also founded the first-ever International Consortium of Academic Drug Discovery Centers ( with over 150 university-led translational centers and 1500 members in an effort to coordinate and enhance academic drug discovery efforts..

Representative Publications:

  • Leone, R.D., Zhao, L., Englert, J.M., Sun, I.M., Oh, M.H., Sun, I.H., Arwood, M.L., Bettencourt, I.A., Patel, C.H., Wen, J., Tam, A., Blosser, R.L., Prchalova, E., Alt, J., Rais, R., Slusher, B.S., Powell, J.D. Glutamine blockade induces divergent metabolic programs to overcome tumor immune evasion, Science, 2019, Nov. 22; 366(6468):1013-1021. Pub Med Reference
  • Rojas, C.M., Sala, M., Thomas, A.G., Datta Chaudhuri, A., Yoo, S.W., Li, Z., Dash, R.P., Rais, R., Haughey, N., Nencka, R., Slusher, BS., A novel and potent brain penetrant inhibitor of extracellular vesicle release. British Journal of Pharmacology, 2019, Oct;176(19):3857-3870. Pub Med Reference
  • Tenora, L., Alt, J., Dash, R.P., Gadiano, A.J., Novotna, K., Veeravalli, V., Lam, J., Kirkpatrick, Q.R., Lemberg, K., Majer, P., Rais, R., Slusher, B.S. Tumor-targeted delivery of 6-Diazo-5-oxo-L-norleucine (DON) using substituted acetylated lysine prodrugs. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 2019, Apr 11;62(7):3524-3538. Pub Med Reference   

  • Rais, R., Jancarik, A., Tenora, L., Nedelcovych, M., Alt, J., Englert, J., Rojas, C., Le, A., Elgogary, A., Tan, J., Monincova, L., Pate, K., Adam, R.J., Ferraris, D.V., Powell, J.D., Maje, P., Slusher, B.S. Discovery of 6-Diazo-5-oxo-L-norleucine (DON) prodrugs with enhanced CSF delivery in monkeys: a potential treatment for glioblastoma. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 2016, Sept 22:59(18):8621-8633. Pub Med Reference
  • Wozniak, K.M., Vornov, J.J., Wu, Y., Nomoto, K., Littlefield, B.A., DesJardins, C., Yu, Y., Lai, G., Reyderman, L., Wong, N. and Slusher, B.S. Sustained accumulation of microtubule-binding chemotherapy drugs in the peripheral nervous system: correlations with time course and neurotoxic severity. Cancer Research, 2016, 76(11):3332-3339. Pub Med Reference  
  • Majer, P., Jančařík, A., Krecmerova, M., Tichý, T., Tenora, L., Wozniak, K., Wu, Y., Pommier, E., Ferraris, D., Rais, R. and Slusher, B.S. Discovery of Orally Available Prodrugs of the Glutamate Carboxypeptidase II (GCPII) Inhibitor 2-Phosphonomethylpentanedioic Acid (2-PMPA). Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 2016, Mar 24;59(6):.2810-2819. Pub Med Reference 
  • Rais, R., Jiang, W., Zhai, H., Wozniak, K.M., Stathis, M., Hollinger, K.R., Thomas, A.G., Rojas, C., Vornov, J.J., Marohn, M., Li, X., Slusher, B.S. FOLH1/GCPII is elevated in IBD patients, and its inhibition ameliorates murine IBD abnormalities. Journal of Clinical Investigation insight, 2016 Aug 4;1(12). Pub Med Reference 
  • Slusher, B.S., Conn, P.J., Frye, S., Glicksman, M., Arkin, M. Bringing together the academic drug discovery community.  Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, 2013 Oct 31;12(11):811-812. Pub Med Reference



Other graduate program in which Dr. Slusher participates: