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Southern Research Institute Names John M. Gerdes, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow, Drug Discovery

May 6, 2014

Birmingham, Ala. – – Southern Research Institute today announced that John M. Gerdes, Ph.D., has been named Senior Research Fellow, Drug Discovery. In this role, Dr. Gerdes will be an integral part of the Institute’s early-stage activities, particularly those focused on the development of drugs to treat conditions of the central nervous system (CNS). Additionally, he will advance research endeavors on the discovery and development of positron emission tomography (PET) imaging agents that are capable of assessing live CNS tissue drug target changes, as a function of disease and therapies.

“We are excited to welcome John as we continue to advance the field of CNS medicine with our proprietary technologies,” said Mark J. Suto, Ph.D., Vice President, Drug Discovery of Southern Research Institute. “With more than three decades of experience in advancing new central nervous system agents into the clinic, John’s outstanding scientific leadership will support the advancement of our work in that area.”

Dr. Gerdes joins Southern Research from the University of Montana where he was a tenured Professor in the College of Pharmacy, Department of Biomedical & Pharmaceutical Sciences. While at Montana he served as a Co-Director of the National Institutes of Health funded P30 Core Laboratory for Neuromolecular Production and as the Director of the Molecular Computational Core Facility at the University’s Center for Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics. From 2001 until the present, Dr. Gerdes has been a principal investigator within the Center for Structural and Functional Neuroscience at the University of Montana. Dr. Gerdes also currently holds an appointment with the University of California at San Francisco, where he is a visiting professor in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging. He is a research fellow with the Robert Packard Center for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Research at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Gerdes is the lead inventor of several brain imaging agents that may help understand, diagnose, and follow new therapies for neurodegenerative disorders such as ALS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases in addition to neuropsychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety.

Dr. Gerdes completed his undergraduate studies at Colorado State University where he earned a B.S. in Chemistry, then accomplished his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of California, Riverside and followed by serving as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.

About Southern Research Institute

Southern Research Institute is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) scientific research organization founded in 1941 that conducts preclinical drug discovery and development, advanced engineering research in materials, systems development, and environment and energy research. Approximately 500 scientific and engineering team members support clients and partners in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, defense, aerospace, environmental and energy industries. Southern Research is headquartered in Birmingham, AL, with additional laboratories and offices in Wilsonville and Huntsville, AL, Frederick, MD, Durham, NC, Houston, TX, and Cartersville, GA. For more information visit:

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