The plans for these compounds would then be broken into “makeable” (or “chemputable”) synthesis plans that could be made automatically with the Chemputer. These could then be tested to screen for addiction-free candidates that can prevent pain.

The ASU-Glasgow University team developed the Chemputer for origin of life chemistry searches, which is more directly related to Walker’s primary field of study, but with this award she and the team plan to work with NIH to expand the duties of their programmable chemical robot for the betterment of human health. 

The award is from the National Institutes of Health Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative. The goal of the NCATS ASPIRE Design Challenges is to spur innovative approaches toward solving the opioid crisis through development of novel chemistries, data mining and analysis tools, and biological assays that will revolutionize discovery, development and testing of next-generation, nonaddictive analgesics to treat pain, as well as new treatments for opioid use disorder and overdose.

Karin Valentine

Media Relations & Marketing manager, School of Earth and Space Exploration