Southern Research (SR), a contiguous UAB-affiliate, encourages UAB students to perform lab rotations in its life sciences research facilities. Students will acquire first-hand knowledge about drug discovery and the process used to identify new therapeutic agents. This includes basic research on target selection and validation, screening, lead optimization and preclinical development.

As a Birmingham-based, independent, not-for-profit (501c3) organization for scientific research, Southern Research conducts basic and contract research not only in drug discovery and development, but also in the fields of materials and mechanical engineering, and environmental and energy-related research.

The Drug Discovery Division at Southern Research is comprised of approximately 100 scientists from all over the world with expertise in medicinal chemistry, molecular biology, biochemistry and high-throughput screening. They work closely with other universities and research institutions as well as pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. In addition to its internal discovery programs in oncology, virology, bacteriology and neurobiology, the life sciences group at Southern Research conducts novel, ground-breaking research for various government agencies. As an indicator of the success of the organization, Southern Research has contributed to the discovery and development of seven, marketed anti-cancer drugs including clofarabine (Clolar/Evoltra), which is used for the treatment of refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children.

Southern Research scientists are very active in the academic community as many hold joint UAB appointments, serve on UAB committees and training grants, collaborate with UAB researchers and mentor UAB students pursuing advanced degrees in the life science arena.