Professor Michael Pollastri


Professor Michael Pollastri

AB:    College of the Holy Cross, 1995
MS:   Duke University, 1998
PhD: Brown University, 2004

Laboratory: 417 Egan Research Center

Michael Pollastri is an Associate Professor of Chemistry & Chemical Biology, and his research focus is primarily in the area of neglected tropical disease drug discovery. Mike began his academic career in 2007 after nearly ten years working in early stage drug discovery at Pfizer, Inc (Groton and Cambridge Laboratories). While at Pfizer, he worked on a variety of programs across therapeutic areas, focusing mostly on gene family-targeted medicinal chemistry (phosphodiesterases, G-protein coupled receptors, and kinases). He has a strong interest in technology-enabled medicinal chemistry and synthesis, employing green chemistry, parallel synthesis, flow chemistry, and cheminformatics as a means to accelerate the drug discovery process and reduce costs. With that in mind, his last three years at Pfizer-Cambridge was spent leading a chemical technology lab that collaborated with research sites across the Pfizer enterprise to establish best methods for higher-throughput drug discovery.

Mike left Pfizer in 2007 to accept a position at Boston University in the Chemistry Department, where he established a synthesis and medicinal chemistry core facility, and expanded efforts to include a high-throughput screening core on the medical campus. These programs helped seed new translational research programs at BU, eventually becoming the Center for Molecular Discovery. He also began cultivating research programs in his own area of interest: neglected disease drug discovery.

After establishing his lab at Northeastern University in 2009, he has built a large number of collaborations across the parasitology community, proselytizing the driving principle of Target Repurposing as a method to accelerate NTD drug discovery. His collaborators are leaders in malaria, sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filiariasis; medicinal chemistry efforts are focused on targeting important protein families including phosphodiesterases, kinases, and histone deacetylases.

The laboratory’s overarching goal is to apply current state-of-the-art drug discovery techniques to find cures for debilitating neglected diseases, which affect over a billion of the world’s poorest people.

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