Personnel

 

Principal Investigator

Dr. Michael Pollastri

Pollastri

See profile here

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Affiliated Research Assistant Professor

Warren Weiner

Warren_pictureWarren grew up in Nissequogue, NY and received an A.B. from Bowdoin College (Brunswick, ME).  After obtaining a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh under Andrew Hamilton, he did postdoctoral work for Peter Wipf (University of Pittsburgh) and Robert Hoffman (New Mexico State University).  He has nine years of industrial experience, principally as a medicinal chemist, including one year at OSI Pharmaceuticals (Tarrytown, NY) and seven years at Myriad Pharmaceuticals (Salt Lake City, UT).  He worked at the Specialized Chemistry Center at the University of Kansas under Jeffrey Aubé for more than four years and is currently a valued member of this group.  Therapeutic areas he has been involved in include antiparasitics, antibacterials, antivirals and Alzheimer’s disease.

Research Assistant Professor

Lori Ferrins

image4Lori is originally from Melbourne, Australia. She received her B. Med. Chem. (1st class Hons.) from La Trobe University in 2010 under the supervision of Dr. Belinda Abbott and Dr. Seb Marcuccio. Her research focused on developing the first total synthesis of picrorocellin and its structural derivatives as potential antimalarial compounds. She then moved to the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University to complete her PhD under the supervision of Prof. Jonathan Baell. Her research focused on the design and synthesis of novel heterocyclic compounds for the treatment of human African trypanosomiasis. Lori joined Dr. Pollastri’s research group in 2015 and is continuing her work on inhibitors for human African trypanosomiasis.

Associate Research Scientist

Baljinder Singh

image3Baljinder was born in India. He received his B. Pharm (2007) from Kurukshetra University, India and M.S. Pharm (2009) from National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Ahmedabad, India. After completion of his masters degree, he joined the research group of Piramal Life Sciences Ltd., Mumbai, India where he worked on the discovery of NCE’s from natural products. He then moved to CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine, India in 2010 to complete his Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. R. A. Vishwakarma. His research interest primarily focused on drug discovery exploiting medicinal chemistry and natural product chemistry tools. Baljinder joined Prof. Pollastri’s group in 2015 and is currently working on neglected tropical diseases.

Postdoctoral Associates

Melissa Buskes

Melissa BuskesOriginally from Melbourne, Australia, Melissa received her B. Sc. (1st class Hons.) from La Trobe University under the supervision of Dr. David Wilson and Dr. Belinda Abbott. The focus of her research was toward the in silico analysis and synthesis of 3-phosphoinositide-dependent kinase-1 (PDK1) inhibitors, focusing on the inhibitors selectivity toward PDK1 over alternate protein kinases. Melissa then went on to complete her PhD, also at La Trobe University. Her PhD research focused on the in silico design and synthesis of novel protein kinase inhibitors as antimalarial agents. Melissa joined Prof. Pollastri’s group in 2017 to pursue research in neglected tropical disease drug discovery.

Hitesh Jalani

Hitesh JalaniHitesh was born in 1975 in Junagadh, Gujarat, India. He received his M.S. in Organic Chemistry from Bhavnagar University in 1997. He worked then in the R&D departments of various companies (Cadila Healthcare, United Phosphorus Limited, Torrent Pharmaceuticals, and Oxygen Healthcare) for more than 9 years. In 2007, he joined full time Doctoral study with Dr. Kamala K. Vasu in Med. Chem. at B. V. Patel PERD Centre, Ahmedabad, and earned Ph.D. degree in 2012. In September 2012, he moved for postdoctoral work on the medicinal chemistry of cardiovascular diseases in the group of Prof. Sang-Hun Jung at the Chungnam National University, Daejeon, South Korea. In March 2014, he joined for another post-doctoral program at Nanjing University, Nanjing, China, with Prof. Hongjian Lu, where he worked on the transition metal-catalyzed synthesis of heterocyclic systems and got experience working with metal catalysts. In April 2015, he joined the organo-catalysis driven medicinal chemistry group of Prof. S. B. Tsogoeva as a Research Scientist at Friedrich-Alexander University at Erlangen, Germany. Following this, he took a Research Assistant Professor position in October 2015 at Korea University, Seoul, with Prof. Yong-Seok Choi and worked on the repurposing of Salmeterol analogs for anti-cancer activity based on GPCRs. In January 2017, he joined Prof. Pollastri’s group in the Laboratory for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD). His research interests are the organic synthesis methodologies & medicinal chemistry for the therapeutic areas related to NTD as well as cancer, malaria and cardiovascular diseases.

Graduate Students

Dana Klug

danaDana grew up in Franklin, Tennessee but moved to Chicago for college where she obtained her B.S. in Chemistry from DePaul University, minoring in Sociology and Biology. She became interested in neglected diseases and joined the Pollastri lab in 2013. In her spare time Dana enjoys reading, music, and exploring the city of Boston.
 
 
 

Andrew Spaulding

Andrew_Spaulding_photoAndrew grew up in Stamford, Connecticut, and received his B.S. in chemistry from the University of Vermont, with a minor in Japanese. He previously worked on antibacterial oxazolidinone derivatives targeting gram-negative bacteria under Dr. James Aggen, and joined the Pollastri lab in 2016. He enjoys chess, baseball, biking around Boston, and is both left and right-handed.
 
 
 

Kelly Bachovchin

image2Kelly previously attended Kean University in NJ, her beloved home state. There she received her B.S. in Molecular Biology and her M.S. in Biotechnology. She was honored in March 2014 by the NJ state Assembly for her contributions to women in the sciences. She joined the Pollastri lab later in 2014.
 
 
 
 

Westley Tear

Westley_Tear_photo_2Westley grew up in Niskayuna, New York before attending college at SUNY Geneseo. He graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry. His previous research experience includes working on photoresists for EUV photolithography and the development of gram-negative antibiotics. He once won a staring contest with his own reflection. Westley joined the Pollastri lab in 2016.
 
 
 
 

Undergraduate Students

Brady Greene

Brady GreeneBrady is a third year undergraduate student from Smithfield, Rhode Island who is pursuing a BS in chemistry with a minor in Spanish. In his free time he enjoys running, swimming, and petting dogs.
 
 
 
 
 

Katherine ‘Kate’ Schneider

Katherine SchneiderKate is a second year undergraduate from Chicago pursuing a BS degree in chemistry with a minor in psychology. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the city, trying new restaurants, and traveling.
 
 
 
 
 

Raeann Dalton

Raeann_DaltonRaeann is a third year undergraduate from Colonia, New Jersey pursuing a BS in chemistry with a minor in global health. In her free time she enjoys skiing, camping, and playing frisbee on the beach.
 
 
 
 
 

Mitch Rivers

Mitch_RiversMitch is just finishing his first year, pursuing a B.S. in chemistry with minors in math and biology. Outside of the lab he enjoys reading, exercising, and trying new activities.

 
 
 
 

Lab Alumni

Postdoctoral Researchers

  • Dr. Cuihua (Helen) Wang (April 2009-March 2011)
  • Dr. Caitlin Karver (September 2009- June 2011)
  • Dr. Adam Lesser (2011)
  • Dr. Gautam Patel (July 2011-September 2012)
  • Dr. Emanuele Amata (May 2011-February 2013)
  • Dr. Trent Ashton
  • Dr. Sandra Luongo
  • Dr. David Finnegan
  • Dr. Takashi Satoh
  • Dr. Seema Bag
  • Dr. Daljit Matharu
  • Dr. Poornachandran ‘Poorna’ Mahalingam

Graduate Students

  • Meaghan (Sebeika) Fallano (2017)
  • Gengyang Yuan (2017)
  • Naimee Mehta (2016)
  • Enrico Mongeau (2016)
  • William Devine (May 2015)
  • Jennifer Woodring (Jan. 2011 – Dec. 2014)
  • Cheri Snedeker (2010 – 2012)
  • Bianca Celidet Perez de Lucani (Sep 2009 – Aug 2010)
  • Zhouxi Wang (2010 – 2012)
  • Stefan Ochiana (2009 – 2012)

Masters Students

  • Angela Tanner
  • Lisseth Silva
  • Zeke Clements
  • Elizabeth Jones
  • Uma Swaminathan

Undergraduate Students

  • Joel Beatty (January 2011-August 2011)
  • Craig Tallman (January 2010-July 2010)
  • Matthew Stevenson (August 2009 – December 2009)
  • Michael Russo (2009-2011)
  • Tim Hopper (2010-2012)
  • Brian Coffey (2010-2012)
  • Cristin Juda (2010-2012)
  • Emily Blazensky (2011-2012)
  • Katherine Spring (2011)
  • Peter Edwards (September 2011 – May 2013)
  • Charlie Hoyt (July 2012 – December 2012)
  • Anthony Varca (January 2013 – May 2013)
  • Mitchell Gallerstein
  • Stephen Ejk
  • Laura Tschiegg
  • Stephen ‘Cole’ Rougas
  • Melanie Fritsche
  • Vivian Hilborne
  • Jeremy Armand
  • Travis DeLano

Visiting Scientist

  • Efi Mavrogiannaki