Personnel

 

Principal Investigator

Prof. Michael Pollastri

Pollastri

See profile here

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Senior Research Scientist

Baljinder Singh

Baljinder 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 pharmaceutical industry 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.

Associate Research Scientist

Naresh Gunaganti

Naresh Gunaganti is originally from India. He received his M.Sc. (Organic Chemistry) degree in 2007 from Osmania University, then he joined as a research chemist at Sai Advantium Pvt.Ltd, Hyderabad, India where he worked on process development of carbohydrate-based drug intermediates. After he clears the CSIR national eligibility test for a junior research fellowship in 2009, he moved to CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute in 2010 to complete his Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. T. Narender. After completion of his Ph.D. in 2015, he joined as a postdoctoral research fellow at The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA with Dr. HongYu-Li in the area of kinase drug discovery to find the cure for various type of cancer. In 2016 his entire research group moved to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR, USA. Naresh joined Prof. Pollastri’s research group in Dec. 2018. His current research interests are the discovery and development of small molecule inhibitors against parasitic diseases.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Quillon Simpson


Quillon originates from Melbourne, Australia. He completed his BSc Chem. (1st class Hons.) at Monash University under the supervision of Prof. David Lupton. His research was directed towards understanding incompatibilities of propargyl substituted carbazalones towards the palladium-catalyzed enantioselective decarboxylative allylation, utilized within the Lupton group for the synthesis of (+)-Kopsihainanine A. He then completed his PhD under the joint supervision of Prof. David Lupton, Dr. Oliver Hutt and Dr. Joel Hooper at Monash University and CSIRO. His research focused on catalytic reactions utilizing open shell reactive intermediates. Following completion of his PhD Quillon was employed at Advanced Molecular Technologies where he led three contract research projects. Namely, the synthesis and characterization of fluorophores for bio-conjugation, derivatization of synthetic flavonoids directed at tumor cell apoptosis, and the synthesis of porphyrin triplet oxygen sensitizers for their use in photodynamic therapy (PDT). Quillon joined the Pollastri Group in 2019 to work on drug development for neglected tropical diseases.

Graduate Students

Jing Chai

Originally from China, Jing got her BS and MS degrees in Chemical Engineering from Shandong University and, East China University of Science &Technology. She moved to the US and received a second MS degree in Organic Chemistry from Temple University under the supervision of Professor Franklin A. Davis. In 2007, she joined GSK where she works on DNA Encoded Library Technology (ELT), focusing on on-DNA chemistry development, library design, and synthesis. Jing joined Prof. Pollastri’s group in 2018 as an industrial graduate student.

 

Visiting Scientist

Daniel Oehme

Daniel is from Melbourne, Australia where he received his B. Bioinformatics and B. Science (1st class Hons.) from La Trobe University in 2005. Under the supervision of Prof. Robert Brownlee, his research focused on using computational methods to predict the binding strength of HIV Protease inhibitors. His PhD was completed in 2011 under the supervision of Prof. Robert Brownlee and Dr. David Wilson. Here his research focused on understanding and quantifying the interactions between ligands and proteins. Daniel then held post-doctoral positions at IBM-Research Australia, the University of Melbourne, and the University of Texas at El Paso studying the synthesis and interaction of cellulose and other polysaccharides. Daniel joined the Pollastri lab in 2018 to provide computational expertise to help the lab prioritize the synthesis of compounds to treat neglected tropical diseases and streamline workflows for compound ideation and registration.

 

Undergraduate Students

Nyle Sharif


Nyle is a second year-honors student majoring in biochemistry. In his spare time, he enjoys playing basketball, exercising, and watching online videos.

 

 

Anson Huang


Anson is a second-year undergraduate from Reading, Massachusetts, pursuing a BS in chemistry and minoring in communication studies. When not in the lab, he enjoys writing fiction, playing music, and failing at video games.

 

 

Courtney Fu


Courtney is a second year honors pharmacy student from Phoenix, AZ with minors in entrepreneurship and economics. Outside of lab, she enjoys cooking, playing piano, and binge-watching Mythbusters.

 

 

Michael Chichioco


Michael is a fourth year undergraduate student from San Mateo, California majoring in Biochemistry with a Psychology minor. During his free time, he enjoys dancing, running and eating.

 

 

Edward Helbling


Edward is a fifth-year undergraduate pursuing his BS in Chemistry. In his free time, he likes to cook, exercise, exploring the city and reading.

 

 

 

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
  • Dr. Warren Weiner
  • Dr. Hitesh Jalani
  • Dr. Melissa Buskes
  • Dr. Alex Muthengi

Graduate Students

  • Kelly Bachovchin (2019)
  • Westley Tear (2019)
  • Dana Klug (2018)
  • Andrew Spaulding (2018)
  • 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
  • Max Staab
  • Alex Hughes
  • Hillary Dequina
  • Katherine ‘Kate’ Schneider
  • Erin Burchfield
  • Brady Greene
  • John Karl ‘Jack’ Fisher
  • Raeann Dalton
  • Allison Leonard
  • Catherine LeBlanc
  • Kathleen “Kat” Le
  • Madeleine ‘Maddy’ Shay
  • Trevor Beardsley
  • Lindsey Foster
  • Yulia Dikusar
  • Mitch Rivers
  • Serena DiLiberti
  • Keith Van Allen
  • PJ Donnelly
  • Justin Park

Visiting Scientist

  • Efi Mavrogiannaki
  • Monica Clements
  • Amy Dounay
  • Antonio Quotadamo