Principal Investigator

Dr. Michael 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.

Associate 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.

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.


Postdoctoral Research Associate

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 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 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 discovery and development of small molecule inhibitors against parasitic diseases.

Graduate Students

Dana Klug

Dana 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.


Kelly Bachovchin

Kelly 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 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.


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 Graduate Students

Antonio Quotadamo

Antonio was born in Italy. He received his M.S. Pharm (2013) from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy. After completion of his master’s degree, he joined the research group of Tydock Pharma Srl – Modena where he worked on the hit-to-lead and lead optimization for candidate drugs for neglected diseases. He then moved to academia in Modena for his Ph.D. in Clinical and Experimental Medicine. His research interest primarily focused on drug discovery for the synthesis of novel protein-protein interaction inhibitors with anticancer activity. Antonio joined Prof. Pollastri’s group in 2019 and is currently working on neglected tropical diseases as a visiting PhD student.


Lab Manager

Madeleine ‘Maddy’ Shay

Maddy is originally from Baltimore, MD. Maddy received her BS in Chemistry with a minor in Law and Public Policy from Northeastern University, Boston in 2019. In her free time, she enjoys acting with Northeastern’s Shakespeare Society, swing dancing, and knitting at home in the company of her two cats.


Undergraduate Students

John Karl ‘Jack’ Fisher

Jack is a third year undergraduate from Niskayuna, New York, majoring in chemistry with a minor in math. Outside of the lab, he enjoys reading and playing guitar.


Raeann Dalton

Raeann 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 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.


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.

Allison Leonard

Allison is a fourth year undergraduate from New Jersey who is pursuing a BS in chemistry with a minor in mathematics. Outside of the lab, she enjoys playing Ultimate Frisbee, hiking, and trying new coffee shops.

Catherine LeBlanc

Catherine is a second year undergraduate from Watertown, Massachusetts who is pursuing her BS in Chemistry with a minor in biology. In her free time, she enjoys playing the guitar and clarinet, traveling, and eating.

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.

Kathleen “Kat” Le

Kat is a fourth year undergraduate from New Bedford, MA who is pursuing her BS in Chemistry. In her free time she likes to skate, dance, and cook.

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.

Justin Park

Justin is a fourth year undergraduate pursuing his BS in Chemistry. In his free time he likes to cook, exercise, and explore the city.

Yulia Dikusar

Yulia is a forth-year undergraduate from Moscow, Russia who is pursuing her BS in chemistry with minor in economics. In her free time, she enjoys drawing people, swimming and listening to all sorts of music.

Trevor Beardsley

Trevor is a third-year undergraduate from Grand Rapids, Michigan, who is pursuing a B.S. in biochemistry. Outside of the lab, Trevor enjoys exploring Boston, hanging out with friends, and learning new things.



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

Graduate Students

  • 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

Visiting Scientist

  • Efi Mavrogiannaki
  • Monica Clements
  • Amy Dounay