Rohan joined the group in July 2015, as a coop student from Northeastern University. Rohan developed the SAR on the HIF2a project and discovered potential probes for target ID. Rohan is also a recipient of the Pajak Research Scholarship from Northeastern.
Nick joined the group in January 2015, and is a Master's in Chemistry research student from Prof. Graham Jones group at Northeastern. Nick is currently working on building SAR and lead optimization for the SMA project. He gained previous research experience at Novartis, Merck and Millennium.
Matthew Okscin (Fall 2014). In his six months at the LDDN, Matthew made novel analogs for a number of projects. Notably, he identified a compound that significantly suppressed SOD1 expression. Matthew is now on his second coop, also at BWH as an infant hearing screening technician. Matthew plans to go to medical school following graduation from Northeastern.
Dr. Kevin Hodgetts
Director of The Laboratory for Drug Discovery in Neurodegeneration
65 Landsdowne Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
Rutali Brahme (Spring 2014). Rutali determined the thermodynamic and kinetic solubility, and the microsomal stability of a number of important LDDN compounds. Rutali began development of a PAMPA permeability assay before she joined Novartis in Cambridge, MA.
Alyssa Calder (Spring 2014). Alyssa spent her six months at the LDDN working on the SMA project. She was able to synthesize all of the crazy heterocycles I asked her to make, and she added a few more on top. She helped put the SMA project where it is today. Alyssa rejoined the LDDN in the fall of 2014, for her final year research project and made probe compounds to help elucidate the molecular target of our molecules. Alyssa will be heading to medical school following graduation from Northeastern.
Kevin has a broad background in organic and medicinal chemistry, with experience in both industrial and academic drug discovery. As a postdoctoral fellow, first at The University of Texas and then at University College Dublin, he developed novel synthetic methodology for the syntheses of complex molecules and applied these methods to the synthesis of several classes of biologically active natural products. Kevin then spent over 13 years in the drug discovery industry as a medicinal chemist working on treatments for diseases of the central nervous system. Working as the project leader, and as part of a multidisciplinary team, this has led to the identification of compounds suitable for use as biological probes in proof of concept studies on multiple novel biological targets. Ultimately two compounds from this work have entered clinical trials; NGD-8243, the first TRPV1 (transient receptor potential vanilloid) antagonist to reach phase II clinical trials for pain, and NGD-4715, the first MCH-1 (melanin-concentrating hormone) antagonist to reach phase I clinical trials for obesity. Dr. Hodgetts joined the LDDN in September 2012 to work with the academic community to design new and innovative strategies for drug discovery for neurodegenerative diseases. This has involved the optimization of the potency and drug-like properties of hits identified from screening of the LDDN library. Ultimately the goal is to identify compounds with suitable properties for in vivo evaluation and proof of concept studies.
Fernanda was a Brazil Scientific Mobility exchange student enrolled at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston. She was at the LDDN for the summer of 2015 and characterized compounds in solubility and microsomal stability assays.
Jennifer Li (Spring 2013). Jennifer became our process chemist during her six month stay. She was focused on scaling-up 10-10, the lead compound for the EAAT2 project at that time.
Nick was a Master's in Chemistry research student from Prof. Graham Jones group at Northeastern. Nick spent 2015 working at the LDDN building the SAR and continuing lead optimization for the SMA project.
Priscilla is a student at the University of Huddersfield studying for a MSci in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. Priscilla is spending her placement year here at the LDDN and is focused on the asymmetric synthesis of a number of different heterocycles that increase survival motor neuron protein for the treatment of Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
Lin Lin joined the group in January 2015, as a coop student from Northeastern University. Lin developed the SAR on the SOD1 and CMT projects. In particular Lin discovered our most potent CMT analog to date.
Lin is now back at Northeastern and plans to go to medical school following graduation.
Sinthia Ahmed (Fall 2013). Sinthia determined the thermodynamic and kinetic solubility, and the microsomal stability of a number of important LDDN compounds. Sinthia also began to profile the hits discovered from screening the LDDN library in these assays which has helped us to design new libraries for CNS indications with better physical properties. Sinthia is now a formulation chemist at Toxikon in Bedford, MA.
Fera Soedarsono (Spring 2013). Fera and Manpreet pioneered our development of in house microsomal stability, solubility and logD assays. Through their contributions, we were able to rapidly profile compounds in important drug-like property assays and prioritize compounds for in vivo studies. I am indebted to Fera, as she has always been available to come back to the LDDN to train new students and to help with the assays. Fera is a Scientist working at Novartis in Cambridge, MA.
Manpreet Virk (Spring 2013). Manpreet and Fera pioneered our development of in house microsomal stability, solubility and logD assays. Through their contributions, we were able to rapidly profile compounds in important drug-like property assays and prioritize compounds for in vivo studies. Manpreet is currently an Associate Scientist working at Cyprotex in Watertown, MA.
Eliza joined the group in February 2015, and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry in Prof. Graham Jones group at Northeastern. Eliza is establishing SAR and developing an asymmetric synthesis of a novel series of heterocycles for the SMA project. Eliza is a cum laude Honors Chemistry Major from Gonzaga University.
Alexis Balcom (Fall 2013). Alexis began the novel CNS library project and made a number of new templates. One of Alexis's compounds was found to significantly increase expression of the SMN-2 protein, and it became the new lead structure for the SMA project. Alexis is now back at Northeastern, heading into her final semester.