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Past Speakers

Speakers Bios for the October 27, 2022
Process Chemistry Symposium

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Vy Dong, University of California, Irvine

We are a team of chemists engaged in enantioselective catalysis, natural product synthesis, and organometallic mechanisms. Our team's discoveries have been recognized by the ACS EJ Corey Award, ACS Cope Scholar Award, and Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship. The team's principle investigator is Professor Vy Maria Dong. Vy is a full professor in the chemistry department and teaches organic chemistry and advanced synthesis lab. She serves as the associate editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry's flagship journal, Chemical Science.
Read more:
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Mélanie Hall, University of Graz

Mélanie Hall studied chemistry at the National Graduate School of Chemistry in Rennes (ENSCR), France, and conducted doctoral studies with Prof. Kurt Faber in the field of biocatalysis at the University of Graz, Austria, graduating in 2007. After a postdoctoral research stay with Prof. Andy Bommarius at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, USA, she returned to Graz, where she obtained her habilitation (venia docendi) in organic chemistry from the Institute of Chemistry in 2016. She is currently assistant professor for sustainable bioorganic synthetic chemistry. Her research is dedicated to the field of biocatalysis, with particular focus on asymmetric synthesis and enzymatic sustainable technologies. Since June 2022, she is an editorial board member of the RSC journal Catalysis Science & Technology, for which she acts as associate editor in the field of biocatalysis.

Talk title "
Taming Enzymes to Address Modern Challenges in Synthesis"

The field of biocatalysis has witnessed over the past decade a renewed interest for the design of synthetic routes with high atom-economy, driven by the need to provide sustainable access to important molecules in a clean and selective manner.
i) Redox enzymes especially have gained a predominant role in biocatalytic processes due to their pivotal role in the manipulation of functional groups through transfer of electron(s). Most redox enzymes rely on external source (reduction) or sink (oxidation) of electrons, a feature that impacts the atom-efficiency of the reactions. We are currently developing innovative protocols for sustainable and atom-efficient transformations, aiming at waste minimization and simplified processes, bypassing the need for stoichiometric reagents with redox enzymes.

- In the first example, we identified a case of asymmetric hydride-free isomerization of non-activated C=C-bonds by flavin-dependent enzymes.
We coupled this redox-neutral step to a nicotinamide- dependent bioreduction by designing a fusion bi-molecular protein to generate a one-pot enzymatic cascade for the formal stereodivergent reduction of non-activated C=C bonds (unpublished).
- In a second example, we developed an overall redox-neutral intramolecular bio-Tishchenko-type reaction. Alcohol dehydrogenases catalyzed a formal 1,4-, 1,5- and 1,6-hydride transfer with dialdehydes and yielded the corresponding lactone products.
We recently extended this concept to axially chiral biaryl molecules. Depending on the substrate substitution, the reaction proceeded with excellent atroposelectivity according to kinetic resolution (unpublished).
ii) Finally, a current focus of our research lies on the development of enzymatic strategies for nitration reactions. The most recent data in the field of oxidative nitration and hydronitration will be introduced.

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Song Lin, Cornell University

The research in the Lin Lab lies in the broadly defined area of organic chemistry,with specific interests in electrosynthesis, asymmetric catalysis and organic materials.

Research Focus
We will use our expertise in organic chemistry and electrochemistry to develop new catalytic methods to address unsolved problems in organic and materials synthesis. Particular emphases will be placed on the rational design of catalysts and the creative use of electrochemistry that will allow for the facile and selective conversion of readily available starting materials, such as sugars, CO2 and abundant natural products, into highly functionalized and value-added products, such as pharmaceuticals and polymers.
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Sophie Rousseaux, University of Toronto

Our group will focus on the development of new strategies to address current limitations and explore new areas in catalysis and synthetic organic chemistry. Our research program will involve aspects of supramolecular chemistry, organometallic chemistry and reaction mechanism elucidation. Specific projects will include, for example, the use of scaffolding strategies and molecular self-assembly to control catalyst configurations in solution and/or reaction product outcomes. We will also develop transition metal catalysts for the nucleophilic functionalization of C-O and C-N bonds. Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in joining our group or would like additional information about our research projects.
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Matt Maddess, Merck

Bio forthcoming

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Kelsey VanGelder, Vertex

Kelsey completed her B.S. from The College of New Jersey in 2011. She went on to receive her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016, from the research lab of Marisa C. Kozlowski. Kelsey joined GlaxoSmithKline’s Chemical Development group for several years before moving to Vertex Pharmaceutical’s Process Chemistry group in 2019. At Vertex, she leads the Process Chemistry Automation Lab, implementing high throughput experimentation and other automated solutions to accelerate process development.

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Brenda Burke Chan, Sanofi

Bio forthcoming

Katherine Silvestre, Takeda

Bio and picture forthcoming

Speakers Bios for the October 25, 2019
Process Chemistry Symposium

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Donna Blackmond, The Scripps Research Institute

Research Focus
Kinetic Methodology. Blackmond has pioneered the development of Reaction Progress Kinetic Analysis (RPKA), a methodology combining highly accurate in-situ data collection with a rigorous mathematical analysis that permits rapid determination of concentration dependences of reactants. In contrast to the classical role of kinetics, in which measurements of concentration dependences most often are asked simply to corroborate a previously proposed mechanism, the Blackmond group’s approach is to employ kinetic studies at the outset of an investigation of ill-defined reaction network to suggest reaction mechanisms. This “kinetic-assisted mechanistic analysis” aids in the design of further supporting experiments including conventional mechanistic tools such as studies of isotope effects and spectroscopic studies for structural and compositional information.
Read more:
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F. Dean Toste, University of California, Berkley

Dean was born in 1971 in Terceira, Azores, Portugal, but soon moved to Canada. While at the University of Toronto, he majored in Chemistry and Biochemistry and went on to obtain a M.Sc. in Organic Chemistry. He then pursued his Ph.D. with Barry Trost at Stanford and a post-doctoral appointment with Robert Grubbs at Caltech. Dean is currently a Professor of Chemistry at UC Berkeley.

Research in our group is primarily aimed toward the development of catalysts, catalytic reactions and methods for organic synthesis. Ultimately, we are interested in using these methods to address problems in the synthesis of complex molecules possessing interesting structural, biological and physical properties. As such, our research program spans the areas of organic synthesis, catalysis, and organometallic chemistry.

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Alison R.H. Narayan, University of Michigan

Title: Biocatalysis and complex molecule synthesis
Natural sources, such as plants, fungi and microbes, have historically provided compounds with potent pharmaceutical properties. While it can be challenging to build complex natural products in a lab using existing chemistry methods, Nature has perfected these biosynthetic pathways. The work described leverages the power of Nature’s tools for building complex molecules to synthesize novel molecules with therapeutic potential. The reactivity and selectivity of enzymes from natural product pathways are often unparalleled in existing chemical methods. Enzymes with potential synthetic utility are used as a starting point for engineering biocatalysts with (1) broad substrate scope, (2) high catalytic efficiency, and (3) exquisite site- and stereoselectivity. These biocatalytic methods are employed to efficiently synthesize biologically active complex molecules.
Alison Narayan's main research interest is identifying enzymes from secondary metabolite pathways with potential synthetic utility and developing methods based on these biocatalysts to enable access to biologically active target molecules.
Narayan holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. She completed her undergradaute studies in chemistry at the University of Michigan, where she later returned as a postdoctoral research fellow in the lab of David Sherman.
She started an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and the Life Sciences Institute at Michigan in 2015. Since this time Alison and her research group have been recognized as a part of C&ENs Talented 12, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, a Cottrell Scholar and as the inaugural recipient of the Life Sciences Institute Outreach award.
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B. Frank Gupton, Virginia Commonwealth University

The Gupton research group is focused on the development and application of new technologies that will streamline organic synthesis through process intensification. The goal of process intensification is to increase the overall efficiency and selectivity of chemical reactions by using novel chemistry and/ or running reactions under more extreme process conditions (temperature and pressure). We are interested in applying these principals towards the development of new catalyst systems that can be used in concert with continuous chemical processing (flow reactor technology) to streamline the synthesis of pharmaceutical active ingredients (API’s).

We have developed a series of palladium catalyst systems that can be used in cross-coupling reactions for batch and continuous operations and we are currently using these catalysts in the preparation of several API target molecules. These catalysts are composed of metal nanoparticles supported on novel carbon-based platforms such as graphene or carbon nanotubes. Our group has direct access to a wide variety of surface characterization methodologies to characterize these materials which have provided fundamental insights into their unusual catalytic activity.

We are also actively involved in the evaluation and integration of continuous analytical methodologies with continuous chemical processing in order to provide real time feedback and optimization of our processes.
Confirmed industrial speakers include:

Dan Bailey (Takeda)
Jason Tedrow (Amgen)
Don Gauthier (Merck)
Suzie Opalka (Biogen)

Speakers Bios for the October 19, 2018
Process Chemistry Symposium

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Frances H. Arnold, California Institute Institute of Technology

Frances H. Arnold is developing evolutionary protein design methods to elucidate principles of biological design and generate novel and useful enzymes and organisms.

BREAKING NEWS October 3, 2018:

Three scientists shared this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry for tapping the power of evolutionary biology to design molecules with a range of practical uses. Those include new drugs, more efficient and less toxic reactions in the manufacture of chemicals and plant-derived fuels to replace oil, gas and coal extracted from the ground.

Half of the prize and the accompanying $1 million went to Frances H. Arnold, a professor of chemical engineering at the California Institute of Technology. She is only the fifth woman to win a chemistry Nobel and the first since 2009.

The other half of the prize is shared by George P. Smith, an emeritus professor of biological sciences at the University of Missouri, and Gregory P. Winter, a biochemist at the M.R.C. Laboratory of Molecular Biology in England.

For more info, click here

Congrats Dr. Arnold!

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Robert Knowles, Princeton University

Robert Knowles has his lab interested in addressing unsolved problems in synthetic organic chemistry and asymmetric catalysis. One area of recent focus has been exploring the synthetic applications of proton-coupled electron transfer (PCET) reactions. PCETs are unconventional redox processes in which an electron and proton are exchanged together in a concerted elementary step. While these mechanisms are recognized to play a central a role in biological redox catalysis and inorganic solar energy conversion technologies, their applications in synthetic organic chemistry remain largely unexplored. Our lab aims to establish concerted PCET as a general platform for substrate activation, providing new solutions to significant and long-standing synthetic challenges in the areas of free radical chemistry, asymmetric catalysis, and organometallic chemistry.

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Eric Meggers - Phillips University Marburg

The main interest of our group revolves around exploiting structural aspects of octahedral transition metal complexes, often in combination with other features, for applications in organic synthesis (e.g. asymmetric catalysis) and the life sciences (e.g. design of enzyme inhibitors). Particularly, we are intrigued by the stereochemical complexity of the octahedral coordination geometry (up to 30 stereoisomers possible!) which provides untapped opportunities for the design of novel catalysts and compounds with unprecedented biological properties.
Currently, we are focusing on designing "chiral-at-metal" complexes for applications in asymmetric catalysis. In this novel class of catalysts, the chirality of the catalysts originates exclusively from a stereogenic metal center (only achiral ligands!). Some members of this class of catalysts, namely bis-cyclometalated iridium and rhodium complexes, are excellent tools to intertwine photochemistry with asymmetric catalysis.
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Kami L. Hull - University of Texas Austin

Kami Hull received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan under the supervision of Melanie Sanford. She went on to be an NIH postdoctoral fellow in Barry M. Trost’s laboratory at Stanford University.  In 2012, Professor Hull joined the faculty at the University of Illinois. Her research focuses on the development of and mechanistic studies on transition metal catalyzed reactions. She will join our department as a tenured Associate Professor.
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Alan Cherney - Amgen

Alan received his Ph.D. from Cal Tech and currently works at Amgen.

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Christian Harrison - Vertex

Chris received his Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia and is currently working at Vertex.
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Theodore Martinot - Merck

Theodore received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida and is currently at Merck.
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Scott Plummer - Novartis

Scott received his Ph.D. from the Indiana University of Bloomington and is currently at Novartis.

Speakers Bios from April 29, 2016 Symposium

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Phillip A. Sharp - Institute Professor (highest academic rank) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and member of the Department of Biology and the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.

His landmark work in 1977 provided the first indications of “discontinuous genes” in mammalian cells. The discovery fundamentally changed scientists’ understanding of gene structure and earned him the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He is a co-founder of Biogen and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc.
The Sharp Lab focuses on the biology and technology of small RNAs and other types of non-coding RNAs.

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James P. Morken -The Louise and James Vanderslice and Family Professor of Chemistry at Boston College.

James and his group have recently been in the spotlight for their work building on a Nobel Prize-winning technique that is one of the most sophisticated tools available to research chemists, the team reported in the January 1 edition of the journal Science. This new type of cross coupling reaction is expected to have an impact on the way organic compounds are manufactured especially in the Pharmaceutical Industry.

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Barbara Imperiali - Professor of Biology and Chemistry; MacVicar Faculty Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

She and her group are investigating divese aspects of protein structure, function and design. Special attention is given to protein modification reactions and recently the discovery of protein glycosylation in bacterial pathogens has inspired research that focuses on understanding the role of cell surface carbohydrates in infection as well as new approaches for understanding the molecular logic of protein glycosylation pathways and processes.

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Stevan Djuric, Ph.D. - head of the global AbbVie Medicinal Chemistry Leadership Team at Abbott.

He is also responsible for the Discovery Chemistry and Technology organization within their Discovery organization and chemistry outsourcing activities. He was named an AbbVie Distinguished Research Fellow in 2015 and has been a Project Leader for groups in the Immunoscience, Metabolic Disease, and Antiinfective areas. Several of these programs have advanced compounds into clinical development and to the market including Abbott’s proprietary rapamycin analog, Zotarolimus, currently licensed to Medtronics for use on their vascular stents, marketed in the United States and and Europe.

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John Macor, Ph.D. -Executive Director of Immunosciences Discovery Chemistry at Bristol-Myers Squibb.

He has previously held positions at Pfizer (CNS) and Astr Arcus (cholinergic systems) before joing the Cardiovascular group at BMS in 1997. At Bristol-Myers Squibb he led the teams that discovered BMS-346567 (a dual AT1/ETA receptor antagonist presently in Phase 2 clinical trials as PS433540 for diabetic neuropathy), BMS-708163 (a gamma-secretase inhibitor for Alzheimer’s Disease that demonstrated beta-amyloid lowering in the cerebral spinal fluid of normal healthy volunteers in a Phase 1 clinical study), and BMS-927711 (rimegepant), a potent CGRP receptor antagonist for the treatment of migraine.

At present he is the inventor or co-inventor of one marketed drug (Relpax®) and a number of other compounds presently in clinical trials. Recently, Dr. Macor was awarded the 2014 Alfred Burger Award in Medicinal Chemistry (a National Award from the American Chemical Society) to “to recognize outstanding contributions to research in medicinal chemistry.” Dr. Macor was inducted into the Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame in August 2014.
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Robert A. Copeland , Ph.D. - President of Research and Chief Scientific Officer at Epizyme.

Robert joined Epizyme in September 2008, from GlaxoSmithKline, where he was Vice President of Cancer Biology, Oncology Center of Excellence in Drug Discovery.

Dr. Copeland has also served on a number of advisory boards, committees and editorial boards in industry, academia, professional societies and professional journals. Before joining GSK he held scientific staff positions at Merck Research Laboratories, DuPont-Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb and faculty positions at the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine. Dr. Copeland received his B.S. in chemistry from Seton Hall University, his doctorate in chemistry from Princeton University and did postdoctoral studies as the Chaim Weizmann Fellow at the California Institute of Technology. His research interest is in elucidating the determinants of drug recognition by their biological targets, and the use of this information in the discovery and design of new medicines.

He has contributed to drug discovery and development efforts leading to 17 drug candidates entering human clinical trials. These include the cancer drugs Tafinlar (Dabrafenib), Mekinist (Trametinib), fortetinib, pinometostat, tazemetostat and the antibiotic Altabax (Retapamulin). Dr. Copeland has contributed more than 200 publications to the scientific literature, holds 10 issued U. S. patents and has authored 5 books in the areas of protein science and enzymology.

His most recent book, Evaluation of Enzyme Inhibitors in Drug Discovery: A Guide for Medicinal Chemists and Pharmacologists, 2nd Edition (Wiley, Hoboken, NJ), published in March 2013.

October 22, 2010 at the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge

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Eric Bercot, Amgen

Eric A. Bercot was born in Klamath Falls, OR in 1977.  He completed his B.S. in Chemistry at the University of Oregon in 1999 while working in the laboratories of Michael M. Haley.  He then moved to Colorado State University, receiving a Ph.D. in 2004 working with Professor Tomislav Rovis where he investigated the use of cyclic anhydrides as eletrophilic coupling partners in transition metal mediated cross-coupling reactions.  In late 2004, Eric assumed a position in Chemical Process Research and Development at Amgen where he is currently a Senior Scientist.

Talk Title: “Discovery and Development of Efficient Approaches to Chiral Drug Targets”

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Joseph Fortunak, Howard University

For more information, click here

Talk Title: “Process Chemistry to Increase Access to Medicines in Less-Developed Countries: Medicines for the Other 5.5 Billion”

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Adam Looker, Vertex

Born and raised in upstate NY (Syracuse area), Adam received his B.S. in Chemistry from The College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse, NY. From there, he received his Ph.D. from Yale University under the direction of Frederick Ziegler, followed by a postdoctoral appointment with Michael Crimmins at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Adam joined Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in 2002 in the Chemical Development group, working on a multitude of projects spanning preclinical through commercial. His current responsibilities include oversight of a group of process chemists, lead on several projects including both early and late phase development, and coordinating efforts on building an internal Quality by Design (QbD) paradigm for current and future programs.

Talk Title:
Successful Development and Manufacture of Merimepodib (VX-497) with a Focus on Process Understanding and Real-Time Measurement

Abstract of Presentation

A process for the manufacture of Merimepodib (VX-497), an inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH) inhibitor, has been developed and efficiently scaled to produce clinical supply. The process comprises 5 steps, incorporating simple and robust chemistry that ultimately yielded 96.5 kg with a purity of 100% (by HPLC analysis) and 99.7% w/w assay. Highlights of the process are the effective use of production scale phosgene, manipulation of Schotten-Baumann reaction conditions to give a low pH procedure that avoids a critical impurity, and the use of on-line tools to better identify parameters of an intermediate hydrogenation process, as well as the API purification.

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Richard Pariza, Cedarberg Hauser

Richard Pariza received his Ph.D. degree in Organic Chemistry from Purdue University. He has more than 30 years of leadership on major projects in the pharmaceutical industry. His experience includes positions with Abbott Laboratories, OncQuest, Inc., Protarga, Inc., and Natural Pharmaceuticals. Richard has international recognition as a scientist as well as a scientific manager and leader: Chairman of the prestigious IUPAC Symposium; served on/chaired national ACS committees; frequently invited to chair sessions and lead discussions at international scientific conferences. Former founding editor and now member of the Editorial Board of Organic Process Research & Development, a Research Journal co-sponsored by the American Chemical Society and Royal Society of Chemistry (UK).

Talk Title: “Vitamin D Analogs: Ubiquitous, Important, and Potent!”

April 9, 2010 at the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge

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Melissa Ashlock, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics
Peter Grootenhuis, Vertex

Talk Title: Public Private Partnerships for Drug Development

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Mark Flanagan, Pfizer: Dr. Flanagan is a graduate of New York University. He received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry in 1995 from Colorado State University working in the research laboratory of Professor Robert M. Williams. Dr. Flanagan then went on to study as a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow in the research group of Professor Peter G. Schultz at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1997 he joined the Immunology Group at Pfizer Global Research and Development in Groton, Connecticut. Dr. Flanagan worked for four years in Pfizer’s Immunology Group before transferring to the Antibacterials Group where he is currently a Senior Principal Scientist for Pfizer World Wide Medicinal Chemistry.

Talk Title: Discovery of
tasocitinib (CP-690,550): A Potent and Selective JAK Inhibitor for the Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases and Renal Allograft Rejection

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Daniel Kahne, Harvard University: For many years the Kahne research group has been interested in the molecular mechanisms of various antibiotics and the fundamental cellular processes they inhibit. They have primarily focused on drugs that target bacterial cell wall biosynthesis, including the beta-lactams, vancomycin, and moenomycin. They use these molecules to study the protein machines that synthesize and degrade the bacterial cell wall.

Recently, they have also become interested in understanding how the structure of cellular membranes is established and maintained. This is a stereochemical problem since biological membranes are asymmetric and require proper spatial organization of their constituent lipids and proteins in order to function correctly.
For more information, click here

Talk Title:
How Do Cells Fold Proteins Into Membranes?

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Sarah O’Connor, MIT: The O'Connor lab studies the biochemical steps that comprise the biosynthetic pathway of secondary metabolites to understand the mechanism, function and evolution of biosynthetic enzymes with the long-term goal of generating new natural products.

Understanding the enzymes that catalyze natural product synthesis may enable production of these important compounds in more tractable host organisms and may also facilitate reprogramming of biosynthetic pathways to produce "unnatural" natural products with improved pharmacological activities.
They explore the enzyme based biosynthetic pathways that generate structurally complex and clinically useful natural products. Their goals are to understand the mechanism of the individual enzymes, understand how the enzymes interact with one another and to modulate the substrate specificity of the enzymes. They take a multi-disciplinary approach to address these questions: protein expression, molecular biology, enzymology, high throughput assay design, natural product isolation and structure elucidation and chemical synthesis are key components of our research. For more information,
click here.

Talk Title: Engineering and Understanding Alkaloid Biosynthesis

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Viresh Rawal, University of Chicago: Chemistry is, ultimately, about chemical reactions-developing them, understanding them, and using them to make interesting, useful molecules. Much of the activity in my research group is aimed at discovering new ways to make complex molecules, including the design of unique strategies to certain families of natural products and the development of broadly effective methods for chemical synthesis.   The targets for our synthesis studies are selected for their intricate structures as well as their potent biological activities. We strive to devise routes that are concise, stereocontrolled, and high-yielding, and proceed through strategies that examine interesting aspects of structure and reactivity. Among the targets that we have successfully synthesized are: 5-oxo-silphiperfol-6-ene, (+)-tabersonine, geissoschizal, elisapterosin B, and strychnine. For more information, click here.

Talk Title: Simple, Chiral Hydrogen Bond Donors as Enantioselective Catalysts

October 23, 2009 at the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge

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Karl Hansen: Director of Process Chemistry, Amgen

Karl Hansen received his Bachelor of Science degree from University of Delaware in 1993.  He then completed his Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1998 working under the direction of Professor Eric Jacobsen.  Following graduation from Harvard, Karl joined the Merck Process Research Group in Rahway, NJ where he worked until 2006. He then moved to Amgen's Cambridge, Massachusetts research center as a Scientific Director.  He heads research groups in Chemical Process R&D in both Cambridge, MA and Thousand Oaks, California.

Talk title:
“Process Research and Development: Searching for the Ultimate Synthesis”
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Joel Hawkins: Global Research and Development, Pfizer

Joel Hawkins received his Ph.D. at MIT in 1986 with Professor Barry Sharpless. He went on to become an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at Caltech with Professor Robert Grubbs.  As an Assistant Professor at the University of California at Berkeley from 1987 to 1993, he studied asymmetric Diels-Alder catalysts and fullerene chemistry.  In 1993, he moved to Pfizer where he is a Senior Research Fellow in Chemical Research and Development and is particularly interested in the development and application of new technologies for pharmaceutical process research and development.

Talk title: “Case Studies of Heterocyclic Chemistry Highlighting Flow Chemistry and Reaction Profiling”
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Sheila Magil: BioProcess Technology Consultants

Sheila Magil, Ph.D., Senior Consultant, has over 20 years of experience in analytical method development for small molecules, peptides and biologics. Her expertise includes quality, protein chemistry, and formulation development. She was formerly Sr. Manager of Analytical Development and QC at Biomeasure, Inc., and previously held positions at Waratah Pharmaceuticals, Alkermes, Bion, and HHMI at Mass. General Hospital. Dr. Magil has implemented quality systems and has managed external analytical and QC activities for multiple biopharmaceuticals.

Dr. Magil holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota.

Talk title: “From Clone to Clinic® - Developing a Biotechnology Product”
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Robert Norrie: Section Head Chemical Development/GMP, AMRI

Bob Norrie, Ph.D., received his B.Sc. in Chemistry and Management Studies in 1985 from Dundee Institute of Technology, Dundee, Scotland. In 1989, he completed his doctoral studies at the same establishment, under the supervision of Dr Allan. D. Dunn, and submitted his thesis titled ‘Sulfur containing analogues of deoxyvasicinone’.
Bob joined the Boots Company PLC, Nottingham, England in 1989 where he was employed as a medicinal chemist on the design and synthesis of novel chemical entities for the treatment of schizophrenia, depression and obesity. In 2001 he joined AMRI, where for the past eight years he has managed the small scale cGMP production group. During his time at AMRI Bob has overseen the successful completion of over 250 production campaigns.

Talk title: “Adventures in Scale Up – Case Studies and Lessons Learned”
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Dean Toste: Professor of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

F. Dean Toste received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in chemistry from the University of Toronto where he worked with Prof. Ian W. J. Still. In 1995, he began his doctoral studies at Stanford University under the direction of Professor Barry M. Trost. Following postdoctoral studies with Professor Robert H. Grubbs at Caltech, he joined the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2002, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2006.

Research in the Toste group is primarily aimed toward the development of catalysts and catalytic reactions and methods for organic synthesis. Ultimately, they are interested in using these methods to address problems in the synthesis of complex molecules possessing interesting structural, biological and physical properties. For more information, please
click here.

Talk title: “Gold (I) Catalysts for Organic Synthesis”
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R.P. "Skip" Volante: Vice President & Global Head of Process Research, Merck

R.P. "Skip" Volante is Vice President and Global Head of Process Research, Merck Research Laboratories. Dr. Volante began his career at Merck in September 1977, as a Senior Research Chemist in Process Research. He was promoted to Research Fellow in 1983, Senior Research Fellow in 1987, Director in 1989, Senior Director in 1992, Executive Director in 1995 and Vice President and Global Head in 2004, all in Process Research.

Graduated magna cum laude from Pennsylvania State University in 1971, Dr. Volante received his Ph.D. degree from Harvard University in 1976 under the direction of Nobel Laureate, Professor E.J. Corey. He then spent one and one-half years as a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratories of Professor Jerrold Meinwald at Cornell University before joining Merck.

Prior to his current role as Vice President and Global Head of Process Research, Dr. Volante's major achievements or areas of responsibility included a number of Merck products such as IMIPENEM®, SINGLULAIR® and CRIXIVAN®. He also led the Drug Development Sub-Team (responsible for all API and Pharm Product Technology Transfer activities) for the antifungal product candidate CANCIDAS®. In addition, he has led Process Research efforts on numerous other programs and directed the team that completed the first total synthesis of the 23-membered macrolide immunosuppresant, FK-506. Dr. Volante is the author or co-author of over 100 scientific publications and is an inventor or co-inventor on over 70 US issued patents. He is a member of the American Chemical Society and the ACS Organic Division. He was Chairman of the Natural Products Gordon Conference in 1991 and served on the Pennsylvania State University College of Science Alumni Board of Directors from 1978-1986. He was president of the PSU College of Science Alumni Board of Directors from 1985-1986. Among the honors he has received are the Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award for development of the CRIXIVAN® process (1997), the MRL Divisional Scientific Award for CRIXIVAN® (1998) and the Japanese Chemical Society Synthetic Chemistry Award for the Synthesis of CRIXIVAN® (1998). He currently represents Merck as a member of the R&D Council of New Jersey.

Talk title: “Innovation as the Driver of Green Chemistry Advances in the Pharmaceutical Industry"