Mark Smith, Ph.D., Head, Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center
Dr. Mark Smith joined Stanford ChEM-H in May 2013 as the Head of the Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center. He graduated with a Ph.D. from the laboratory of Prof. Richard Stoodley at the University of Manchester Institute for Science and Technology (UMIST), where his research focused on the application of Lewis acid catalyzed hetero Diels-Alder reactions to the synthesis of novel disaccharide structures. In 2000, Dr. Smith joined the research laboratory of Prof. David Crich at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Here his research focused on the generation of new reagents for the synthesis of beta-mannosides from thioglycosides. From 2002 to 2013, Dr. Smith worked as a medicinal chemist in Roche’s research facilities both in Palo Alto, CA and then Nutley, NJ, where he specialized in antiviral research.
Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center Current Members
Kaustabh Basu, Ph.D. student, Glenn Lab
Kaustabh Basu is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry at Stanford. He completed his undergraduate studies under Prof. James Canary at New York University, with a thesis focusing on the structural diversification and functional modification of proprietary chemotherapeutic molecules. Having earned his B.S in Chemistry and History, he participated in a pre-doctoral internship at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, which drew his attention to ChEM-H and to the School of Medicine. He is currently working with Dr. Jeffrey Glenn to design novel kinase inhibitors for use as broad-spectral antivirals.
Jackie Carozza, Ph.D. student, Li Lab
Jackie Carozza is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry at Stanford. Jackie completed her undergraduate degree in Chemistry at Cornell University in 2014 synthesizing building blocks for covalent organic framework polymers under Prof. William Dichtel. After graduating, she went to the University of Cambridge to do a one year M.Phil degree with Prof. Tuomas Knowles, where she used microfluidics tools to study the binding of amyloid and chaperone proteins. She joined Dr. Lingyin Li’s lab in the Department of Biochemistry at Stanford in 2016 and works with the MCKC to develop small molecule agonists of the STING pathway for cancer immunotherapy.
Paul B. Finn, Ph.D.
Dr. Paul B. Finn joined the Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center at Stanford ChEM-H in 2018 as a postdoctoral research fellow. Dr. Finn completed his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Temple University in Philadelphia, under the guidance of Prof. Scott McN Sieburth. His thesis work focused on the development of photochemical and titanium-mediated methodologies to access novel molecular scaffolds. In 2016, Dr. Finn moved to the laboratory of Prof. Peter B Dervan at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California to develop methods to map DNA-binding small molecules in living cells. He was awarded an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2017 to pursue small molecule inhibitors of DNA-protein binding, as a non-mutagenic approach to combat epigenetic-driven cancer progression, for the development of gene-targeted cancer therapies. Dr. Finn is currently collaborating with Dr. Stanley Qi on the development of chemical solutions to enhance CRISPR gene editing and control T cell activation.
James P. Holt-Martyn, D.Phil.
Dr. James P. Holt-Martyn joined the Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center at Stanford ChEM-H in the fall of 2018 as a postdoctoral fellow working with Dr. Justin Annes developing small molecule stimulators of beta-cells as a therapy for diabetes. Prior to Stanford, Dr. Holt-Martyn completed his B.S and M.S. in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Leeds and was awarded a first class honours degree in 2012. In 2018, Dr. Holt-Martyn graduated from the University of Oxford with a D.Phil. under the supervision of Professors Christopher Schofield, Christopher Pugh and Professor Sir Peter Ratcliffe as a BHF-CRE Cardiovascular Medicinal Chemistry Scholar. His doctoral research consisted of drug design within the field of hypoxia. Dr. Holt-Martyn designed and developed small molecules to selectively target the Fe(II), 2-oxogluatarate (2OG) Hypoxia Inducible Factor-α (HIF-α) prolyl hydroxylases over other 2OG oxygenases for HIF stabilisation for chronic anaemia. In addition, Dr. Holt-Martyn collaborated with Dr. Geoff Higgins and Professor Christopher Schofield to design and develop a novel mitochondrial inhibitor to reduce the cellular consumption of Oxygen to enhance radiotherapy.
Timothy Horton, Ph.D. student, Annes Lab
Tim Horton joined the Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center at Stanford ChEM-H in 2016 as a chemistry graduate student. He completed a B.S. in Chemistry and Physics at Ouachita Baptist University (Arkansas), where he performed undergraduate research with Marty Perry on chiral drug metabolism by P450 enzymes using computational chemistry. Via a summer internship with the HHMI at UC Berkeley, he characterized novel inhibitors of the kinase Syk under the guidance of John Kuriyan. He is currently working with Justin Annes in the Stanford School of Medicine to therapeutically target the beta-cells of the pancreas in order to treat diabetes.
Isaac Jackson, Ph.D. student, James Lab
Isaac is an MSTP student at Stanford pursuing an MD in conjunction with a PhD in chemistry. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 2017 with a Bachelor’s of Science in chemistry, where he trained for 4 years in the lab of Prof. Peter Scott as a radiochemist. While there he worked as a production chemist synthesizing [18F]FDG for clinical PET scans and also carried out research on development of small molecule PET radiotracers and organometallic methodology. He also spent one summer working on analytical chemistry method development within the translational biomarkers department at Merck Pharmaceutical as part of the Future Talent Program. For his PhD he is working in the lab of Prof. Michelle James on developing novel PET imaging agents for the in vivo assessment of neuroinflammation in conditions such as Alzheimer disease, multiple sclerosis, and chronic pain. His specific focus is on in vivo assessment of the dynamic functional activation of microglia. In the future he aims to practice medicine as a pediatric oncologist, and carry out research on development of better diagnostic tools and pharmacological therapies. His overarching goal is to make good drugs, and to make sick kids feel better.
Robert K. Leśniak, D.Phil.
Robert K. Leśniak joined the Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center at Stanford ChEM-H in 2018 as a postdoctoral fellow. Prior to coming to Stanford, he worked with Professor Chris Schofield at the University of Oxford, as a postdoctoral research associate, designing novel antibiotics for the European gram-negative antibacterial engine (ENABLE) and UK Medical Research Council (MRC). Dr Leśniak also completed his DPhil under the guidance of Professor Schofield as a BHF-CRE studentship recipient, which involved the design and implementation of small molecules targeting Fe(II), 2-oxoglutarate dependent oxygenase enzymes involved in carnitine biosynthesis and hypoxic response as a means to treat cardiovascular disease. In addition, work on small-molecule modulation of bacterial metallo-beta-lactamases to combat antibiotic resistance was also carried out. Dr Leśniak completed his undergraduate at the University of Bristol, and worked at GlaxoSmithKline, North Carolina, developing inhibitors of bromodomains and histone acetyl-transferases. He is currently working with Professor Thomas Montine at the Stanford School of Medicine on the design of neurotransmitter prodrugs.
Andre St. Amant, D.Phil.
Andre St. Amant joined the Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center at Stanford ChEM-H in 2018 as a post-doctoral scholar. He completed his doctoral research at UC Santa Barbara in the Javier Read de Alaniz lab. His doctoral research focused on developing organic chemistry methodology and using the Diels–Alder reaction for bioconjugation and polymer conjugation. Before his PhD, Andre worked in Leonard G. Luyt’s lab in the London Regional Cancer Program as a technician doing peptide synthesis and radiochemistry. Andre has also completed a MSc at the University of Western Ontario in Robert H. E. Hudson’s lab working on nucleic acid analogues. He is currently working for Michael F. Clarke developing small molecule inhibitors of a new target implicated in triple-negative breast cancer.
Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center Former Members
Paul Allegretti, Ph.D.
Dr. Paul Allegretti joined the Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center at Stanford ChEM-H in 2016 as a postdoctoral research scholar. Prior to coming to Stanford, he completed his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Colorado State University under the guidance of Eric Ferreira. His doctoral research focused on the use of platinum salts to form carbene intermediates, enabling the formation of substituted heterocycles from easily accessible precursors. Dr. Allegretti completed his undergraduate degree at UC Santa Cruz and worked at Theravance developing small molecules that acted as both angiotensin II antagonists/neprilysin inhibitors before returning to school to complete his Ph.D.. He collaborated with Professor Justin Annes at the Stanford School of Medicine on the design of small molecule stimulators of beta-cells as a therapy for diabetes. Dr. Allegretti is now a research scientist at Theravance Biopharma.
Samuel Banister, Ph.D.
Dr. Samuel Banister joined the Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center at Stanford ChEM-H in 2017 as a research scientist. He obtained his Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry in 2011 from The University of Sydney, where his research focused on the synthesis of polycarbocyclic "cage" amines interacting with the sigma-1 receptor for the treatment of neuropathic pain. Dr. Banister then undertook a research fellowship at the Brain and Mind Research Institute (Sydney, Australia), where he worked on the development of fluorine-18-labeled radiotracers targeting the translocator protein (TSPO) for imaging neuroinflammation with positron emission tomography (PET), before moving to Stanford University in 2014 as a postdoctoral researcher to further his training in molecular imaging and drug development. Dr. Banister has published more than 40 medicinal chemistry articles in top journals including The New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, Nature Protocols, Forensic Toxicology, and ACS Chemical Neuroscience, and serves on the editorial board of Drug Testing and Analysis.
John Bruning, Ph.D.
John Bruning joined the Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center at Stanford ChEM-H in 2017 as a post-doctoral scholar. He completed his doctoral research at UC San Francisco as a joint student between the Jacobson lab and the Fletterick lab. His doctoral research focused on the biophysical characterization of a novel redox-sensitive post-translational modification that regulates a transcription factor intimately involved in Parkinson's disease. Dr. Bruning completed his undergraduate degree at UC Santa Cruz, where he volunteered in the Singaram lab developing methods to drive the regioselective and enantioselevtive reduction of cyclic alpha-beta unsaturated ketones. In between his bachelor and doctorate degrees, he worked as a technician in the Sanford Lab at UC Santa Cruz optimizing the CLIP assay to elucidate protein-RNA interactions at nucleotide resolution. He is currently collaborating with Professor Jeffrey Glenn in the Stanford School of Medicine using fragment-based drug discovery approaches to develop pan-antiviral compounds against (+)ssRNA viruses.
Matthew Caffet, Chemical engineering undergraduate
Matthew Caffet joined the Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center at Stanford ChEM-H in 2015 as an undergraduate researcher. Matthew is currently working under Dr. Paul Allegretti in the laboratory of Dr. Justin Annes. Previously, Matthew worked under Timothy Rhorer in the laboratory of Dr. Jeffrey Glenn on broad spectrum antivirals for ViRX@Stanford. He is currently working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Biology. Matthew is currently working on synthesizing and designing small molecule stimulators of beta-cells as a therapy for diabetes, but has general interests in drug development and treatment of chronic conditions. He plans to use his ChEM-H experiences to develop his knowledge of the drug design process and advance him on towards a career of drug development and related research. He hopes to eventually attend a graduate MD-PhD program before entering into the field of drug development and medicinal chemistry applications professionally.
Samanta Capolicchio, Ph.D.
Dr. Samanta Capolicchio joined the Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center at Stanford ChEM-H in 2017 as a postdoctoral research scholar. She completed her Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the University of Zurich, Switzerland under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Henning J. Jessen developing novel strategies for the synthesis of diphosphoinositol polyphosphates. After being awarded with a fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation, she moved to Stanford University and worked in the lab of Prof. Paul Wender where she designed guanidinium rich molecular transporters for targeted drug delivery. Her research is currently focused on the development of novel inhibitors for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia in collaboration with the group of Prof. Kathleen Sakamoto.
Nick Cox, Ph.D.
Dr. Nick Cox joined the Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center at Stanford ChEM-H in 2014 as a postdoctoral scholar. Dr. Cox completed his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Washington under the supervision of Prof. Gojko Lalic. Dr. Cox is primarily interested in applying synthetic chemistry to aid research in the development of new technologies for treating human diseases. Dr. Cox collaborated with Prof. Gerald Grant of the Stanford School of Medicine and Prof. Jennifer Cochran of the Stanford Department of Bioengineering to develop molecular tools for the treatment of gliomas. He is now at Novo Nordisk in Seattle.
Maddie Hayes-Lattin, Bioengineering undergraduate
Maddie Hayes-Lattin joined the Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center in April, 2017 as an undergraduate intern working under the guidance of Dr. Sam Banister in the laboratory of Dr. Edgar Engleman. She is currently working towards a Bachelor's degree in Bioengineering. Maddie is interested in making a nd testing new small molecules to target the source of disease within cells, as well as exploring the factors influencing drug metabolism rates and binding affinities. She hopes to use her experience with Chem-H to further pursue a care er in drug discovery and chemistry for medical applications.
Andrew Ng, B.A.
Andrew Ng joined the Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center at Stanford ChEM-H in October 2015 as a research assistant. He earned his B.A. from the University of Chicago under the supervision of Prof. Jared Lewis. His research at Chicago focused on the development of artificial metalloenzymes for selective biocatalytic oxidation. Andrew collaborated with Prof. Kathleen Sakamoto of the Stanford School of Medicine on the synthesis of small molecule inhibitors that target CREB, an oncogene that contributes to acute lymphoblastic and myeloid leukemia. He is now a Ph.D. student at the University of Chicago.
Andrew Raub, Ph.D. student, Mochly-Rosen Lab
Andrew Raub is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Systems Biology at Stanford. Andrew graduated from UCSD in 2012 with a B.S. in chemistry, where he conducted research in the area of physical organic chemistry under the direction of Joe O'Connor. After an internship at Novartis and working for Jay Siegel in Zurich, he came to Stanford to continue his education. His work in the Mochly-Rosen lab focuses on the synthesis of activators and inhibitors of the metabolic enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD).
Timothy Rhorer, M.S.
Timothy Rhorer joined Stanford ChEM-H in September of 2014 as a research assistant for the Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center. He earned his Master of Science in Chemistry from Colorado State University under the direction of Prof. Tomislav Rovis. At Colorado State his research focused on the development of new carbene catalysts and the optimization of multi-catalytic cascade reactions. In the Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center, Tim worked with Prof. Jeffrey Glenn on the synthesis of broadly effective antivirals. He is now working for Johnson & Johnson in San Diego.
Russell Stabler, M.S.
Russell Stabler joined the Stanford CHEM-H MCKC in October 2016 to work as a Life Science Research Professional. Previously, Russell spent over 20 years working as a medicinal chemist in the laboratories of Syntex and Roche Palo Alto and brings valuable design and synthesis experience to the MCKC. Russell obtained his Bachelors degree in Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati and a Masters degree in Organic Chemistry from Rutgers. Currently, Russell’s research is focused on developing broad spectrum antivirals in a collaboration with Dr. Jeffrey Glenn.
Phil Thomson, Ph.D.
Dr. Phil Thomson joined the Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center in 2016 as a postdoctoral research scholar. He obtained a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Keele under the supervision of Dr. Russell Pearson researching nitric oxide (NO) donating compounds and the inhibition of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) with the design and synthesis of novel compounds to moderate the in vivo levels of NO as an anti-cancer agent. He earned his B.Sc. in Medicinal chemistry from Keele university in 2012 researching tetracyclic antimalarial compounds with Prof. Steve Allin. At the Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center, Dr. Thomson collaborated with Dr. Linyin Li of Stanford University department of biochemistry in the area of immuno-oncology.