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Dr. Kevin Hodgetts

Director of ​The Laboratory for Drug Discovery in Neurodegeneration

 

Kevin has a broad background in organic and medicinal chemistry, with experience in both industrial and academic drug discovery. Kevin 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, 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 these projects 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. The goal is to identify compounds suitable for clinical trials in humans.

Current

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Dr. Xiao (Elliot) Wang

​Dr. Wang originally joined the LDDN as a postdoctoral Research Fellow in Medicinal Chemistry in 2011, and was promoted to his current position in 2012. His research efforts are aimed at finding and optimizing small molecules as potential treatments for neurodegeneration. Dr. Wang obtained his Ph.D. from University of Pittsburgh in 2009, working with Professor Dennis Curran on organic synthesis. From 2009-2011, he gained postdoctoral experience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology with Professor Stephen Buchwald. Dr Wang is a specialist in multiple synthesis fields such as asymmetric catalysis, organofluorine chemistry, peptide synthesis and manufacturing APIs in continuous flow.

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Dr. Xiao (Elliot) Wang

​Dr. Wang originally joined the LDDN as a postdoctoral Research Fellow in Medicinal Chemistry in 2011, and was promoted to his current position in 2012. His research efforts are aimed at finding and optimizing small molecules as potential treatments for neurodegeneration. Dr. Wang obtained his Ph.D. from University of Pittsburgh in 2009, working with Professor Dennis Curran on organic synthesis. From 2009-2011, he gained postdoctoral experience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology with Professor Stephen Buchwald. Dr Wang is a specialist in multiple synthesis fields such as asymmetric catalysis, organofluorine chemistry, peptide synthesis and manufacturing APIs in continuous flow.

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Dr. Hrvoje (Harry) Lusic

Dr. Hrvoje (Harry) Lusic joined the LDDN as a postdoctoral research fellow in medicinal chemistry in 2013. His current research efforts are aimed at finding and optimizing potential treatments for ALS and Alzheimer’s disease. Hrvoje obtained a B.S. in Chemistry in 2002, and an M.S. in Polymer Chemistry in 2004, both at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Hrvoje continued his graduate studies at the lab of Alexander Deiters at North Caroline State University, where he worked on synthesis and evaluation of unnatural nucleosides and small-molecule probes as a means of control of biological processes. After earning his Ph.D. in the summer of 2009, he began a postdoctoral appointment at Boston University under the direction of Mark Grinstaff. His studies there were focused on the synthesis and characterization of computed tomography contrast agents.

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Alyssa Calder

Alyssa will be rejoining the LDDN in June 2015, as a researcher on the SMA project.
Alyssa made many contributions to the SMA project as a Northeastern coop student in 2014 and will work again on the SMA project as we close in on identifying a development candidate in the coming year.

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Nicholas Kern

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.

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Eliza Miller

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.

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Alison Volkert

Joined the group in July 2015. Alison is a coop student from Northeastern University. She will be developing the SAR on the CMT project.

Nicole Nelson

Nicole Nelson

Joined the group in July 2015. Nicole is a coop student from Northeastern University. She will be developing an asymmetric synthesis of a novel series of heterocycles for the SMA project. Nicole is a recipient of the Pajak Research Scholarship from Northeastern.

Rohan Sharma

Rohan Sharma

Rohan joined the group in July 2015, as a coop student from Northeastern University. Rohan is helping to develop the SAR on the HIF2a project. Rohan is also a recipient of the Pajak Research Scholarship from Northeastern.

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John Kennedy

John Kennedy joined the group in July 2015. John is a MSci Chemistry student from Glasgow University, U.K.. John will be spending his forth year placement here at the LDDN. John has an interest in ALS and will be contributing to the EAAT2 and SOD1 projects.

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Fernanda Nobrega

Fernanda is a Brazil Scientific Mobility exchange student enrolled at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston. She will be at the LDDN for the summer 2015 to investigate CNS drugs that are approved in Europe, but not by the FDA in the USA.

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Raihana Ghiwala

Raihana Ghiwala is a MChem with Drug Discovery student from Bradford University, U.K.. Raihana will be spending her forth year placement here at the LDDN.

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Andrew Burke

Andrew Burke is a MChem student from the University of York, U.K..

Past

Past Medicinal Chemists

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Dr. Xuechao Xing

Dr. Xuechao Xing was a Senior Research Scientist and Instructor at the LDDN. Having joined the LDDN in 2001, Xuechao made major contributions to multiple LDDN projects including necrosis inhibitors, BMP, SMA, and EAAT2. Xuechao is currently working as a medicinal chemist at Enanta Pharmaceuticals in Watertown, MA.

Chemistry BSc and MSc Students

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Fatih Sirindil

Fatih Sirindil joined the group in January 2015, from the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Strasbourg. He conducted research here on Alzheimer’s disease towards his Master’s degree, Sciences of Drug – Drug Design and Production. Fatih has now returned to France and obtained a French government scholarship to do his PhD in Strasbourg with Professor Patrick Pale.

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Esat Oney

Esat Oney also joined the group in January 2015, from the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Strasbourg. He conducted research here on new treatments for Spinal Muscular Atrophy towards his Master’s degree, Sciences of Drug – Drug Design and Production. Esat has now returned France and plans to pursue a PhD in Europe.

Lin Lin

Lin Lin

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.

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Matthew Okscin

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.

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Alyssa Calder

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.

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Jennifer Li

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.

Northeastern Coop Biotechnology MSc Students

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Rutali Brahme

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.

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Sinthia Ahmed

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.

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Manpreet Virk

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.

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Fera Soedarsono

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.