Our Members

Profile for B. Frank Gupton, Ph.D.

B. Frank Gupton, Ph.D.

Founder

B. Frank Gupton, Ph.D., is the Floyd D. Gottwald Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Engineering. His thirty year industrial career has centered on the development and commercialization of chemical processes for pharmaceutical and agricultural applications. As Executive Director of Chemical Process Development at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals he led the development and commercialization of the chemical process for the production of Nevirapine, a widely-prescribed antiviral medication for the treatment of AIDS. Gupton holds a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Richmond, an M. S. in biochemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from VCU.

Profile for Thomas Roper, Ph.D.

Thomas Roper, Ph.D.

Director of Pharmaceutical Engineering

Thomas D. Roper, Ph.D., joined VCU in 2016 after a 22-year career at GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals. He held senior positions in the Pharmaceutical Development Division of GSK, including responsibilities for process R&D and analytical development for active pharmaceutical ingredients for the US, and most recently was the global head of exploratory development sciences for GSK. Roper specializes in efforts to bring engineering and science closer to patients via novel medicinal technologies. He holds a B.S. in chemistry from VCU and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Virginia. He was a postdoctoral associate in organic chemistry at Harvard University.

Profile for Eugene Choi, Ph.D.

Eugene Choi, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Eugene Choi, Ph.D., defines and leads the strategic direction of the Medicines for All Institute, including defining organizational priorities, overseeing programs, and developing strategic partnerships. Previously, Choi was the chief engineer at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for the Pharmacy on Demand and Biologically-derived Medicines on Demand programs. These initiatives developed flexible pharmaceuticals and biologics manufacturing platforms capable of producing multiple drugs. Choi has also designed and managed multiple technology development projects for Strategic Analysis, Inc., enabling capabilities for the Department of Defense. He also served as a researcher in materials science and biomedical engineering at the National Academies and the National Institutes of Health. He holds a B.S. in biology from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in polymer science from the University of Akron.

Profile for Bruce V. Thomas J.D.

Bruce V. Thomas J.D.

Senior Advisor

Bruce Thomas is a recognized expert in the areas of medication adherence and access, with experience leading efforts to address these issues at scale to improve patients’ lives. As a consultant and grantee to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation since 2014, he leads the development, testing and scale-up of new approaches to improve differentiated care for TB and HIV patients in China, India, and Sub-Saharan Africa. In his work with VCU’s Medicines For All Institute, he works to ensure that the global health community capitalizes fully on the institute’s innovative approaches to improve access to lifesaving treatments. He previously served as president of MeadWestvaco Healthcare, establishing a proprietary manufacturing system and supply chain in India to bring generic pharmaceutical products to North America in ready-to-dispense, adherence-enhancing packaging for Walmart’s breakthrough $4 generic program.

Profile for Katherine Belecki, Ph.D.

Katherine Belecki, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor in Chemistry

Katherine Belecki, Ph.D., is a Co-Investigator with Medicines 4 All and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at VCU. Belecki leverages her expertise in organic synthesis, natural product biosynthesis, process engineering, and biocatalysis by exploiting both “traditional” process intensification activities and also strategies and tools from Nature to advance chemical synthesis efforts. As a member of the M4All team since its inception, she served as Project Manager for the process optimization of nevirapine and has been a key player in all early M4All activities. She earned her Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University and previously worked as a process chemist at Pfizer, Inc.

Profile for Saeed Ahmad, Ph.D.

Saeed Ahmad, Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor

Saeed Ahmad, Ph.D., specializes in the development of using small molecules, peptides and proteins. He also works in development of new and existing active pharmaceutical ingredients, as well as development of efficient and cost-effective processes using continuous synthesis and flow chemistry. Ahmad holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Allahabad, India. He was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia.

Profile for Bimbisar K. Desai, Ph.D.

Bimbisar K. Desai, Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor

Bimbisar "Bobby" K. Desai, Ph.D., is a research assistant professor in VCU’s pharmaceutical engineering labs. He brings a strong background in synthetic organic and medicinal chemistry gained in academic and industry settings. His research focuses on the integration of new synthetic chemistry technologies including flow chemistry for the delivery of active pharmaceutical ingredients and molecules of medicinal value. He holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Surrey, England.

Profile for Eliseu De Oliveira, Ph.D

Eliseu De Oliveira, Ph.D

Research Assistant Professor

Eliseu De Oliveira, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in VCU’s Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering. He researches novel chemical processes for cleaner and more economical routes of synthesis for drugs needed in developing countries. De Oliveira holds an M.S. in organic chemistry and a Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry from the University of São Paulo, Brazil.

Profile for Nakul S. Telang, Ph.D

Nakul S. Telang, Ph.D

Research Assistant Professor

Nakul S. Telang, Ph.D, is an expert in medicinal chemistry and has broad experience in synthetic organic chemistry. He brings seven years of strong postdoctoral research experience with research focus on design and synthesis of novel chemical entities (NCEs) for cure of life threatening diseases. Telang also had the opportunity to collaborate on externally funded projects with renowned experts from the pharmaceutical industry. At the Medicines for All Institute, he conducts research in the development of novel chemical synthetic routes of therapeutic drugs through flow chemistry.

Profile for Rudy Krack

Rudy Krack

Instructor

Rudy Krack is a chemical engineer with 30+ years experience in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. He provides raw material cost estimates for new processes for the Gupton research group. Now in the ninth year of an "encore career" in academia, Krack also teaches undergraduate lab courses, manages instructional laboratories, maintains equipment and instrumentation, promotes lab safety and assists with capstone design projects.

Profile for Amy Miner

Amy Miner

Laboratory Manager

Amy Miner graduated from Taylor University with a B.A. in biology. She previously worked at VCU's School of Medicine in a smooth muscle physiology and biochemistry lab before joining Medicines for All in 2017. She brings over fifteen years of bench and lab management experience.

Profile for Perrer Tosso, Ph.D.

Perrer Tosso, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Perrer Tosso, Ph.D., is a chemist with extensive experience in drug discovery and development. He holds a Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry from the Georgetown University School of Medicine. Tosso is currently a postdoctoral research associate at Medicine for All. His research interests include active pharmaceutical ingredient synthesis and flow methodologies.

Profile for Daniel W. Cook, Ph.D.

Daniel W. Cook, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Daniel W. Cook, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral fellow working under Thomas D. Roper, Ph.D. In this role he serves as the primary analytical chemist for research efforts of Roper and B. Frank Gupton, Ph.D. He received his B.S. in chemistry from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia in 2011. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry from VCU in 2016. His research interests primarily lie in the fields of separations as well as the application of advanced data analysis (chemometrics) to existing instrumental methods.

Profile for Narendar R. Gade, Ph.D.

Narendar R. Gade, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Narendar R. Gade, Ph.D., holds a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Hyderabad in India. After finishing his doctoral research he was a research associate with GVK BIO in Hyderabad before moving to California for postdoctoral research. He works with Thomas Roper, Ph.D., on research related to active pharmaceutical ingredient synthesis and multi component approaches for organic synthesis.

Profile for Stan Gilliland, Ph.D.

Stan Gilliland, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Stan Gilliland, Ph.D., joined VCU as a postdoctoral fellow in 2015. His main research focus is rational development and production of heterogeneous metal catalysts, specifically palladium nanoparticles supported on graphene materials. In collaboration with researchers at University of South Carolina and VCU’s Center for Rational Catalyst Synthesis (CeRCaS), he continues to research precise catalyst site synthesis using strong electrostatic adsorption and microwave reduction methods for specific carbon-carbon bond formation and carbon-hydrogen activation.

Profile for Mariam Ibrahim, Ph.D.

Mariam Ibrahim, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Mariam Ibrahim, Ph.D., is a formulation scientist with 10 years experience in development of formulation strategies for dosage forms including dry powder aerosols, modified release tablets, capsules, suppositories, suspensions and emulsions. Her main research interests are advanced drug delivery systems for oral and pulmonary delivery, additive manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, novel particle engineering and solubility enhancement technologies. Ibrahim received her bachelor's and master's degrees in pharmaceutical sciences from Suez Canal University in Egypt. In 2012, she received a Fulbright scholarship to pursue her Ph.D. degree at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Upon her graduation in 2017, she joined the Roper Laboratory at Virginia Commonwealth University as a postdoctoral fellow. She is currently working on the "Pharmacy on Demand" project for the production of continuously manufactured Ciprofloxacin tablets.

Profile for Jo-Ann Jee, Ph.D.

Jo-Ann Jee, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Jo-Ann Jee, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral fellow in VCU’s Roper group. She holds a B.S. in biochemistry from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Stony Brook University, New York. Her doctoral work focused on the synthesis of multivalent and multimodal dendrimers via isocyanide multicomponent reactions. As a postdoctoral researcher at the Infectious Disease Research Institute in Seattle, she designed and synthesized potential drug candidates for the treatment of tuberculosis. Her current research at VCU is focused on development of new and cost effective strategies for the synthesis of dolutegravir, a drug for the treatment of HIV. Her research on dolutegravir incorporates both batch chemistry and continuous flow chemistry.

Profile for Hari P. R. Mangunuru, Ph.D.

Hari P. R. Mangunuru, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Hari R. Mangunuru, Ph.D. received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Old Dominion University in 2014. He was a research associate with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, where his work was focused on asymmetric catalysis, ligand design and optimization. He joined Medicines for all in May 2017. His current research interests include in flow chemistry, multicomponent synthesis, active pharmaceutical ingredient synthesis and asymmetric catalysis. His current research is on the process optimization of the HIV drug tenofavir disoproxil fumarate.

Profile for Cheryl L. Peck, Ph.D.

Cheryl L. Peck, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Cheryl L. Peck, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Gupton’s laboratory and Medicines for All. She holds a B.S. in chemistry with a minor in biology from Longwood University and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Her doctoral work with Dr. Webster Santos focused on the development and optimization of novel synthetic methods for the formation of carbon-boron bonds utilizing inexpensive reagents and environmentally friendly reaction conditions. Her current research at VCU is centered around the development of cost effective strategies for the synthesis of the HIV drug Emtricitabine.

Profile for Sarah Smith, Ph.D.

Sarah Smith, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Sarah Smith, Ph.D., received her B.S. in chemistry in 2012 from the University of Mary Washington. She completed her Ph.D. in chemistry in 2017 from Virginia Commonwealth University under the direction of Dr. Everett Carpenter, where she designed flow reactors for the synthesis of metallic nanoparticles. She joined the Gupton lab as a postdoctoral fellow in 2017. Her research focuses on the rational synthesis of new heterogeneous catalysts in connection with VCU’s Center for Rational Catalysis Synthesis (CeRCaS). Currently, she is researching the design and synthesis of polymer monolith systems.

Profile for Boxuan Li, Ph.D.

Boxuan Li, Ph.D.

Visiting Research Associate

Boxuan Li, Ph.D. is a Visiting Research Associate at the Pharmaceutical Engineering. He brings a strong background in molecular dynamics spectroscopy and materials science & engineering. His research focusses on the APIs synthesis and crystallization. He is currently developing new synthetic chemistry technologies and APIs with ionic liquids.

Profile for Somi Amir

Somi Amir

Graduate Student

Somi Amir received her B.S. in chemistry in 2015 from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is currently a graduate student in chemistry at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is currently working on the continuous synthesis of Fluconazole.

Profile for Cameron Armstrong

Cameron Armstrong

Graduate Student

Cameron Armstrong is masters student in VCU's Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering. His current research focus is in the flow chemistry development for the synthesis of active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Profile for Michael Burkholder

Michael Burkholder

Graduate Student

Michael Burkholder is a graduate student in VCU’s Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering and works in VCU’s Catalysis Lab. He received his B.S. in chemical engineering and chemistry at VCU in 2014 and has been a part of the Gupton group since 2013. His research focus includes the development and characterization of novel metal catalysts supported on carbon and design of process systems. Currently, he is collaborating with the University of South Carolina to develop a process for a continuous oxidation of alcohols.

Profile for Edward Chandler

Edward Chandler

Graduate Student

Edward Chandler received his B.A. in Chemistry from the University of Richmond, where he worked with Raymond Dominey, Ph.D., on developing flow syntheses of precursors to poly-heterocycles for future use in pharmaceutical manufacturing. He joined the Gupton Lab as a Ph.D. student in 2017. His current research focus is on the rational synthesis of  heterogeneous 1st row transition metal catalysts.

Profile for Brian Clark

Brian Clark

Graduate Student

Brian Clark graduated from Virginia Tech in 2015 with a B.S. in chemical engineering. He is currently a Ph.D. student in VCU’s Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering.

Profile for Sajjad Ghobadi

Sajjad Ghobadi

Graduate Student

Sajjad Ghobadi received his B.S. in polymer engineering in 2013 from the Amirkabir University of Technology, Iran; and his M.Sc. in materials science and engineering in 2015 from Sabanci University, Turkey. His research was focus on preparation of graphene-based heterogeneous catalysts for renewable energy applications. He joined the Gupton lab as a Ph.D. student in 2017. His research focus is on the rational synthesis of new monolithic catalysts for flow chemistry in connection with CeRCaS.

Profile for Caleb Kong

Caleb Kong

Graduate Student

Caleb Kong holds a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Virginia. He worked in polymer chemistry at Evonik Industries before coming to VCU to begin his Ph.D. in chemistry. He currently works with the Gupton group, and his current research interests include flow methodology, active pharmaceutical ingredient synthesis and catalysis.

Profile for Yuan Yang

Yuan Yang

Graduate student

Yuan Yang is a doctoral student in VCU’s Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering. His current research focuses on developing carbon-based metal nanoparticle heterogeneous catalyst for reactions via theoretical and experimental methodologies.

Profile for Eric Yu

Eric Yu

Graduate Student

Eric Yu received his B.S. in chemistry from the University of Richmond, where he worked with Raymond Dominey, Ph.D., on CO2 reduction. Currently a post-baccalaureate certificate student in VCU’s School of Medicine, his projects include the synthesis of HIV drug tenofovir and anti-rheumatic drug hydroxychloroquine.