Our Team

Leadership


Chief Executive Officer

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.

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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.

Tyler McQuad, Ph.D. profile picture

Tyler McQuade, Ph.D.

Chief Technology Officer

Dr. McQuade studied organic chemistry at UC Irvine, UW Madison and MIT. He added knowledge of chemical engineering during his 14 years in academics and as a program manager and member of the leadership team at DARPA. Dr. McQuade is now a professor and principal in the Medicines for All Institute, an organization he founded with Dr. Gupton in 2009.

Rodger Stringham, Ph.D.

Principal Analytical Chemist & Manufacturer Engagement Lead

Dr. Stringham is responsible for the development of analytical chemistry to support process development at the Medicines for All Institute. He is also responsible for market intelligence, technology transfer and relationship-building with manufacturers and Global Health partners. Prior to joining the institute Dr. Stringham spent 11 years as the head of the process chemistry team at the Clinton Health Access Initiative. This was preceded by 18 years working as an analytical chemist in technology companies and in the pharmaceutical industry. He holds both B.S. and M.S. degrees from Virginia Tech as well as a Ph.D. from Purdue University.

Senior Adviser

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.

Faculty & Research Staff


David Snead, Ph.D.

Director of Research

David Snead, Ph.D., is the Director of Research at Medicines for All. He uses his expertise in process development to address problems in the pharmaceutical and commodity chemical industries. He comes to VCU from Merck where he applied continuous flow technology to solve complex problems in API process development. David developed his skills in continuous synthesis as a postdoc at MIT in the early days of the Pharmacy on Demand project. Prior to joining Merck, he worked in front-end innovation to identify and develop new business opportunities for GP Chemicals resulting in executive level sponsorship for commercialization of two projects. He holds a B.S. in chemistry from UNC-CH and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Florida.

Assistant Professor

Mo Jiang, Ph.D., is a Co-Investigator with Medicines for All and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering at VCU. With M4ALL, Jiang focuses on process intensification for advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing, such as designing novel processes and platforms of continuous crystallization and/or evaporation. Jiang holds a B.S. in biology from Tsinghua University, an M.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Assistant Professor in Chemistry

Joshua Sieber, Ph.D., is a Co-Investigator with Medicines for All and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at VCU. He joined VCU in 2018 after a 7-year stent in industry in the process chemistry group at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where he gained expertise in developing synthetic processes for the large-scale synthesis of new APIs and the application of catalysis to large-scale processes. He obtained a Ph.D. from Boston College in 2008 followed by an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University where he gained experience in catalysis development and the total synthesis of natural products. His research interests focus on applying his background in catalysis, total synthesis, and process chemistry to develop new catalysts and catalytic reactions that target industrial-scale applications.

Justina Burns, Ph.D.

Analytical Chemist

Justina Burns, Ph.D., generates analytical chemistry methods to support process development at the Medicines for All Institute. Previously she worked in contract research supporting a variety of projects which included sample preparation/analysis, report writing and training. Additionally, Justina worked in the Mass Spectrometry Center at the University of South Carolina focusing on ICP-MS. She holds a B.S. in chemistry from University of Pittsburgh, Johnstown and a Ph.D. in analytical environmental chemistry from the University of South Carolina.

Flavio Cardoso, Ph.D.

Research Scientist

Flavio Cardoso, Ph.D., is a research scientist at Medicines for All Institute working on process development of APIs and/or key building blocks. Prior to joining M4ALL, he worked at Libbs Pharmaceuticals as R&D Coordinator where he gained experience in the development of synthetic processes for the manufacture of generic APIs. He holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Florida, where he designed and applied StackPhos, a new chiral biaryl heterocyclic ligand for enantioselective catalysis. Dr. Cardoso obtained his B.S. at UNICAMP (Brazil), where he applied palladium catalyzed cross-coupling reactions for the synthesis of biologically active compounds.

Analytical Chemist

Daniel W. Cook, Ph.D., is an analytical chemist within the Medicines for All Institute where he utilizes his expertise in separation sciences and chemometrics to develop and implement analytical methods to support the institute’s various projects. He holds a B.S in chemistry from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA and a Ph.D. in chemistry from VCU. Prior to his current role at M4ALL he held a postdoctoral fellowship at VCU in the Chemical and Life Science Engineering department working on both the Pharmacy on Demand project under Dr. Thomas Roper and M4ALL under Dr. Frank Gupton. He transitioned into his current role in early 2019.

Vijayagopal R. Gopalsamuthiram, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scientist

Vijayagopal Gopalsamuthiram, Ph.D., is an active member of the process development team working on 3TC project and also is responsible for performing reproducibility studies in demo batches for DTG and in preparing comprehensive paper studies for forthcoming projects. Previously, Vijay was a team leader in process research at Syngenta and contributed in early stage process scouting and process optimization towards various agrochemical candidates. He brings also extensive chemical discovery experience through his stint at DuPont and was a researcher working in targeted drug delivery at the University of Minnesota-Twin cities recently. He holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Michigan State University.

Brenden T. Herrera, Ph.D.

Post-Doctoral Research Associate

Brenden T. Herrera, Ph.D., serves as a Medicines for All Fellow and project manager at Virginia Commonwealth University. His role involves the management and support of chemical process development to reduce the manufacturing cost of critical medicines, and drive pharmaceutical manufacturing innovation. He obtained his B.S. in chemistry from The University of Texas at Austin in 2014. Brenden completed his doctoral work in 2019 under the supervision of Professor Eric V. Anslyn at The University of Texas at Austin, where the bulk of his work utilized concepts rooted in physical organic chemistry to develop optical methodologies for the rapid characterization of asymmetric transformations.

Ryan Nelson, Ph.D.

Research Scientist

Ryan Nelson, Ph.D

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Saeed Ahmad, Ph.D.

Director of Process Economics and Tech Transfer

Saeed Ahmad, Ph.D., oversees techno-economics cost analysis of existing and new processes of target molecules for Medicines for All. He specializes in efficient, robust and cost-effective process development, scale-up and tech-transfer of new and existing active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). He has served in various capacities in the pharmaceutical industry including regulatory and compliance. Previously, he was the director of APIs manufacturing at PolyPeptide Labs and has also worked in the process development group at Boehringer Ingelheim Chemicals for more than 13 years. Dr. Ahmad holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Allahabad, India.

Sr Process Economics Analyst

Rudy Krack is a chemical engineer with 33 years of experience in the specialty chemical and pharmaceutical industries, both in active ingredients and dosage forms. He served at VCU at various capacity for 11 years including teaching undergraduate lab courses and managing the instructional laboratories. Currently, he provides raw material cost estimates and green chemistry metrics for new processes from Medicines for All research.

Postdoctoral Research Associate


Irini

Irini Abdiaj, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Irini Abdiaj, Ph.D., joined Prof. Tyler McQuade’s group in January 2019. She holds a M.Sc. in Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technologies and an industrial PhD in Janssen, Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, Toledo, Spain. Irini is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow and her doctoral work under the supervision of Dr. Jesus Alcazar was to enable the role of visible light photoredox catalysis into drug-discovery using flow chemistry. Currently she is working in developing cost-effective strategies for the synthesis of HIV drug, Lamivudine.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Brenden P. Derstine, Ph.D., received his B.S. in chemistry from the University of Hartford in 2012. He completed his Ph.D. in 2018 under the guidance of Dr. Scott McN. Sieburth at Temple University where he focused on [4 + 4] photocycloadditions and titanium (II) mediated methodologies. In 2018, he joined the Gupton Lab and the Medicines for All Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University. His current research is focused on improving the synthetic route to access active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) through process intensification and continuous processing.

Kashi

Kashinath Komirishetty, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Kashinath Komirishetty, Ph.D., received his Ph.D in 2016 from CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory, Pune, India, under the supervision of Dr. D. Srinivasa Reddy. During his Ph.D he worked on total synthesis of natural products and involved in several medicinal chemistry programs. Later, in May 2016 he joined as a group leader at Ahammune Biosciences Pvt Ltd, Pune, India, where he worked on development of a drug candidate to treat Vitiligo, a skin depigmenting disorder. In February 2019, he joined Dr. McQuade’s lab and currently working on low-cost synthesis of Lamivudine, an antiretroviral drug. His research interests include total synthesis, drug discovery and process development.

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.

Adjunct & Visiting Scholars, Advisers


Visiting Research Associate

Raymond N. Dominey, Ph.D., is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering. He studied chemistry at the University of West Florida (B.S.), MIT (Ph.D. Advisor: Mark S. Wrighton), and UNC-Chapel Hill (Post-Doc Advisor: David Whitten). He is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Richmond where he works with undergraduate students on research projects focused in two main areas: 1) the interface of physical, analytical, and synthetic Chemistry, particularly as it applies to developing flow chemistry methods for synthesis of important API’s, and 2) energy research, in particular CO2 reduction. His work at Medicines for all focuses on developing Electrosonic Spray Ionization (ESSI) as a flow chemistry method for accelerating organic reactions and using NMR to elucidate synthesis pathways for optimizing flow syntheses of API’s, e.g. fluconazole.

Senior Technical Adviser

Anton A. Toutov, Ph.D., is the Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer of Los Angeles-based start-up, Fuzionaire, which spun out of Caltech in 2016. His work involves developing alternatives to precious metal catalysts for known and novel organic reactions, such as employing sodium and potassium salts to catalyze a variety of cross-coupling chemistries. Dr. Toutov holds a B.S. in chemistry from Queen's University and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Caltech, working in the laboratory of Prof. Robert H. Grubbs, where he held Dow–Resnick, NSERC, and Bristol–Myers Squibb fellowships.

Students


 

Kevin Burns

Graduate Student

Kevin graduated from James Madison University with a bachelor's degree in Chemistry in 2016. After working in a hospital clinical laboratory for two years he decided to resume his education and pursue a PhD. Kevin started working for Dr. Josh Sieber in 2019 researching copper catalysis chemistry at Virginia Commonwealth University.

 

Graduate Student

Jeffrey Noble is a graduate student in VCU’s Chemistry Department. He attended the University of Richmond where he received a B.S. in biochemistry and molecular biology. Jeffrey currently works with the Gupton lab.

Graduate Student

Juliana Souza received her B.S. in chemistry in 2013 from Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCar), Brazil, and has master's degree in organic chemistry, specifically on porphyrin synthesis by the same university (2014-2015). Currently, she is a graduate student at UFSCar and Virginia Commonwealth University and works with photochemical reactions in continuous flow conditions.

 

John Tomlin

Graduate Student

John Tomlin graduated from William and Mary in 2015 with his B.S. in Chemistry. Since then he has worked in industry at M.W. Environmental Services. Currently he is a graduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University and works in Dr. Gupton's lab

Operations


Financial Planning & Analysis Manager

Margaret Edwards serves as the Financial Planning & Analysis Manager for the Medicines for All Institute.

Program Coordinator

Carly Lopatkiewicz serves as the Program Coordinator for the Medicines for All Institute.

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.

Office Manager

Chuky Spivey serves as the Office Manager for the Medicines for All Institute and Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering at Biotech Eight.

Project Manager

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. His research interests include active pharmaceutical ingredient synthesis and flow methodologies. Perrer currently works as a project manager for the Medicines for All Institute.