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MARVIN L. BAYNE

Molecular Biologist. Fellow since 2016, formerly Vice President of Discovery Technologies at the Schering-Plough Research Institute.

Ph.D. Northwestern University 1978

Research Interests: Molecular biology, biochemistry and genomics, the use of the model organism C. elegans to model human diseases, protein engineering
Bayne Lab Overview
Beginning in the Spring of 2016 we will be setting up a molecular biology laboratory focusing on C. elegans, a free-living nematode that has become an extremely useful model organism to study multiple aspects of cell biology, neurobiology and developmental biology. Studies initiated by Sydney Brenner in the early 1960’s have revealed a wealth of detailed information. The adult male worm has exactly 1031 cells; the adult self-fertilizing hermaphrodite has 959 cells. The cell lineage of each cell has been mapped. The adult worm has 302 neurons. Each of the neural connections between these neurons has been mapped. C. elegans was the first multicellular organism to have its whole genome sequenced. The genome contains an estimated 20,470 protein-coding genes. There are many attributes of C. elegans biology that make it an ideal system for study at Drew. C. elegans are easy to propagate. The worms are maintained in petri dishes on a lawn of E. coli bacteria. Stocks are maintained at room temperature, brood sizes are large—~300 progeny—and the life cycle takes about 2.5 days. C. elegans can also be cultured in liquid media to obtain sufficient material for biochemical studies. Wild type and mutant strains are available from the Genetic Stock Center housed at the University of Minnesota. The worm community is very open: WormBase and WormBook provide very useful up to date protocols and resources. There is a New York Area Worm discussion group where students can meet other local C. elegans researchers. There is a wide range of research tools available for C. elegans studies. Classical forward genetics using EMS mutagenesis is greatly facilitated by the use of self-fertilizing hermaphrodites and the large brood size. Reverse genetics can be carried out using genome wide RNAi libraries. These libraries are cloned into E. coli and the RNAi transferred when the worms eat the bacteria. Transgenic worms can be generated through microinjection into eggs in vivo, or by utilizing the CRISPR/Cas9 system. The use of fluorescent proteins linked to worm promoters allows visualization of gene expression in the transparent worms. Finally, C. elegans represents a valuable model system to examine a large range of biological functions in neurobiology (Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, nicotine addiction), metabolic disease (insulin signalling and resistance, fat accumulation) and cancer signalling pathways. This variety of possible projects will allow students considerable flexibility in selecting projects.

View Dr. Bayne’s presentation, “Modeling Human Diseases in the Nematode Caenorhabditis elegans

JONATHAN B. CROWTHER

Analytical Chemist, RISE Fellow since 2018.  Formerly Executive Director and Senior Research Fellow at Ortho Clinical Diagnostics and Johnson & Johnson

BA Drew University; Ph.D., Rutgers University, 1984

Research Interests:  Analytical research, laboratory GMPs, and characterization of bioanalytical systems.  Currently, applying analytical instrumentation to ensure accurate determination of Bilirubin specie in neonatal samples.

Contact:jcrowther@drew.edu, (973) 408-3567,  Hall of Sciences 331

HOWARD FRAENKEL

Physical Chemist, RISE Fellow since 2020. Formerly Senior Staff Scientist at Honeywell / Allied Chemical.

Degrees from City College of New York, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

Research Interests: Prediction and experimental determination of structure and reactivity of
molecules, including activation energies and rate constants. Current focus is on what molecular
or lattice structure is necessary to generate fluorescence or phosphorescence at a desired
wavelength for anti-counterfeiting or “glow in the dark” egress applications.

Contact: hfraenkel@drew.edu, 973-408-3974, Hall of Sciences 318

VINCE GULLO, DIRECTOR

Director of RISE: Organic Chemist, RISE Fellow since 2007, formerly Vice President of Drug Discovery, Cetek Corporation, previously, Senior Director of New Lead Discovery, Schering Plough Research Institute, and Research Fellow, Natural Product Chemistry, Merck & Co., Inc.

Ph.D., Columbia University, 1975

Research Interests: Drug discovery, natural products, high throughput screening, medicinal chemistry

Contact: vgullo@drew.edu, 973-408-3904, Hall of Sciences 322

SAM KONGSAMUT

Pharmacologist. Neurological and psychiatric disorders, Cancer immunotherapy. Associate RISE Fellow since 2016, formerly Director of External Innovation in age-related illnesses at Sanofi and Executive Director of Pharmacology at Neurotrope BioScience Inc. Co-founder, BryoLogyx.

Ph.D. University of Chicago, 1986

Research Interests: Neuroscience, pharmacology, drug discovery, entrepreneurship.

Contact: skongsamut@drew.edu, 973-408-4870, Hall of Sciences 316

CHARLES LUNN

Biochemist, former RISE fellow 2013 – 2015, Drug discovery scientist at Schering-Plough Research Institute, Merck Research Laboratories and Prolong Pharmaceuticals. PhD from Johns Hopkins University 1984.

  • Peer review for research grants, including NIH MLSCN Assay Special Emphasis Panel 

and Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund 

  • Program Coordinator (2006 – 2016) of Biochemical Pharmacology Steering Committee, New York Academy of Sciences 
  • Peer reviewer for research journals, including AAPS Journal, British Journal of Pharmacology, Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Journal of Biomolecular Screening, Assay and Drug Development Technologies 

Research Interests: Biochemical assay and drug development.  Anti-inflammatory biology of cannabinoids. Novel biologic targeting sickle cell disease and oxidative stress.  Novel cancer therapeutics from natural product sources and utilizing targeted protein degradation.

Lunn Lab Overview:  Drug discovery requires the development of relevant biochemical assay systems that model disease and can rapidly prioritize potential drug candidates.  My lab will establish biochemical assays necessary to evaluate drug candidates produced by chemist colleagues in RISE.  These cell-based systems will be used to validate specific chemical compounds for biological efficacy.  Previous work at RISE sought to characterize the effect of cannabinoid compounds on control of cell migration in inflammatory disease and cancer metastasis.  We will now seek to show that test compounds designed to use the cell’s proteosome to control or eliminate a breast cancer cell’s use of estrogen to potentiate growth.  The lab will also support colleagues seeking to develop novel antibiotic compounds where requested.  We finally hope to identify and characterize antioxidant compounds from natural product sources, specifically from spent yeast after beer fermentations. This work will address compounds and proteins with antiproliferative properties of spent brewer’s yeast peptide extracts.  We will purify specific factors involved in these activities using traditional biochemical techniques.

BRIAN MCKITTRICK

I am an organic chemist who spent 30 years doing drug discovery research at Schering-Plough and Merck. I was part of the team that discovered Ezetimibe, an FDA approved drug for lowering cholesterol. Additionally, together with my group, we worked on projects for the treatment of Hepatitis C, which led to another drug, called Victrelis. We also discovered novel inhibitors of beta-amyloid converting enzyme, which led to a clinical candidate that was used in humans to test the amyloid hypothesis of Alzheimer’s disease. After a very satisfying and rewarding career in industry, I joined the RISE program in 2022 to work with students in the lab, using organic chemistry to build new molecules that can perturb biochemical pathways. Towards this end, we have been working on a new modality for drug discovery known as Targeted Protein Degradation, which uses the cell’s own proteasome to target and degrade unwanted proteins to provide leads to treat cancer. Another project is focused on developing molecules that can block the transport of taurine into the cell to determine whether lowering intracellular taurine levels will lead to better treatments for ovarian cancer.

JOHN PERKINS

Microbiologist, RISE Fellow since 2019. Formerly Senior Project Manager/Principal Scientist, Biotechnology Center  (Delft), DSM Food Specialties.

Ph.D., The Ohio State University, 1981

Research Interests: Microbial genetics; fermentation of antibiotics, vitamins, and food-related products.

Contact: jperkins@drew.edu, 973-408-3168, Hall of Sciences 332

SHEO SINGH

RISE Fellow: November 2023

Director and Head of Natural Products:  Merck Research Laboratories (1989-2013)

Research Professor: Arizona State University (1985-1989)

Postdoctoral Fellow: Arizona State University (1983-1985)

Postdoctoral Fellow: University of Glasgow (1982-1983)

PhD: Avadh University (Ayodhya) and CIMAP (Lucknow), India (1981)

Research Interest: Drug Discovery and Development, Medicinal Chemistry, Organic Synthesis, Natural Products, Biosynthesis, Antibiotics, Anticancer, Antiparasitic, Structure Elucidation of complex molecules, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

Contact: ssingh1@drew.edu, Hall of Science: HS334

Brief biography: Sheo B. Singh was born in a village in UP, India. He earned his BS and MS degrees from Gorakhpur University and PhD in Natural Products Chemistry (mentor: late Dr. RS Thakur) from Avadh University, Ayodhya and Central Institute of Medicinal & Aromatic Plants, Lucknow (1981). After Postdoctoral studies at University of Glasgow (mentor: late Prof Karl Overton) in Biosynthesis and at Arizona State University (mentor: late Prof. G. Robert Pettit) followed by appointment as research professor at ASU, discovering biologically active natural products; he joined the Natural Products Chemistry group at Merck in 1989. He retired from Merck after 24 years of highly successful career including director and head of Natural Products. He has discovered/co-discovered over 400 biologically active natural products including combretastatins, apicidin, nodulisporic acids, platensimycin, platencin, and kibdelomycin. He has synthesized over 23 natural products including dolastatin 10 and 15. Dolastatin 10 analogs have led to more than five FDA approved antibody drug conjugates for treatment of various types of cancer. Dr. Singh has published over 230 papers, 34 reviews and coinventor of 55 patents. Dr. Singh is a Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry, Fellow of American Society of Pharmacognosy, and members of advisory editorial boards of Journal of Natural Products and Journal of Antibiotics. He is recipient of 2023 Norman R. Farnsworth Research Achievement Award from American Society of Pharmacognosy.

Google Scholar Linkhttps://scholar.google.com/citations?user=D5V-zoEAAAAJ&hl=en