People

Faculty

David Spiegel's picture David Spiegel Professor of Chemistry

Professor David A. Spiegel, Ph.D., M.D., was born in New York City, and grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey. From a very young age, he was fascinated by the chemistry and biology of small molecules, and at 16 began doing research in a neuroanesthesiology laboratory at the University of Iowa. He went on to attend Harvard University where he conducted research under the guidance of Professor Yoshito Kishi. After graduating from Harvard, David began in Yale University’s M.D./Ph.D. program. There he conducted graduate research in Professor John Wood’s laboratory focusing on developing synthetic approaches toward the phomoidrides. During the course of these studies, he discovered that trialkylborane-water complexes could function as H-atom donors in free radical reactions. Following graduation from Yale, Professor Spiegel moved back to Harvard for postdoctoral studies under the guidance of Professor Stuart L. Schreiber. There he focused on developing an oligomer-based method for small-molecule synthesis to enable the rapid assembly of skeletally diverse small molecules starting from simple monomers.

David began as an Assistant Professor at Yale in June of 2007, was promoted to Associate Professor in 2011, and then to Full Professor (with tenure) in 2014. During his time as a faculty member at Yale, David has led the Spiegel Group’s research efforts in a number of successful directions, ranging from the development of antibody-recruiting molecules to fundamental studies of advanced glycation end-products.  He has also served as a consultant for International Flavors and Fragrances, Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Pharmaseq.  He has been recognized with various awards and honors, including the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, the Department of Defense Era of Hope Scholar Award, the Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar Award in Aging Research, the Novartis Early Career Award in Organic Chemistry, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Explorations Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, and others.  He has been fortunate to be named recipient of the NIH New Innovator Award, the Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar Award, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award, and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship.
 

David is married to Kathryn Picanso, a lawyer in New Haven. They have a son, Leo Francis Spiegel, who was born in 2011.

Research Scientists

Sumantha Bhatt's picture Sumantha Bhatt Director of Research Communications

Sumantha serves as the Director of Research Communications in the Spiegel Lab, promoting research initiatives and technology innovation. Originally from Cleveland, Sumantha was trained in the field of transplantation immunology at Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute and earned her Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine from Case Western Reserve University. Prior to joining the Spiegel Lab, Sumantha worked at an accelerator in Pittsburgh, helping early-stage innovators assess their ideas and commercialize their technologies. Outside of the office, Sumantha enjoys coming up with mad scientist creations in the kitchen and binge watching British dramas on Netflix. Contact Sumantha

Viswanathan Muthusamy's picture Viswanathan Muthusamy Research Scientist

Vish grew up in India and had an early interest in the life sciences. He received his Ph.D. in Cancer Biology and contiued his as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Vermont, eventually becoming a Research Assistant Professor in Pathology. In 2008 he joined Yale School of Medicine as a junior faculty in the Department of Dermatology. He has discovered a number of novel genes and pathways, which are now targeted for melanoma therapy in the clinic. His current interests lie in modeling cancers in mice and targeting tumor specific molecular pathways to reverse disease. Vish is an ardent badminton player (not the backyard kind) and loves to spend time with his two kids. Contact Vish

Graduate Students

Jesse Collins's picture Jesse Collins Graduate Student, Immunology

Jesse grew up in Northern California, and pursued a B.A. in Molecular Biology at U.C. Berkeley. During his time there, Jesse worked in a lab studying dengue virus and took classes focused on immunology and bioengineering. He continued to pursue his interest in immunology by beginning a PhD in Immunobiology at Yale in 2014. Jesse has been very interested in interdisciplinary approaches to problems, and was excited to join the Spiegel lab to work at the interface of synthetic chemistry and molecular biology. He is now working on engineering immune-modulating proteins controlled by bifunctional small molecules. Outside of the lab, Jesse enjoys hiking, ultimate frisbee, and especially boardgames.

 
Matthew Streeter's picture Matthew Streeter Graduate Student, Chemistry

Matt hails from Huntingtown, MD, and attended Washington College where he majored in Chemistry and Behavioral Neuroscience. During this time he gained research experience in both fields developing new methods in organic chemistry and assessing behavioral changes in mice with traumatic brain injury. In the Spiegel Lab, he is currently working towards the synthesis of advanced glycation endproducts, and hopes to establish chemical probes to facilitate their study in biological systems. Outside of lab, Matt enjoys staying active by playing soccer, snowboarding, and hiking. Contact Matt

Robert Hale's picture Robert Hale Graduate Student, Chemistry

Robert was born in New York City and grew up in Astoria, NY, and Little Silver, NJ. As an undergraduate engineering major at the Stevens Institute of Technology, he found that he was doing more problem solving under the direction of mass spectrometry specialist Dr. Athula Attygalle than in any engineering class. As a result, he changed his major to chemistry upon beginning his sophomore year. He performed mass spectrometric studies of oxalate and carbonate salts for his undergraduate research before earning a B. S. in chemistry in May 2015. He is enjoying gaining experience in the more tactile, sensory world of organic synthesis as he works to extend the methodology developed for glucosepane to access other natural products. When outside of the lab, Robert enjoys cooking, active things, the occasional trip to the shooting range and discussing all manner of history and politics, especially that to do with the railroads, cities and infrastructure.  Contact Robert

David Caianiello's picture David Caianiello

Dave is a native of Rhode Island. He became interested in the biological applications of chemistry as an undergraduate at Brown University, where he used an under-appreciated method for measuring light absorption to determine how dyes stack in water. In the Spiegel Lab he is working on the development of new bifunctional molecules. Outside of the lab, Dave enjoys wandering around New Haven listening to too many podcasts.  

Contact David

Emily Janeira's picture Emily Janeira

Emily was born and raised in Georgia and has steadily been moving up the coast for school since she left home. In North Carolina, she earned a chemistry BS, a biology minor, and a creative writing minor from UNC Chapel Hill. Now, she is living in Branford, Connecticut with her fiancé, Chris, and their pets while she pursues her chemistry PhD at Yale. As an undergraduate, she discovered her love for chemistry research during her first summer research program, a chemistry REU at Georgia Tech where she worked on achieving targeted cancer therapy through the synthetic combination of HDAC inhibitors and NSAIDs. From then forward, she did synthetic research during her semesters at UNC Chapel Hill. First, she worked at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, where she helped synthesize bioactive natural products as clinical trial candidates for the treatment of cancer or AIDS. Later, she moved to Dr. Michael Crimmins’ lab, where she worked toward the novel total synthesis of the natural product Brianthein W. Her research interests led her to participate in a chemical biology REU program at Vanderbilt University, during which she worked on a novel synthetic route toward a UV-cleavable bicyclononyne-biotin tag. Finally, during the summer before her senior year of undergrad, she flew to Jena, Germany to synthesize candidate compounds for a Notch inhibitor-focused SAR project. Now, Emily is interested in the combination of organic chemistry and chemical biology and is motivated to find chemical solutions to biological and medical problems. In the Spiegel lab, she is working on the synthesis and analysis of bifunctional molecules with possible therapeutic applications. In her free time, Emily enjoys playing with her pup, a ridiculously smart Australian shepherd named Joey, training her cats, writing, cooking (and eating) delicious food with her fiancé, and playing violin in the Hamden Symphony Orchestra. 

 
Jake Swartzel's picture Jake Swartzel

Jake grew up outside Boston, and moved to pursue a B.S. in Biochemistry at The University of Texas at Austin. While an undergraduate, his advanced coursework focused on organic chemistry and synthetic biology. He conducted research in the laboratory of Dr. Walter Fast toward the development of novel covalent enzyme inhibitors. He began his PhD in Chemical Biology at Yale in 2017, and he is excited to work at the crossroads of chemistry, biology, and medicine in the Spiegel lab, where he works on designing novel bifunctional molecules. Outside the lab, Jake enjoys weightlifting, yoga, video games, and spending time with good friends.  

 

Postdocs and Fellows

Venkata Sabbasani's picture Venkata Sabbasani Postdoctoral Associate

Bio pending

Contact Venkata

David McDonald's picture David McDonald

Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, David studied chemistry, immunology and biochemistry at the University of Sydney. He went on to study the deleterious activation of naïve CD8+ T lymphocytes in the liver at the Centenary Institute under the tutelage of Dr Patrick Bertolino. David returned to the University of Sydney for his PhD studies, under the supervision of Professor Richard Payne and Associate Professor Scott Byrne. There, he combined his interests in chemistry and immunology for the development and evaluation of self‑adjuvanting vaccines for cancer and tuberculosis. In the Spiegel lab, David is working towards novel methods to rapidly identify small molecules that target specific proteins and cells. Away from the bench, David enjoys board games, craft beer, and hiking.

Undergraduate Students

Noah Yaffe's picture Noah Yaffe Yale Undergraduate, Class of 2018

Noah grew up outside of Las Vegas, Nevada and is currently majoring in Chemistry. He is excited to be working in the Spiegel Lab and he plans on attending medical school or pursuing an MD/PhD after graduation. In his free time, Noah enjoys reading, playing cards, and dancing, despite his roommates’ complaints. 

Contact Noah

Angela Gong's picture Angela Gong Yale undergraduate, class of 2021
Angela is from Lexington, Massachusetts and is a prospective Chemistry major. She became interested in chemical biology after unexpectedly purchasing a book about drug development, and is excited to work in the Spiegel Lab. She is thinking about attending medical school or pursuing a MD/PhD after college. When not in class or lab, Angela enjoys music, baking, and sleeping. 
 
Seungjung Sohn's picture Seungjung Sohn Yale undergraduate, class of 2019
Seungjung is from South Korea, but has lived in Amman, Jordan, since middle school. She is a chemistry major at Yale, and is thinking about going into med school or Ph.D. in chemistry after a couple gap years. Outside of chemistry, she enjoys taking art history classes, and loves traveling.