Chhanda Charan Danta's picture

Chhanda was born and grew up in the state of Odisha, India. He worked on design and synthesis of potential quinazoline derivatives as anticancer and anticonvulsant agents with Dr Senthil Raja A. at Banaras Hindu University, India. He did his PhD from Panjab University, India with Prof. Poonam Piplani and worked on design, synthesis and evaluation of potential piperazine derivatives as cognition enhancers. He designed compounds through molecular docking and Pharmacophore based and screened them via in vitro acetylcholinesterase inhibition and enzyme kinetics, and in vivo passive avoidance using mice, and ex vivo models. He then backed to Banaras Hindu University to join Prof. Sushant Kumar Shrivastava research group and synthesized some heterocyclic compounds for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. He awarded Royal Society-SERB Newton International Fellowship from The Royal Society, London, and moved to join Dr Klaus Pors at University of Bradford, UK and worked on synthesis of hypoxia activated fluorescent probes, aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) inhibitors and DNA-intercalating alkylating agents for the detection and treatment of cancer. He joined with Dr Sam Xu at University of Hull and worked on synthesis of potential H2S releasing compounds and investigated for the treatment of diabetic kidney disease (DKD) through oxidative stress and cellular calcium signaling. He has also industrial experience working on robust organic synthesis and prediction of retrosynthetic routes for natural products. He is very passionate on new drug discovery and always worried for the discovery of new potential safe therapeutics for the wellbeing of human beings. Away from chemistry and pharmacology, he loves playing football and cricket, walking and cycling, reading and thinking, and enjoying nature.    

David McDonald's picture

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.

Aristidis Sachpatzidis's picture

Ari was born in Thessaloniki and grew up in Aridaia in northern Greece. He got a Pharmacy degree from AUT and came to Yale to obtain a PhD in Pharmacology. Under the mentorship of Professor Elias Lolis, he obtained basic knowledge of X-ray crystallographic techniques and high-throughput library screening using yeast genetics. Working for João Cabral on Science Hill at MB&B, he gained experience with membrane protein purification-crystallization, and crystallized a novel sodium-proton antiporter. Under the direction of Professor Yong Xiong, he worked on structural and biochemical characterization of protein-DNA complexes involved in the regulation of DNA repair and Fanconi Anemia. In the Eswarakumar lab in Orthopaedics, he developed baculovirus expression protocols for a number of FGFR receptor variants implicated in craniosynostosis. In the lab of Professor Yossi Schlessinger in Pharmacology, he performed crystallographic studies on protein kinase-inhibitor complexes. He studied novel mechanisms of gene expression regulation by long non-coding RNAs in the labs of Professors William Konigsberg and Alan Garen at MB&B. He gained experience in cryo-EM structural studies of kinesin-microtubule complexes under the direction of Dr. Chuck Sindelar in Prof. Enrique De La Cruz’s lab, also at MB&B. Ari joined recently the Spiegel lab as an Associate Research Scientist. He plans to use his expertise on protein, computational and structure-based approaches to expand the ongoing lab’s efforts in the development of innovative chemical platforms for neutralization of current and future threats to public health. Outside the lab, Ari enjoys reading and staying in touch with his friends and family.

Mihir Khambete's picture

Mihir was born in Mumbai and grew up in the city of Pune, India. He completed his master’s and PhD from Institute of Chemical Technology (Erstwhile UDCT), Mumbai in the area of Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry. His research focussed on design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of small molecules in various therapeutic areas such as tuberculosis and Alzheimer’s disease. After working as faculty member at pharmacy school in Mumbai for three years, he joined Spiegel lab in December 2021. Here, his work is focused on development of bifunctional molecules which are therapeutically relevant. Outside the lab, he enjoys reading (especially non-fiction), listening to Indian classical and light music, meeting new people, and travelling. 

Shikha Kumari's picture

Shikha was born in Delhi, India, and raised there. As a B.S. graduate, she graduated from the University of Delhi, India, and earned an M.S. degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from Banasthali University. She received a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from ACBR, University of Delhi, India, where she designed, synthesized, and developed novel heterocyclic compounds against neurological disorders and cancer. Throughout her career, she has gained expertise in a variety of fields related to drug discovery, pharmacology, and drug development. Following her doctoral studies, she pursued postdoctoral research at the University of Delhi and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. In 2021, she became a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Toledo. Shikha joined the Spiegel lab as an Associate Research Scientist in December 2022. Here, her research will focus on developing synthetic methods for obtaining large quantities of bifunctional molecules. In developing and implementing novel therapeutic modalities for a variety of human diseases, these molecules are expected to have a significant impact. In her free time, Shikha enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading spiritual texts, gardening, cooking, and traveling.

Muthukumaran Venkatachalapathy's picture

Born and raised in Pondicherry, India, Muthu studied Biotechnology at PSG College of Technology and the Indian Institute of Technology. His fascination for travelling motivated him to win a DAAD Siemens scholarship and helped him secure a PhD position at Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology, Germany. During his PhD, he mastered DNA recombinant technology, protein engineering and advanced microscopy to develop live cell technologies such as protein interaction arrays and molecular activity painting. He mentored six bachelor’s and one master’s students during his PhD. After that, he won a Fulbright scholarship and developed super-resolution imaging techniques at the Indian Institute of Science and the University of Chicago. Muthu worked for Novartis in the medical communications and innovation department for two years. His excitement towards Biotech entrepreneurship and Protein degradation field made him come to Yale and work with Prof Craig Crews for 18 months. At our lab, Muthu will be co-developing an innovative high throughput screening assay to measure lysosome mediated protein degradation with MoDEs. Additionally, Muthu is a Blavatnik associate at Yale Ventures and organizes YBC’s Job treks for Yale students. Apart from microscopy, Muthu enjoys traveling, reading books, learning musical instruments, and playing badminton