Group Members

We are located in the Labs 137 and 143 on the first floor of Chemistry building which is located at 901, 14th street South on UAB campus by the side of UAB Green. The main focus of this lab is Drug Discovery and Development. Lab work force is mainly constituted of Graduate Students working towards their PhD degree, Undergraduate Students carrying out their Senior / Honors Research, Postdoctoral trainees and occasionally Research Assistants. The research projects are mainly directed towards the discovery of anti-cancer and anti-infective agents. There are also a few other drug discovery projects that we are currently working on. Ongoing research projects are listed below:

  • Discovery and Development of Anti-Breast Cancer Agents from Marine Alkaloids

  • Discovery of Inhibitors of Staphylococcus aureus Sortase A

  • Structure Based Design of inhibitors of Trypanosoma Cruzi Dihydrofolate Reductase

  • Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel Blockers for Preventing Cancer Metastasis

  • Synthesis of Novel Mitochondrially Targeted Antioxidant Therapeutics


The students who work on these projects will be trained broadly in the areas of Medicinal Chemistry and Organic Chemistry. More specifically, they will be trained in Organic Synthesis, Compound Purification, Compound Characterization, Spectroscopy (NMR. MS, IR, UV, Fluorescence), Structure Based and Fragment Based Drug discovery, Molecular Modeling, In-Silico Virtual Screening, Lead Identification, Structure Activity Relationship Studies, Lead Optimization, In Vitro Enzymatic Assays and Cell based Assays.


Graduate Students


Edwin Rojas, BS

BA Chemistry from Western Connecticut State University, Danbury, CT

Lab: CHEM-143

Phone: (205) 996 4194


Project: Development of therapeutic agents for dental caries.


Jaden Cowan, BS

BS from University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL

Lab: CHEM-137

Phone: (205) 996 4194


Project: Marine alkaloid analogs for melanoma therapy


Piyasuda Pukkanasut, MS

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL

Lab: CHEM-137

Phone: (205) 996 4194


Project: Targeting voltage-gated sodium channels for cancer treatment.


Parmanand Ahirwar, MS

Indian Institute of Technology, Powai, Mumbai, India

Lab: CHEM-143

Phone: (205) 996 4194


Project: Development of therapeutic agents for dental caries.


Bobby O Garrett, MS

University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Lab: CHEM-143

Phone: (205) 996 4194


Project: Development of antibacterial agents.

Former Graduate Students

Sonia Nijampatnam, PhD

Graduated in 2017

PhD Thesis: “Development of small molecule inhibitors of S. mutans glucosyltransferases for the prevention of dental caries”.

Current Position: Research Project Manager, Ely Lilly, Indianapolis, IN.


Shilpa Dutta, PhD

(Co-directed with Dr. Wayne Brouillette)

Graduated in 2016

PhD Thesis: “Targeting voltage-gated sodium channels for prevention of breast cancer metastasis”

Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow, Southern Research, Birmingham, AL.


Thao Nguyen, PhD

Graduated in 2014

PhD Thesis: “Design and syntheses of DHFR inhibitors as potential drugs against Trypanosoma cruzi and Streptococcus mutans”

Current position: Forensic Scientist, Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences.


Bala Chandra Chenna, PhD

Graduated in 2013

PhD Thesis: “Identification of Staphylococcus aureus sortase A inhibitors as potential antibacterial agents”.

Current position: Assistant Research Scientist, Texas A&M University, College station, TX.


Dwayaja H Nadkarni, PhD

Graduated in 2011

PhD Thesis: “Syntheses of marine natural products and their analogs as potential anticancer agents”.

Current position: Senior Scientist, Huntsman International Private Limited, Mumbai, India.


Geethika Prasannakumar, MS

MS: Graduated, May 2020

Jeffrey McDonald, MS

MS: Graduated, May 2017


Su Xu, MS

MS: Graduated, May 2016


Travis Hicks, MS

MS: Graduated, May 2011


Sam Tanner, MS

MS: Graduated, May 2010

Former Postdocs

Bidhan A. Shinkre, PhD

Current Position: Team Leader, Synthesis Support Group

Syngenta Biosciences Pvt. Ltd., Bangaluru. India.


Srinivasan Murugesan, PhD

Current Position: Research Scientist,

Syngene International, Bangaluru. India.


Syam Gandavaram, PhD

Current Position: Assistant Professor,

Department of Chemistry, Sree Vidyanikethan Engineering College, Tirupati, India

Past Group Pictures

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