CENAPT - University of Illinois at Chicago
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CENAPT - People

Dr. Guido F. Pauli

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A pharmacist by training with specialization in pharmaceutical analysis, he holds a doctoral degree (Dr. rer. nat.) in pharmacognosy. Dr. Pauli is a Professor and University Scholar in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is PI and collaborator in NIH-funded interdisciplinary and translational projects involving bioactive natural products, including Technology and Botanical Research Centers. Main research interests involve the metabolomic analysis of natural health products, botanicals, anti-TB drug discovery, and dental biomodifiers. Contributing his key expertise in the development of analytical methodology and innovative approaches, Dr. Pauli seeks to address challenges posed by nature’s metabolomic variation and complexity. His academic track record includes mentoring of 17 Ph.D. students, 14 postdoctoral scientist, 7 visiting professors, and active international collaborations particularly in China and Europe. His publication portfolio comprises 150+ peer-reviewed journal articles and an h-index of 34 (Scopus).

Dr. Jonathan Bisson

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Jonathan obtained an M.S. degree in structural biochemistry and started his phytochemistry journey under the mentorship of Dr. Vincent Dumontet at the Institut de Chimie des Substances Naturelles, Gif-sur-Yvette, France. He then obtained a PhD in Science, Technology and Health from the University of Bordeaux, France under the mentorship of Dr. Pierre Waffo-Téguo, specializing in methodology at the chemistry-biology interface and practicing liquid-liquid chromatography, NMR spectroscopy, and hyphenated techniques. In 2013, he joined the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate, developing new methods and IT-based tools for natural products research in interdisciplinary programs, mainly through NMR and chromatographic approaches. Recently, he has been involved in the re-design of the NAPRALERT database.

Dr. Shao-Nong Chen

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Shao-Nong completed a B.S. degree in Organic Chemistry from Lanzhou University, China, and an assistantship in the Lanzhou Institute of Chemical Physics (CAS), and then pursued his interests in Natural Products Chemistry, obtaining a Ph.D. under the joint mentorship of Drs. Yao-Zu Chen, Lanzhou University, and Han-Dong Sun, Kunming Institute of Botany (KIB, CAS). After a two-year post-Ph.D. training with Dr. Guo-Wei Qin at Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica (SIMM), he joined Dr. Sydney Hecht’s group at the University of Virginia. He moved to UIC in 2000, where he currently is an Assistant Research Professor, working on botanical standardization and integrity in the UIC/NIH Botanical Center, as well as on method development for the analysis of bioactive natural products in interdisciplinary programs.

Dr. Brent J. Friesen

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Brent received his Ph.D. in Natural Products Chemistry from the University of Minnesota, focusing on the biosynthesis of pyridine alkaloids in tobacco. He has spent 10 years in Africa teaching organic chemistry in N’Djamena, Chad, and studying native plants used in Chadian traditional medicines. Currently a Professor of Chemistry at Dominican University, River Forest (IL), he holds an appointment as Adjunct Research Professor at University of Illinois at Chicago. His research encompasses the use of innovative NMR applications in undergraduate laboratories and research as well as the chromatography of bioactive natural products. He has participated in the international countercurrent separation community since 2003 and published articles both independently and in collaboration with the Pauli group at University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. James Graham

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James received his Ph.D. in Pharmacognosy in 2001, under the tutelage of Dr. Norman Farnsworth at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), conducting ethnobotanical fieldwork in remote areas of Amazonian Peru. He received an NIH postdoctoral Fellowship at Florida International University in the area of Tropical Botanical Medicine. James was also a Technical Officer at the World Health Organization as part of the Traditional Medicine team. Currently, he is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy at UIC, serving as editor of the NAPRALERT database since 2011. In addition, he is a Research Associate in Botany at the Field Museum in Chicago, and he continues botanical exploration of remote rainforests of Peru.

Dr. Seon Beom Kim

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Seon Beom Kim obtained his M.D., Ph. D. in Pharmacognosy from Chungbuk National University (CBNU), South Korea (2011-2017). His research focused on the isolation and structural identification of more than 111 compounds, as diverse as phenolic derivatives (chromone, coumarin, flavonoid, lignan), alkaloids (diketopiperazine, pyrrole alkaloid nucleoside, polyamine), terpenes (monoterpene, sesquiterpene, diterpene, triterpene) from various natural sources (Cnidium monnieri fruits, Morus alba fruits, fruit body of Corydyceps militaris and Bee pollens of Quercus mongolica). In addition, Dr. Kim worked on the optimization of medicinal plant extraction (osthol from Cnidium monnieri fruits) through qualitative and quantitative metabolomic and statistical analyses within the Minitab software. In October 2017, Dr. Kim joined the CENAPT team at UIC as a postdoctoral research associate. His research will be associated with the preparation of authenticated botanical fraction library and will particularly focus on a systematic evaluation of the diverse methods reported for the targeted removal (sample clean-up) of promiscuous compounds known to interfere with certain bioassays (e.g., chlorophylls, polymeric tannins).

Dr. David Lankin

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David obtained his PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Cincinnati. Following postdoctoral work in organic photochemistry at the University of New Orleans (with Gary W. Griffin), he joined (1974) Borg-Warner Chemicals (BWC) and conducted synthetic and structural investigations on organophosphorus compounds as polymer additives. He subsequently assisted in setting up and running the NMR facility which was established at the BWC Chicago laboratories. In 1985, he joined Varian Associates as NMR applications chemist in Chicago. In 1988, he moved to G.D. Searle Pharmaceutical Company and ultimately served as supervisor of the NMR facility. He joined UIC in 2004 and since 2005 has been working in the UIC/NIH Center for Dietary Supplement Research. His research interests have focused on the applications of NMR to natural products research, specifically in structure elucidation and purity / composition by qNMR methodologies. He has authored or co-authored about 110 papers and has been co-inventor on 4 patents.

Dr. Neal P. Mankad

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Neal Mankad is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry whose research group studies inorganic chemistry, organometallic chemistry, and homogeneous catalysis. He obtained an S.B. degree at MIT (2004) and a Ph.D. degree at Caltech (2010) before conducting research as an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley (2010-2012). Since 2012, his independent career at UIC has focused on developing new organometallic species for applications in sustainable chemical synthesis, modeling of bioinorganic systems, and now for natural products characterization.



Dr. James McAlpine

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James obtained a PhD from the University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia. Postdoctoral work at Northwestern University Medical School, studying the biosynthesis and mode of action of macrolide antibiotics followed. In 1972, he joined Abbott Laboratories and worked on macrolides, aminoglycosides, and quinolones before heading up their natural product discovery project 1981-1996; discovered Tiacumicin B, the API of Difficid®. He joined Phytera Inc. as VP Chemistry in 1996 discovering drugs from manipulated plant cell cultures, and in 2002 joined Ecopia Bio Sciences as VP Chemistry and Discovery using genomics to discover novel secondary metabolites. He authored or co-authored 120+ papers, is inventor on 50 U.S. patents, and joined UIC as Adjunct Research Professor in 2011.

Dr. Dejan Nikolic

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Dejan Nikolic is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago. He is currently in charge of daily operations of the Analytical Core of the UIC/NIH Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements Research. In his research he uses modern LC-MS and LC-MS-MS approaches to address challenging problems in phytochemical research. His interests include structure elucidation of natural products using mass spectrometry, determination of ADME properties of active plant ingredients as well as development of new assays for drug discovery from plant sources. He is also interested in the development and validation of modern UHPLC MS-MS methods for quantitative analysis of active ingredients both in plant extracts and in clinical specimens in support of Phase I and Phase II clinical trials. He has authored and co-authored more than 80 publications and two book chapters.

Dr. Jimmy Orjala

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Jimmy Orjala is Associate Professor in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is a trained pharmacist and he received his doctoral degree (Dr. Nat. Sci.) in the field of pharmacognosy from the Swiss Federal institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich. He has over 25 years of NP expertise in collaborative research programs, including industrial experience, and is a specialist in isolation and structure determination of bioactive natural products from cyanobacteria and plants. His current research is focused on the discovery and development of natural products as antitumor lead compounds. He is project leader as well as collaborator in several NIH-funded projects. Dr. Orjala is also dedicated to the education of a new generation of PhD-level NP scientists.

Dr. Bernard D. Santarsiero

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Bernard is a Research Professor in the Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, and Director of the Small Molecule and Macromolecular X-Ray Facilities through the Research Resources Center. His research interests focus on the development and use of computational, biochemical, and spectroscopic methods, especially X-Ray diffraction, for the detailed characterization of molecules at the atomic level, and as a tool to probe the fundamental structural, functional, and energetic differences in chemical reactivity in chemical, biological and material/solid-state systems. His group routinely use both monochromatic and polychromatic, time-resolved diffraction methods on single crystals, and have extended their studies to include powders and solutions. Combined with mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance, molecules can be examined in exquisite detail, and coupled with high-throughput chemical compound library screening, in-silico virtual compound library screening, and the characterization of new compound scaffolds from natural product sources provides an incredible basis for discovering new and effective pharmaceutical drugs to improve human health.

Dr. Charlotte Simmler

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Charlotte is a licensed pharmacist (University of Strasbourg, France) since 2006 and obtained a doctoral degree in pharmacognosy in 2010 from the same university. In 2011, she joined the UIC/NIH Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), as Postdoctoral Associate. Her research involves metabolomic analysis of botanical dietary supplements, with a focus on licorice (Glycyrrhiza sp.), development of innovative phytochemical methods including countercurrent separation and qNMR, as well as plant DNA analysis. Dr. Simmler is now a Research Assistant Professor, also serving as a key investigator in the newly founded UIC/NIH Center for Natural Product Technologies, which is devoted to the coordination and dissemination of knowledge and innovation that can address challenges and drive future developments in the field of natural product research.

Dr. Richard B. van Breemen

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Richard B. van Breemen is the Matthias C Lu Collegiate Professor of Pharmacy and Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy at the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy. He is Director of the UIC/NIH Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements Research and leads the Mass Spectrometry, Metabolomics and Proteomics Facility for the University of Illinois Cancer Center. Prof. van Breemen received his B.A. in chemistry from Oberlin College in 1980 and Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics from the Johns Hopkins University in 1985. After post-doctoral research in laser desorption mass spectrometry at Johns Hopkins with Robert Cotter, he taught chemistry at North Carolina State University before joining the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy in 1994. His research concerns the discovery and development of natural products as chemoprevention agents and the investigation of botanical dietary supplements as alternatives to hormone therapy for menopausal women. His translational research has involved phase I and phase II clinical trials of lycopene for the prevention of prostate cancer in men and studies of the safety and efficacy of botanical dietary supplements for the management of menopausal symptoms in women. Prof. van Breemen has published over 300 papers and book chapters concerning natural products, botanical dietary supplements and the use of mass spectrometry for drug discovery and development from natural product sources.