Three medicinal chemistry graduate students selected as inaugural trainees for Chemistry-Biology Interface Predoctoral Training Program

The inaugural group of trainees selected for the University of Florida’s Chemistry-Biology Interface Predoctoral Training Program features three graduate students from the department of medicinal chemistry in the UF College of Pharmacy.

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Pictured left to right: Lobna Elsadek, Jessica Mamallapalli and Michael Goertzen

Lobna Elsadek, Michael Goertzen and Jessica Mamallapalli began the predoctoral training program in August 2020. Tyler Alsup, a graduate student in the department of chemistry, was also selected as an inaugural trainee.

Elsadek, a third-year student, studies in the research lab led by Hendrik Luesch, Ph.D., a professor and chair of medicinal chemistry and the Debbie and Sylvia DeSantis Chair in Natural Products Drug Discovery and Development. Goertzen and Mamallapalli are second-year graduate students. Goertzen is a member of the Rob Huigens, Ph.D., an associate professor of medicinal chemistry, research team, while Mamallapalli trains under the direction of Chengguo “Chris” Xing, Ph.D., a professor of medicinal chemistry and the Frank A. Duckworth Eminent Scholar Chair.

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences, or NIGMS, awarded a five-year, $800,500 grant to establish the “Chemistry-Biology Interface Training Program at the University of Florida” in spring 2020. Chenglong Li, Ph.D., a professor of medicinal chemistry and the Nicholas Bodor Professor in Drug Discovery in the UF College of Pharmacy, and Michael Harris, Ph.D., a professor of chemistry in the UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, serve as principal investigators and program directors. The program draws support from 35 tenure-track faculty from 10 departments in four UF colleges, offering a collaborative training environment that draws upon experience in the basic and biomedical sciences as well as engineering.

Graduates students supported by the T32 award are expected to recognize and address modern research problems that cut across traditional boundaries of chemistry and biology. They use technological advances in both theoretical and experimental approaches and benefit from an inclusive and supportive training community at UF. Each trainee is mentored by a tenure-track faculty member.