Our lab offers opportunities to undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.  Undergraduates are able to apply what they have learned in organic chemistry and biochemistry toward active medicinal chemistry projects. Graduate students receive interdisciplinary training including small molecule analog design and synthesis, cell culture, and structural biology. The overall goal is for students to have a well-rounded experience and understanding of small molecule structure-based design and be carry out multiple facets of the process as they move on in their research careers.

Daniel Flaherty, PhD

Dr. Flaherty received a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Central College in Pella, IA. He then moved on to earn his PhD in pharmaceutical sciences under the direction of Dr. Jonathan Vennerstrom at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Following his graduate studies he moved to the University of Kansas and joined an NIH sponsored medicinal chemistry lab under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Aubé as a post-doctoral researcher and later as a research track faculty. He is now an assistant professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Purdue University with interests in developing small molecule inhibitors using structure-based design for under-explored biomolecular targets. His research focuses on validating novel therapeutic targets for treatment in infectious disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative disease.

Curriculum vitae (updated 12/10/20)

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Lab Members - Fall 2017

Group Photos


Current Lab Members

Dr. Weiwei An

Post-doctoral Research Associate

Weiwei is from Zhengzhou in Henan Province, China. She received her PhD in chemistry at Southern Methodist University, under the supervision of Prof. Alex Lippert. Her thesis project focused on the design, synthesis and application of chemiluminescent probes to detect and quantify nitroxyl and other gasotransmitters in cells.

In the Flaherty lab Weiwei's primary project will be the optimization of inhibitors against vancomycin-resistant enterococcus. She performs design and synthesis of analogs for these projects.

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Weiwei's papers:

Inhibitors of vancomycin-resistant enterococcus in J Med Chem

Dr. Anil Marapaka

Post-doctoral Research Associate

Anil is from Jalalpuram, India. He received his PhD in X-ray crystallography and biochemistry at CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology under the supervision of Prof. Anthony Addlagatta. His PhD work focused on understanding the structural differences among M1 class amino peptidases and development of novel inhibitors.

In the Flaherty lab Anil's primary project X-ray crystallography and structure-based design inhibitors for S.aureus RnpA. He performs recombinant protein expression and purification, biochemical assays and X-ray crystallography for ligand bound structures. He will also assist in design of analogs.

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Chad Hewitt

Graduate Student

Chad is from Mound, MN and is a graduate student in the MCMP graduate program. He received a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.  While there Chad worked as an undergraduate research in the labs of Dr. Lisa Prevette and Dr. Thomas Marsh. He joined the MCMP graduate program in fall of 2016.

Chad joined the Flaherty lab in Fall of 2016 where he is working to develop novel inhibitory strategies for UCHL1 using structure-based design. His work focuses on development of ubiquitin variants selective toward UCHL1 that will ultimately be used to probe the enzyme.  Chad performs many assays in lab including western blots, pull-downs, mutagenesis and cell culture in addition to solid-phase peptide synthesis.

Chad's Papers:

Development of ubiquitin variants with selectivity for Ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase deubiquitinases

Characterization of cyanopyrrolidine UCHL1 inhibitor

Jason Scott

Graduate Student

Jason is from Rolla, MO. He received his Doctor of Pharmacy from St. Louis College of Pharmacy. As part of pharmacy training, Jason worked in cleanrooms compounding and preparing drugs including antibiotics and radiopharmaceuticals.

Jason joined the the Flaherty Lab in Fall of 2017 where he works in a collaboration with Dr. Watt's lab to develop novel adenylyl cyclase 1 inhibitors. He research is focused on design, synthesis and testing of small molecules in pursuit of best-in-class inhibitors to probe this family of enzymes. 

Molly Youse

Graduate Student

Molly is from New Cumberland, PA. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Chemistry from Vassar College. During her undergraduate work she performed research in the lab of Joseph Tanski investigating sulfur heterocycle and thioaldehyde reactivity.

Molly joined the Flaherty Lab in Fall 2019 where she is working on drug discovery for anti-Neisseria gonorrhoeae agents. Her research is focused on repurposing an FDA-approved drug scaffold with potent anti-N. gonorrhoeae activity and exploring the structure-activity relationship of this class of molecules.

Ryan Imhoff

Graduate Student

Ryan is from Napa, CA. He received is Bachelors of Arts in Chemistry and a minor in Biology from Carroll College. He then moved San Antonio and pursue post-bass research in the lab of Dr. Sushma Ramsinghani at Feik School of Pharmacy. Here he worked on the development and synthesis of novel PARG inhibitors. 

Ryan joined the Flaherty Lab in Fall of 2019 where he is working on covalent probe development to better understand the role UCHL1 plays in cancer and other diseases. He performs screening, synthesis and biochemical evaluation of his covalent inhibitors.

Ryan has also been awarded a two-year fellowship from the Purdue Drug Discovery Training Program.

Katrina Holly

Graduate Student

Katrina is from Tecumseh, MI. She received her Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Bob Jones University. Katrina's undergraduate research was in conduction with Cayman Chemical focused on using click chemistry and triphosgene-mediated coupling to develop inhibitors for  diacylglycerol lipase beta. 

Upon receiving her B.S. degree Katrina joined Cayman Chemical in the Forensics Division where she was involved in synthesizing analytical reference standards of phytocannabinoids. She contributed to the Cayman team by writing an article for Caymen Currents on her work that can be seen here.

Katrina joined the Flaherty Lab Fall 2020 where she is working on the development of novel carbonic anhydrase inhibitors to target the vancomycin-resistant enterococcus. She is involved in design, synthesis and testing of inhibitors against the bacterial carbonic anhydrase.


Former Lab Members

Dr. Xufeng Cao

Post-doctoral Research Associate: 2018 - 2020 

Xufeng is from Shanghai, China. He received his PhD in medicinal chemistry at Shanghai Institute of Materials Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences under the supervision of Prof. Yushe Yang. His thesis project focused on the design, synthesis and drug-like optimization of novel antifungal triazoles. He has held one previous post-doc position in the lab of Dr. Jennifer Golden at University of Wisconsin-Madison where he worked on optimization of inhibitors against Venezuelan and eastern encephalitis virus.

In the Flaherty lab Xufeng primary projects are the optimization of inhibitors against vancomycin-resistant enterococcus and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. He performs design and synthesis of analogs for these projects.

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Xufeng's Papers:

Inhibitors of Acinetobacter baumannii adaptive efflux

Inhibitors of vancomycin-resistant enterococcus in J Med Chem

Xufeng is now a Research Scientist at Moffit Cancer Center in Tampa, FL

Aaron Krabill

Graduate Student: 2015 - 2020

Aaron is a native of Goshen, IN. He received his B.A. from DePauw University majoring in Biochemistry. While at DePauw Aaron studied the toxicity of novel epoxyketone compounds. He joined the MCMP graduate program in fall of 2015.

Aaron joined the Flaherty Lab in Fall 2015 where is pursuing novel covalent small molecule inhibitors of UCHL1. His work includes analog design, synthesis, biochemical testing, crystallography, western blot and computational design. Aaron also assists in docking and computational design for other projects in the lab.

Aaron's Papers:

Characterization of cyanopyrrolidine UCHL1 inhibitor

Inhibitors of vancomycin-resistant enterococcus in J Med Chem

Development of ubiquitin variants with selectivity for Ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase deubiquitinases

Aaron is now a post-doctoral research associate in the lab of Dr. Zhong-Yin Zhang at Purdue University.

Jatinder Kaur, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate: 2016 - 2018

Jatinder is from Batala in the Punjab state in northern India. She received her B.Sc. and M.Sc. with honors in Chemistry and her PhD in organic synthesis and medicinal chemistry from G.N.D. University in Amritsar, India. She held two previous postdoctoral positions in organic and medicinal chemistry at the University of Alberta under the direction of Drs. Edward Knaus and Frank Wuest. 


In the Flaherty lab, Jatinder provides analog design/synthesis for RNase E and is working to develop a novel assay to assess small molecules for RNase E activity. She also provides synthesis support for several other projects in the lab. Jatinder serves as a mentor for undergraduate and graduate students to train them in organic synthesis.

Jatinder's papers:

AC1 inhibitors paper in European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry

Inhibitors of vancomycin-resistant enterococcus in J Med Chem


Jatinder is now a Radiochemist at Lawson Health Research Institute, London, ON, Canada

Lisha Ha

Graduate Student

Lisha is from Dalian in the Liaoning Province in China. She received a B.S. in Pharmaceutical Engineering from Dalian University of Technology and later a M.S. in Medicinal Chemistry from the same University where she studied SAR of flavone derivatives against CDK1. She joined the MCMP graduate program in fall of 2015.


In the Flaherty Lab Lisha's project focuses on validating RNA metabolism pathways as therapeutic targets for antibiotic development. She performs screening, analog design and synthesis, crystallography, and biochemical assays on the S. aureus RnpA project.

Lisha's Papers:

Staphylococcus aureus RnpA crystal structure

Novel RnpA small molecule inhibitors

Lisha received her Master's degree in Protein Crystallography and is now a Rsearch Scientist II at SSCI in West Lafayette

Amanda Graboski

Undergraduate Student

Amanda is from Boca Raton, FL. She is currently a Junior and pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Science. 

She designs and synthesizes new analogs for the drug repurposing versus VRE project and she was awarded the Purdue Office of Undergraduate Research Scholarship.

Amanda recently graduated from Purdue with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Science in 2019. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill in the laboratory of Dr. Matthew Redinbo

Amanda's papers:

Inhibitors of vancomycin-resistant enterococcus in J Med Chem

Collin Sroge

Undergraduate Student

Collin is from Munster, IN. He is currently a Junior and pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences. 

Collin assisted on the UCHL1 inhibitor project

Collin recently graduated from Purdue with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2019. He currently works as a Research Associate at UCB Biosciences.


Copyright Flaherty Laboratory, 2019

Purdue University

Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

575 Stadium Mall Dr. 

West Lafayette, IN 47907