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 05/19/23)
Lab Members - Fall 2017
Current Lab Members
Dr. Krishna Yadavalli
Post-doctoral Research Associate
Krishna is from Tadepalligudem, India. He received his PhD in Organic Chemistry at Florida Atlantic University under the supervision of Prof. Salvatore Lepore. His PhD work focused on diastereoselective addition of H-phosphinates to alkyl ketones in a phospha-Michael addition reaction under phase transfer conditions and synthesis of bridged bicyclic compounds for biological evaluation.
In the Flaherty lab, Krishna's primary projects to design and synthesize new inhibitors of S. aureus RnpA protein. He designs and synthesizes analogs for evaluation in anti-staphylococcal assays.
Dr. Prabhakara Tharra
Post-doctoral Research Associate
Prabhakara is from Srikakulam, India. He received his PhD in Organic Chemistry at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India under the supervision of Prof. Beeraiah Baire. His PhD focused on the exploration of uncoventional reactivity of alkynes and propargylic alcohols in the Meyer-Schuster rearrangement. From there he was a post-doc at Masaryk University in the Czech Republic under the supervision of Dr. Jakub Švenda. His post-doc work focused on complex natural product synthesis of pseurotin A2 and (+)-actinobolin and analogs thereof.
In the Flaherty lab, Prabhakara's primary project is synthesis and evaluation of novel inhibitors of the AC1-Calmodulin protein-protein interaction for the treatment of chronic pain. He performs small molecule design and synthesis to support this project.
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 is 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.
Dr. Shrinidhi Annadka
Post-doctoral Research Associate
Shri received his PhD in Organic Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Science under the supervision of Prof. S. Chandasekhar. Shri also has previous post-doctoral appointments at the University of Groningen, Netherlands (Prof. Domling), Pohang University of Science and Technology, South Korea (Prof. Kim), and University of San Diego (Prof. Perrin).
In the Flaherty lab, Shri's primary project will be drug discovery for adenylyl cyclase type 1 inhibitors to treat chronic pain. He will be involved in design and synthesis of new inhibitors for testing in the AC1 project.
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.
Molly has been awarded a fellowship from the Purdue Drug Discovery for Infectious Disease Training program
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 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.
Tiffany is from Dillon, SC. She received her Bachelors of Science in Chemistry and a minor in biology from Winthrop University. Tiffany's undergraduate research was in development and testing of analogs of sphingosine kinase 1 inhibitors for treatment of cancer.
Tiffany joined the Flaherty Lab Fall 2020 where she is working on the development of inhibitors for adenylyl cyclase type 1 mediated cAMP production for the treatment of chronic pain. She is involved in design, synthesis and testing of inhibitors in adenylyl cyclase cellular assays.
Menna is from Cairo, Egypt. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences and a Master's degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the Faculty of Pharmacy Ain-Shams University. Her previous research experience focused on the development of antimicrobial agents.
Menna joined the Flaherty lab in Fall of 2021 where she is beginning a new project aimed at development of novel agents against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. She is involved in design and synthesis of analogs as well as testing those molecules in binding assays and evaluating efficacy using microscopy.
Alexa is from Fleming Island, Florida. She received two Bachelors of Arts in Chemistry and Economics from the University of South Florida.
Alexa joined the Flaherty lab in Fall of 2021 where she is working on development of new covalent inhibitors for the deubiquitinating enzyme, ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase L3. She is involved in the design of analogs, as well as designing and carrying out the synthesis of molecules. She also performs biochemical evaluation and assessing compound activity in cellular models for cancer.
Former 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.
Weiwei is now a scientist at Promega in San Luis Obispo, CA
Graduate Student 2017 - 2022
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.
Jason is now a pharmacist for CVS in Lafayette, IN
Dr. Chad Hewitt
Graduate Student 2016 - 2021
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 is now a Scientist at Nurix Therapeutics in San Francisco, CA.
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.
Xufeng is now a Scientist III in Medicinal Chemistry at Olema Pharmaceuticals in San Francisco, CA.
Dr. 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 is now a Scientist II at Civetta Therapeutics in Cambridge, MA.
Dr. Jatinder Kaur
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 is now a Radiochemist at St. Joseph's Health Care, London, ON, Canada
Graduate Student 2015 - 2018
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 received her Master's degree in Protein Crystallography and is now a Rsearch Scientist II at SSCI in West Lafayette
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
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 and will pursue his Ph.D. beginning Fall 2021 at UC-Irvine.