ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters Announces Early Career Board Members - ACS Axial
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ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters Announces Early Career Board Members

On behalf of ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters, I ask you – our readers, authors, and editors – to join me in welcoming the nine members of our inaugural Early Career Board. With individual expertise in areas such as antiviral agents, fragment-based drug discovery, anticancer agents, protein-protein interactions, and organic chemistry, this group is well suited to serve as the journal’s sounding board and provide active input on how we can better serve the medicinal chemistry community.

Join us in welcoming our new team members!

Dennis C. Liotta
Editor-in-Chief, ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters

Learn About the ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters Early Career Board Members

Adams Ashley, Early Career Board Chair

When did you first decide to go into medicinal chemistry?

My excitement about chemistry was sparked by a field trip to a pharmaceutical company when I was in high school, so one could say from the very beginning I was interested in medicinal chemistry. During the visit, one of the scientists showed us a crystal structure of a compound bound to its protein target. I was struck then by the beauty behind the science as he described the interactions between the two molecules. As my education continued, I focused on organic chemistry and when I completed my Ph.D., I joined the Discovery Organization at AbbVie.

What is your favorite movie and who would play you in a movie?

My favorite movie is Apollo 13. Reese Witherspoon portraying me in a movie would be great. She is a fantastic actor and producer who is passionate about telling truthful stories.

Terry Moore, Early Career Board Vice Chair

When did you first decide to go into medicinal chemistry?

After my bachelor’s degree, I worked for a few years during the early 2000s at ArQule, a biotech company in Boston. When I decided to go back to graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, my experience as a chemist at a small biotech company helped me realize that my real passion was in using organic chemistry to create potential therapeutics.

Share the best piece of advice you have received?

“Form a team of people you look forward to seeing every day.” — John Katzenellenbogen, my Ph.D. adviser, when I established my independent lab in 2013.

Naomi Rajapaksa

When did you first decide to go into medicinal chemistry?

During my undergraduate studies, I had great opportunities to intern as a medicinal chemist. Through those experiences, I learned how organic chemistry could be applied creatively and collaboratively to solve important problems. Those initial impressions stayed with me through graduate school, where I decided to become a medicinal chemist.

What is your favorite movie and who would play you in a movie?

My favorite movie is About a Boy, which has a great story and soundtrack. It is tough to say who would play me in a movie, but maybe Parminder Nagra.

Annalaura Brai

When did you first decide to go into medicinal chemistry?

I do not know the exact moment, but I clearly remember that when I was a little girl I was very disappointed that my grandmother was getting old. I promised to create a pill able to rejuvenate her.

Share the best piece of advice you have received?

The best advice that I received is that it is necessary to make every possible effort to reach the goal and not go down, because where there is a will, there is a way.

Giuseppe La Regina

When did you first decide to go into medicinal chemistry?

I decided to go into medicinal chemistry during the course of medicinal chemistry at the Faculty of Pharmacy. I was very curious to know how a new drug can be designed and synthesized.

What is your favorite movie and who would play you in a movie?

My favorite movie is Good Will Hunting. I would like to play the part of a young university student in a film in search of his freedom.

William Pomerantz

When did you first decide to go into medicinal chemistry?

As a graduate student, although my research mostly focused on materials-related studies through the design of liquid crystals, I remained interested in designing synthetic molecules to inhibit protein-protein interactions. In my postdoctoral research with Anna Mapp, I was given such an opportunity to target a transcription-factor binding domain, called KIX. The challenges I met in this project led to developing the Protein-observed 19F NMR approach for fragment-based ligand discovery that we now use quite heavily in my lab.

Share the best piece of advice you have received?

Science is hard; do not be a jerk.

Ryan Altman

When did you first decide to go into medicinal chemistry?

During my academic job search…through graduate and postdoctoral training, my background was much stronger in synthetic chemistry, but I have found the realm of medicinal chemistry to be an eye-opening and rewarding experience. The transition has been achievable because so much of medicinal chemistry is founded on physical organic principles.

What is your favorite movie and who would play you in a movie?

So many good ones, but I would have to stick to the oldies and go with the Star War Trilogy (the originals of course!). The epic clash of good vs. evil, the commoner forced to become the hero, internal growth, overcoming the past, plus those wicked 70s/80s special effects …cannot beat it. Whom I would play in a movie? Now that is a trick question. I absolutely cannot stand acting, and actually cried when they tried to put me in an elementary school play

Share the best piece of advice you have received?

Not so much “advice” but rather a code of living. Growing up, I studied tae kwon do for several years, and the tenets of the sport still resonate with me: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit.

What are you most looking forward to by serving on the Early Career Board?

I look forward to interacting with the outstanding scientists that I otherwise would not regularly meet. I am also quite interested in seeing the publishing process from the inside…perhaps as eye-opening as the first time serving on a grant review panel.

Jennifer Golden

When did you first decide to go into medicinal chemistry?

I decided to pursue medicinal chemistry during my undergraduate chemistry education while participating in undergraduate research.

What is your favorite movie and who would play you in a movie?

I love movies, so choosing just one is impossible. Some of my favorite genres are comedies, drama and science fiction, but I avoid horror flicks.

Share the best piece of advice you have received?

The best professional advice I have received and given is to pursue what drives you because there will good and bad days, and we all need enough steam to carry us through both

What are you most looking forward to by serving on the Early Career board?

As part of the Early Career Board, I look forward to inventing unique ways to inspire, inform and attract the talents of budding multidisciplinary scientists to the field of medicinal chemistry.

Zhengqiu Li

When did you first decide to go into Medicinal Chemistry?

When I was an undergraduate.

What’s your favorite movie and who would play you in a movie?

The Romance of the Three Kingdoms is my favorite movie and I am very impressed by Bei Liu in the movie.

Share the best piece of advice you’ve received?

Details determine success or failure.

What are you most looking forward to by serving on the Early Career Board?

More chances for the communication with other young scientists all over the world.

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