David Lopez

Research Scientist I

Albany Molecular Research


B.S., Chemistry and Biology

Lopez received the ACS Scholars Award Scholarship as an undergraduate, and has been able to attend National ACS meetings, which he says are a great opportunity to listen, learn, and “meet a number of great people.”

David Lopez doesn’t love his job just because of his coworkers—but they certainly help! “I work with some very talented chemists who are willing to help the younger chemists,” Lopez says. “Many of the people I work with have vast experience working in the industry. In addition, they have some really entertaining stories to tell!”

Thanks to a recruiting email from Albany Molecular Research, Lopez took an industry job immediately after earning his Bachelor’s Degree in 2012. “The aspect I enjoy the most about working as a drug discovery chemist is developing new and creative ways to overcome challenges,” he says. “I find it to be very rewarding to be able to help advance the team’s progress and advance the project.”

Today at Albany, he’s responsible for the synthesis, purification, and characterization of novel drug targets.

The aspect I enjoy the most about working as a drug discovery chemist is developing new and creative ways to overcome challenges."

Typical day on the job:

My day begins at 7 AM by checking and responding to emails, countersigning notebooks, and preparing new notebook experiments (5%). By 7:30 I am setting-up reactions, monitoring experiment progress, working-up reactions, purifying compounds, and analyzing data (60-70%). Depending on the chemistry, a significant amount of time can be spent researching published literature and discussing chemistry with senior chemists in order to develop new synthetic approaches (+10%). I spend most of the afternoon continuing to work on chemistry. Other daily responsibilities include preparing progress presentations, meeting with supervisors, and attending meetings (15%). [4-5:30 PM]

Work environment:

I work in a three-chemist lab with adjoining desk section shared with another chemist (the senior chemist has an office adjoining the lab). In my lab I have the standard equipment needed to conduct synthetic chemistry or have access to the necessary equipment/instruments.  

Work schedule:

I am a salary employee and work 45 hours/week. The environment is fast paced.

Tools you can’t live without:

NMR/LCMS data access, combiflash chromatography, and email.

Best productivity trick:

Planning and organization.

Best career advice you’ve received:

Find what it is that you truly enjoy doing and find a way to get paid to do it.

Skills or talents that make you a good fit for your job:

I believe my work ethic, inquisitive nature, and determination to overcome challenges help make me a good fit for my job.

Essential habit you wish you’d started earlier:

I wish I would have developed the habit of reading scientific papers on a regular basis.  In addition, I wish I would have started the habit of using SciFinder or other literature database search engines to explore and read about useful chemistry.

Favorite ACS resource:

My favorite ACS resource is the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) database.