2019 Heroes of Chemistry Recipients

The American Chemical Society honors these Heroes of Chemistry from DuPont, Paratek Pharmaceuticals, Pharmacyclics, LLC, An Abbvie Company, and PPG Industries for their outstanding contributions to science and their service to society.

  • DuPont

    The American Chemical Society honors scientists from DuPont for the development of Cyrel® EASY, an advanced flexographic printing plate technology platform. Cyrel® EASY is part of an ongoing effort to drive advancement in the flexographic printing industry by improving print quality, consistency, sustainability, and productivity.

    Bob Blomquist

    Robert Blomquist

    Bob Blomquist is a Technical Fellow for DuPont and has formulated new flexographic printing plates and coatings.  Previously, he worked on optical waveguides, holograms, adhesives, and printing inks. Bob received his M.S. degree in Chemistry at Rutgers University, NJ, and his B.S. degree at City College of New York, NY. He holds 15 patents.

    Mark Hackler

    Mark Hackler

    Mark Hackler is a Principal Investigator at DuPont Advanced Printing with 30 years of experience in process and product development. As a holder of 14 patents, he obtained his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Houston, TX, and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from North Carolina State University, NC.

    Adrian Lungu

    Adrian Lungu

    Adrian Lungu is a Principal Investigator in DuPont Advanced Printing focused on kinetic mechanisms of photopolymerization in rubber-like matrices in flexographic printing plates. Adrian has a B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Technical University of Jassy, Romania, and a Ph.D. in Photochemical Sciences from Bowling Green State University, OH. Adrian holds 15 patents.

    Violeta Lungu

    Violeta Lungu

    Violeta Lungu is a Research Investigator for DuPont, where she has worked on new chemistries for the development of flexographic printing plates. She obtained a B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Technical University of Jassy, Romania, and an M.S. in Organic/Photochemistry from Bowling Green State University, OH. She holds five patents.

    Rajgopal Subramanian

    Rajgopal Subramanian

    Raj Subramanian is a Principal Investigator at DuPont. He has developed several polymer-based composite products. Raj has an M.S. from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India, a Ph.D. from the University of Louisville, KY, and an M.B.A. from Kent State University, OH. He holds 8 patents and has 25 publications.

  • Paratek Pharmaceuticals

    The American Chemical Society acknowledges the many who contributed to the chemistry and the medical and clinical development that brought omadacycline, trade name NUZYRA®, and sarecycline, trade name SEYSARA®, to market.

    NUZYRA® is a once-daily broad-spectrum oral and intravenous antibiotic for the treatment of adults with community-acquired bacterial pneumonia (CABP) and acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections (ABSSSI). SEYSARA® is a once-daily narrow-spectrum oral antibiotic for the treatment of moderate to severe acne vulgaris.

    Paul Abato

    Paul Abato

    Dr. Paul Abato, a Medicinal Chemistry Consultant/Expert Witness, helped develop NUZYRA®, a new tetracycline antibiotic, while at Paratek Pharmaceuticals. Paul obtained his B.A. in Chemistry and Biology from Rhode Island College, RI, and his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Brown University, RI.

    Haregewein Assefa

    Haregewein Assefa

    Haregewein Assefa obtained her Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS. She joined Paratek Pharmaceuticals in October 2002 as a Research Scientist and worked on various projects until June 2009. At Paratek, she independently designed and synthesized a number of bioactive compounds, including Seysara®.

    Joel Berniac

    Joel Berniac

    Dr. Berniac has nearly 20 years of experience in medicinal chemistry, drug discovery, and business development in the pharmaceutical industry.  Joel was involved in the discovery of pre-clinical drug candidates at Paratek, including work on NUZYRA®.  Joel has a M.B.A. from Northeastern University, Boston, MA, a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN, and an Engineering Degree in Organic Chemistry from ESCIL, Lyon, France. 

    Beena Bhatia

    Beena Bhatia

    After completing a Ph.D. from IIT, Kanpur, India, and post-doctoral research at Princeton University, NJ, Beena joined Paratek Pharmaceuticals where she introduced the chemistry which led to the discovery of omadacycline. She is a PMP-certified manager, Technology Transfer at Siemens Healthineers, overseeing the design transfer and commercialization of IVD assays.

    Todd Bowser

    Todd Bowser

    Todd Bowser is a Senior Director of R&D Project Leadership at Cyteir Therapeutics. After obtaining his Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from Baylor University, TX, he joined the medicinal chemistry team at Paratek Pharmaceuticals from 1999-2014. At Paratek, he was responsible for the discovery and development of the novel aminomethylcycline class of tetracyclines.

    Jason Burdette

    Jason Burdette

    Jason Burdette, Senior Vice President of Technical Operations at Paratek, has over 25 years in the pharmaceutical industry concentrating in formulation and process development, manufacturing, supply chain management, and technical operations.  Jason has extensive experience in the new product introduction of multiple products in both the US and international markets.

    Roger Frechette

    Roger Frechette

    Roger Frechette is Founder and Principal of New England PharmAssociates. He has 30 years of experience in the biopharma industry, as a scientist, executive, and entrepreneur. His academic background is in organic chemistry, with a B.A. from Holy Cross, MA, a Ph.D. from Wesleyan University, CT, and a post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University, CT.

    Lynne Garrity-Ryan

    Lynne Garrity-Ryan

    Lynne Garrity-Ryan is Director of Medical Affairs at Paratek Pharmaceuticals. She obtained her B.A. in Biology from Colby College, ME. She obtained her M.M.Sc. from Harvard Medical School, MA, and her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from Harvard University in Cambridge, MA.

    Mark Grier

    Mark Grier

    Mark Grier is Director of Drug Discovery at Echelon Biosciences. At Paratek Pharmaceuticals, he held a leading role in the R&D of antibacterials, demonstrated by over 20 patents, resulting in pharmaceuticals NUZYRA® and SEYSARA®.  He obtained his Ph.D. and B.S. from the University of Utah, UT, and Iowa State University, IA, respectively.

    Laura Honeyman

    Laura Honeyman

    Laura Honeyman is a Project Manager at Apotex in Toronto, Canada.  She obtained her B.S. in Chemistry from Queen's University in Kingston, Canada.  While at Paratek Pharmaceuticals from 1999 to 2008, Laura was a Medicinal Chemist focused on the discovery of new tetracycline derivatives targeting multiple therapeutic areas and is an inventor of both Nuzyra® and Seysara®.

    Mohamed Ismail

    Mohamed Ismail

    Mohamed Ismail, Ph.D., is the president of the Acacia-Tree Beverages Company in Eden Prairie, MN. Before this role, Dr. Ismail was a senior principal scientist at Paratek Pharmaceuticals in Boston. Dr. Ismail joined Paratek Pharmaceuticals in 1999 and worked there until 2009. Dr. Ismail’s most notable contribution while at Paratek was the discovery of aminomethylcycline class of drugs that led to Nuzyra® at the end of the year 2000.

    Sean Johnston

    Sean Johnston

    Sean Johnston, M.B.A., Ph.D., former Vice President of Manufacturing at Paratek, has over 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry focusing on process development, manufacturing, and operations and is an inventor on numerous Paratek patents for such contributions.  Dr. Johnston received his degrees from the National University of Ireland, Ireland.

    Alexandre Kaoukhov

    Alexandre Kaoukhov

    Alexandre Kaoukhov, M.D., is the Head of Global Development at Almirall, Paratek’s U.S. partner for SEYSARA® in acne vulgaris.  Before, Dr. Kaoukhov worked in dermatological drug development at Galderma (France), Novartis (Switzerland), and Allergan (USA).  Alexandre earned his M.D. degree with honors from First Moscow State Medical University, Russia, and was trained in dermatology at Saint Louis Hospital in Paris.

    Oak Kim

    Oak Kim

    Oak Kim is currently an independent consultant.  While at Paratek, Oak made significant contributions to the novel aminomethylcycline class of tetracyclines, including as an inventor of SEYSARA®. She obtained her B.S. in Chemistry from Seoul National University in South Korea, and her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Chicago, IL.

    Courtney Kirsch

    Courtney Kirsch

    Courtney Kirsch has almost 20 years of global drug development experience in Clinical Trial Science and Operations. In her role at Paratek as Director of Clinical Operations functioning as a Global Trial Leader, Courtney oversees the clinical trials and manages strategic and operational deliverables.

    Evan Loh

    Evan Loh

    Evan Loh, M.D. is Chief Executive Officer and formerly the President, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Medical Officer of Paratek Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and serves on Paratek's Board of Directors.  Evan received his A.B. from Harvard College, MA, and M.D. from Harvard Medical School, MA. He completed his Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Fellowship training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, MA.

    Amy Manley

    Amy Manley

    Amy Manley has over 20 years of global drug development experience. In her role as Executive Director, Clinical Operations at Paratek, she leads the Clinical Operations and Clinical Supply teams in the design, planning, execution, and reporting of the clinical trials, as well as the preparation of the NDA/MAA submissions.

    Gabriel Medjanis

    Gabriel Medjanis

    Gabriel Medjanis received his B.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, MA, and spent the first ten years of his career at Paratek Pharmaceuticals working on the process development of their lead drug target molecule omadacycline.

    Paul McGovern

    Paul McGovern

    Paul McGovern, M.D. is Paratek’s Vice President, Clinical Affairs. Paul received his M.D. from Northwestern University, IL, completed his Residency and Infectious Diseases Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, PA, and was a faculty member.  He is an Infectious Disease expert and has held multiple industry positions in Medical and Clinical Affairs.

    Mark Nelson

    Mark Nelson

    Mark L. Nelson, Ph.D., was the Senior Director of Chemistry while at Paratek.  Research by Dr. Nelson in tetracycline chemistry helped lead to the formation of Paratek Pharmaceuticals, where he applied new chemistries leading to the aminomethyl tetracyclines, including SEYSARA® and NUZYRA®.  He holds over 40 patents in chemical synthesis and the tetracycline family of antibiotics.

    Kwasi Ohemeng

    Kwasi Ohemeng

    Kwasi Ohemeng is currently at Equatorial Healthcare working as a Pharmaceutical Scientist.  While at Paratek, Kwasi contributed to the program management of various novel aminomethyclines. Kwasi received his Ph.D. in Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry from Duquesne University, PA.  

    Farzaneh Seyedi

    Farzaneh Seyedi

    Faye Seyedi is a pharmaceutical executive with over 20 years of experience. She served for 13 years at Paratek. In her career, she has been the lead for the development of 13 NCEs. Faye received her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Brown University, RI, and her B.S. degree from Rhode Island College, RI.

    Judith Steenbergen

    Judith Steenbergen

    Judith Steenbergen, Ph.D., joined Paratek with a distinguished career of more than a decade in clinical microbiology and antibiotic development. Since receiving her doctorate at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, NY, she has been involved in all phases of drug development, from IND-enabling studies through antibiotic approval and commercialization.

    S. Ken Tanaka

    S. Ken Tanaka, Ph.D., was Vice President of Research and Development and currently consults for Paratek. Dr. Tanaka had responsibility for the team of chemists and biologists that characterized the aminomethylcycline class of tetracycline molecules, which discovered and characterized NUZYRA® and SEYSARA® and which undertook pre-clinical and clinical development of NUZYRA®.

    Evangelos Tzanis

    Evangelos Tzanis

    Evan Tzanis has over 20 years of drug development experience in all aspects of clinical, operational, and regulatory processes. While at Paratek as Vice President of Clinical Development and Chief Development Officer, Evan oversaw clinical development of strategic and operational deliverables including the design/oversight of clinical trials, biometrics, and regulatory affairs.

    Atul Verma

    Atul Verma

    Atul Verma is an Associate Director, QC Tech Services at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals.  He obtained his M.S. from IIT Kanpur, India, and Ph.D. in Chemistry from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL.  Previously he has worked at Princeton University (postdoctoral staff), Paratek Pharmaceuticals, and Nitto Denko Avecia.

    Tadeusz Warchol

    Tadeusz Warchol

    Tadeusz Warchol is a Principal Scientist at Paratek. Dr. Warchol started working at Paratek in 2001, focusing on the development and commercial synthesis of NUZYRA®.  He received his Ph.D. from Institute of Organic Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, Poland, and was a postdoctoral fellow at University of Texas, CNRS (France) and, Columbia University, NY.

  • Pharmacyclics, LLC, An Abbvie Company

    The American Chemical Society acknowledges a group of researchers affiliated with Pharmacyclics, LLC, an AbbVie Company, whose research led to the development of Ibrutinib, marketed as IMBRUVICA®.

    IMBRUVICA® (ibrutinib) is a first-in-class, oral, once-daily therapy that mainly works by inhibiting a protein called Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK). BTK is a key signaling molecule in the B-cell receptor signaling complex that plays an important role in the survival and spread of malignant B-cells.

    IMBRUVICA® is FDA-approved in six distinct diseases: chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL), Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia (WM), along with previously treated mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), previously treated marginal zone lymphoma (MZL), and previously treated chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD).

    Yunbiao Chen

    Yunbiao Chen

    Yunbiao Chen, is an Associate Director of API Manufacturing at Pharmacyclics, an Abbvie company. Dr. Chen obtained an M.S. degree in Inorganic Chemistry from the Chemistry Department of East China Normal University, Shanghai, China in 1989.

    Erick Goldman

    Erick Goldman

    Erick Goldman is an Associate Director at Pharmacyclics, LLC. He received his B.S. in Environmental Chemistry from University of California, San Diego, CA. His 27-year career in process and medicinal chemistry has also included pharmaceutical candidate research and development at Corvas Intl., COR Therapeutics, and Exelixis, Inc.

    Lee Honigberg

    Lee Honigberg

    Lee Honigberg is a Senior Scientist and Director of Biomarker Development at Genentech.  He obtained his A.B. in Computer Science from Dartmouth College, NH, and his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from University of California, San Francisco, CA.  He previously worked at Celera (1998-2006) and Pharmacyclics (2006-2009).

    Wenchen Luo

    Wenchen Luo

    Wenchen Luo is Director of Analytical Chemistry at Pharmacyclics. She obtained her B.S. in Chemistry from Fudan University in China and her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Utah, UT.

    Yuelie Lu

    Yuelie Lu

    Yuelie Lu is Vice President of CMC Operations at Turning Point Therapeutics. He obtained his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Purdue University, IN, and attended the University of Science and Technology of China, China.

    Rex Maimait

    Rex Maimait

    Rex Maimait is an Associate Director of Chemical Development and Manufacturing at Pharmacyclics, LLC. He obtained his M.S. degree in Analytical Chemistry from Wright State University, OH, and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Florida, FL. Dr. Maimait also attended university in China.

    James Palmer

    James Palmer

    Jim Palmer is an independent Drug Discovery Consultant based in Melbourne, Australia. Following his career as a medicinal chemist, he works with clients from the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Jim obtained his B.S. degree in Chemistry from Old Dominion University, VA, and earned his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Purdue University, IN.

    Zhengying Pan

    Zhengying Pan

    Zhengying Pan is a Principal Investigator at Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School, China. He obtained his B.S. in Chemistry from Peking University, China, and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Columbia University, NY.

    Mark Smyth

    Mark Smyth

    Mark Smyth is an Executive Director at Pharmacyclics. He obtained his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at the State University of New York at Buffalo, NY, and his B.S. in Chemistry from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, PA.

    Paul Sprengeler

    Paul Sprengeler

    Paul Sprengeler is a Research Fellow at eFFECTOR Therapeutics.  He obtained his Ph.D. in Chemistry from and did post-doctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania, PA. His industrial experience has been at Arris, Axys, Celera, SGX Pharaceuticals, Eli Lilly, and eFFECTOR Therapeutics focusing on structure-based design.

    Erik Verner

    Erik Verner

    Erik Verner is currently the VP of Medicinal Chemistry at Corvus Pharmaceuticals. He obtained his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Idaho, ID, and his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh, PA.

    David Wirth

    David Wirth

    David Wirth obtained his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from The University of Texas at Austin, TX. He has held research positions in Process Chemistry at Eli Lilly, Seres Laboratories, and Targacept. He is currently the Director of Process Chemistry at Mycovia Pharmaceuticals in Durham, NC.

  • PPG Industries

    The American Chemical Society honors a group of scientists from PPG, whose research led to the development of the B1:B2™ Compact Process, an automotive paint system that eliminates several steps in the traditional coating process.

    David Aiken

    David Aiken is a Senior Research Technologist at PPG's Coatings Innovation Center in Allison Park, PA.  He obtained an Associate Degree in Environmental Technologies from CCAC.

    Marvis Hartman

    Marvis Hartman

    Dr. Marvis Hartman obtained a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University, PA. At PPG, working with others, he identified and developed numerous important, innovative coatings for the auto industry. He retired from PPG Industries after 43 years, but continues to counsel the R&D team in new research projects.

    Leigh-Ann Humbert

    Leigh-Ann Humbert

    Leigh-Ann Humbert is a Sr. Research Manager at PPG.  She obtained her B.S. in Chemistry from Washington and Jefferson College, PA, and her M.S. from Carnegie Mellon University, PA.  She has been employed at PPG for 29 years.

    Wolfgang Klaeger

    Wolfgang Klaeger

    Wolfgang Klaeger is the Global Manager of Decorative Technologies Automotive OEM at PPG and he hold a M.S. degree in Paint Chemistry from the University of Applied Science in Stuttgart, Germany.

    Dennis Simpson

    Dennis Simpson

    Dennis Simpson is a Scientist at the PPG Industries Coatings Innovation Center in Allison Park, PA. He obtained his B.S. degree in Chemistry from The Pennsylvania State University and an M.S. degree in Polymer Science from Carnegie Mellon University, PA.

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