Group Members


Joel S. Freundlich, Ph.D., is a Professor of Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience and of Medicine at Rutgers University–New Jersey Medical School. Prior to his return to academic research, he spent eight years in the pharmaceutical industry as a medicinal chemist. His undergraduate and master’s degree training were in chemical engineering at Cornell University as a McMullen Dean’s Scholar. He received his doctorate in organic chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under the tutelage of 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry awardee Richard Schrock.

Link to CV

Link to CDD interview (Collaborative Drug Discovery)

Link to interview at Grosset Symposium

Current members of the Freundlich Group


Pankaj Sharma completed his MS (Pharm.) and a PhD in medicinal chemistry in 2017 from the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Hyderabad, India. He developed a silver-catalyzed domino protocol for the synthesis of a new class of spirooxindoles during his doctoral research work. He also worked on the synthesis of oxindole- and benzimidazole-based new chemical entities acting as potential cytotoxic and apoptosis inducing agents. He worked as a postdoctoral research at the Ohio State University, under the guidance of Prof. Karl Werbovetz. The prime focus of his research was to develop the structure-activity relationship for new antileukemic and antileishmanial compounds. He joined as a postdoctoral fellow in the Freundlich lab in January 2022 and is currently exploring the rational development of compounds targeting the menaquinone biosynthetic pathway in M. tuberculosis. He is also learning novel techniques in structure-based drug design and molecular modeling.

Srinivas Thadkapally
Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Srinivas Thadkapally has been a postdoctoral fellow in the Freundlich research group since February 2022. He is primarily engaged in the design, synthesis, and mechanistic studies of small molecule antibacterials. Prior to joining the lab, he was involved in various lead discovery projects where he sought to leverage Au, Pt and Rh catalyzed cyclizations to prepare medicinally important small molecules. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia under the supervision of Profs. Christopher Hyland and Stephen G. Pyne. Before joining the UOW, he spent three years in Prof. Rajeev S. Menon’s research group at CSIR-IICT Hyderabad as a project associate, where he focused on Au-catalyzed cyclization reactions. Srinivas got his Master’s degree in Drugs and Pharmaceuticals from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Kukatpallly, Hyderabad, Telangana, India. 

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Shivangi completed her PhD in May 2022 from CSIR- Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, India. Her PhD work focused on the characterization of mycobacterial GTPase and ATPase proteins through biochemical and biophysical analysis, disruption studies by point mutagenesis and identification of potent inhibitors through in silico and in vitro methods. She joined the Freundlich Group in June 2022 and here her primary goal is to study drug accumulation kinetic phenomena in different bacteria. In addition, she is very interested to learn more about bacterial cell death post primary target engagement.
Google scholar:
Twitter handle: @Shivangi_122

Melanie Johnston, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Johnston completed her Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Cellular, and Molecular Biology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine under the direction of Dr. Caren Freel Meyers in the Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences. There, her doctoral work in mechanistic enzymology focused on identifying alternative activities of the bacterial enzyme 1-deoxy-D-xylulose 5-phosphate synthase (DXPS), a promising antibacterial drug target.

Dr. Johnston joined the Freundlich lab in September 2022. Here, she is excited to explore mycobacterial drug accumulation and metabolism. She also enjoys teaching and mentoring students in the lab and looks forward to working with Freundlich group members at all stages of their education. Due to her commitment to teaching and interest in pursuing an academic career, she has been awarded an Associate Postdoctoral Fellowship from INSPIRE, an NIH-IRACDA program.

Amir George MD-Ph.D.

Amir George is an MD-Ph.D. student who joined the Freundlich group in June 2022. Prior to joining the lab, Amir received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Psychology from Rutgers University Newark. He is interested in studying the computational, synthetic and biological aspects of drug discovery to gain a deep understanding of the process of drug development. As a medical student, he is pursuing an MD with Distinction in Medical Education because of his interest in academia and passion for teaching students. Amir hopes to pursue a career as a physician scientist in the future that allows him to work in drug discovery, participate in medical education curriculum and development, and apply modern scientific findings to patient care.

Jahnvi Joshi is an undergraduate student at Rutgers University, New Brunswick who joined the Freundlich Lab in February of 2020. She is a student in the School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program who is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. While taking classes, as an undergraduate student, she has grown to become very interested in chemistry and biology, with a specific interest in medicine and synthesis. After completing her undergraduate degree, she hopes to pursue her passion for medicine as a future career.

Ashni Kapadia is an undergraduate student at Rutgers University-New Brunswick who joined the Freundlich Lab in November of 2020. She is a student in the School of Arts and Sciences currently pursuing a double major in Molecular Biology/Biochemistry and Philosophy.  After completing her undergraduate studies, she hopes to pursue an MD/PhD.

Lauren Bowden is a Graduate Student at Rutgers School of Graduate Studies Newark. She is pursuing a Masters of Science Degree in Biomedical Sciences with a concentration in Pharmacological Science. Lauren joined the Freundlich Lab in Fall of 2021 as an online student due to Covid. Now in-person, she studies the drug accumulation of mycobacterium and aims to work on other projects in the lab involving chemical and computational techniques. After finishing her Masters Degree, Lauren will continue to pursue a career as an MD looking to serve underrepresented and underserved communities. During her free time she enjoys going to the gym, playing the piano and guitar, reading, and learning new languages.

Chidubem Atuegbu is a graduate student at Rutgers School of Graduate Studies Newark. He is pursuing a Masters of Science Degree in Biomedical Sciences. Chidubem joined the Freundlich Lab in Fall of 2022. After finishing his Masters Degree, he aims to become a dentist in the hopes that he can provide support to underserved and underrepresented communities. In his free time he enjoys watching sports.

Khadija Mughal is an undergraduate student majoring in Management Information Systems at Rutgers University-Newark. While taking her undergraduate courses, she developed an interest in data science and wanted to learn more about the world of data science. After completing her Bachelor’s degree, she hopes to complete a Masters in Information Technology and Analytics with a concentration in Data Science.

Alex Bozan is an undergraduate student at Rutgers University-New Brunswick who joined the lab in October 2021.  She is a student in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology with a minor in Biochemistry.  After completing her undergraduate studies, she is considering pursuing a Ph.D.  program in Immunology, Pathology and Infectious Disease.  Her end-goal is to work within the research community, in either an academic or industrial lab setting.
Prior to joining the Freundlich Lab, she was a software developer working in a wide array of initiatives and industries, spanning from marketing institutions to logistics to owning a software consulting business.  After 17 years as a software developer, she began thinking of a career change, and decided to go back to school for Nursing.  As she took her prerequisites, she discovered a love for microbiology as well as a high interest for chemistry.  As a result, she decided to change her major, from nursing to Biotechnology, and to transfer to Rutgers for her undergrad.
On her time off, she loves to snowboard, hike, run, dance, cook, read and listen to podcasts.  She is addicted to  This Week in Virology, This Week in Microbiology and Immune are her favorites from that series.  She is currently looking for Data Science podcasts to add to her queue.     

Faheem Kamaludeen Mohideen is a graduate student at Rutgers Graduate School of Studies New Brunswick who joined the lab in the Fall of 2022. He is currently pursuing a Master of Business and Science with a concentration in Analytics and Data Science. He finished his undergraduate in Electronics Engineering where he started to develop an interest in Business Analytics and Data Science. With requirements met in engineering math and programming, he made the switch to a Master’s in Data Science. In the Freundlich lab, he is applying machine learning approaches to model the bioactivity and molecular properties of small molecule anti-infectives. In general, he loves to implement machine learning in industries where machine learning is not traditionally used. In his free time, he loves to cook and play chess online.

Vedang Waradpande is a graduate student pursuing MS in Computer Science with a concentration in Machine Learning at Rutgers University. His research interest is Machine Learning and its applications to Computational Biology and Chemistry, Natural Language Processing, and Computer Vision. He has worked on problems such as unsupervised text retrieval using large language models, Visual Question Answering, drug-target interaction prediction using graph neural networks, and identifying novel translation start sites in the E. coli genome using neural networks. He has 2.5 years of industry experience working as a Data Scientist in two well-known Fintech and eCommerce startups funded by Y Combinator.


Alumni (former members of the Freundlich Group)

Dr. Anil Shelke: Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Dr. Naina Sharma: Jose Marti STEM Academy

Ms. Mmekom Udosen: Rutgers University.

Mr. Aneesh Godbole: Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Ms. Cate Biava: Rotational Mechanical Engineer, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab

Yong-Mo Ahn: Scientist NCATS

Quan Jiang: TBD

Ms. Pamela Barnett: Rutgers University

Mr. Haseeb Mughal: MIT Department of chemistry graduate student

Mr. Matthew Sherwood: Graduate Student, Temple University

Mr. Ethan Morrison: Medical Student

Mr. Amir George: Medical Student

Dr. Andrew Bolinger: University of Texas Medical Branch

Dr. Xin Wang: Post-doctoral scientist, Fortune and Rubin Labs, Harvard School of Public Health

Dr. Alexander L. Perryman: Senior Investigator, Computational Chemistry, Repare Therapeutics

Dr. Ashley Weng: Fellow in Clinical Neurophysiology, Weill-Cornell

Mr. Brendan Law: Data Analyst, Axis Group

Dr. Daigo Inoyama: Senior Scientist, Schrodinger

Dr. Divya Awasthi: Scientist, Seattle Genetics

Dr. Hiyun Kim

Ms. Isabel Navarro: Graduate Student, UPENN

Dr. Janaina Cruz Pereira: Data Scientist, VantAI

Dr. Jimmy Patel: Medical Student, Rutgers – NJMS

Mr. Joseph Bilotta: Field Service Specialist, Metrohm USA

Dr. Justin Roberts: Supervisory Chemist, U.S. EPA

Dr. K. Niccole Fuhr: Scientist, Coty Incorporated

Dr. Kurt Saionz: Senior Scientist, Jacobus Pharmaceuticals

Mr. Mark Jaskowski

Mr. Mike Szymonifka: Retired chemist extraordinaire

Dr. Misun Koo: Patent agent, Mintz Levin

Dr. Monica Anisetti: Physician

Dr. Nisha Mittal: Research Scientist, Bristol-Myers Squibb

Mr. Omar Morale: Instrumentation Chemist, SGS

Dr. Ravindra Jadhav: Scientist, Process Development, Ash Steven LLC

Dr. Ricardo Gallardo-Macias: Principal Scientist, University of Minnesota

Dr. Richard S. Pottorf: Assistant Professor, Anderson University

Dr. Rinki Chauhan

Dr. Shao-Gang Li: Scientist II, Process chemistry at Nurix Therapeutics

Dr. Srinivasan Kandasamy

Dr. Steven Paget: Team Leader, Venenum Biodesign

Ms. Tenesha Boyd

Mr. Tom Stratton: Graduate Student, Baran Lab - The Scripps Research Institute

Mr. Wissam “Sam" Nasser: Medical Student, Rutgers – NJMS