Group Members


Professor Joel Freundlich running in the Baltimore marathonJoel S. Freundlich, Ph.D., is an Associate 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

Anil Shelke, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral fellow who joined the Professor Freundlich's research lab in January 2020 in the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology at the Rutgers University-New Jersey Medical School.

Prior to joining the Freundlich research group, he worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Cetya Therapeutics working in laboratory space at the Department of Chemistry, Colorado State University (from January 2018 to January 2020) with Prof. Robert M. Williams (University Distinguished Professor) where he was involved in the synthesis of histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) based on the natural product Largazole. He also worked on the synthesis of peptide isosteres of Largazole (CT-101) and analogs wherein the thiazole ring was functionalized with a hydroxymethylphenyl moiety for conjugating cancer cell-surface targeting entities.

Before joining Prof. William’s group, He received his Ph.D. degree in Organic Chemistry at CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory, Pune, India in 2018 under the guidance of Dr. Gurunath Suryavanshi (Sr. Principal Scientist and Associate Professor) where his thesis work focused on the total synthesis of bioactive molecules via Organocatalysis and synthetic methodologies involving C-C and C-N bond forming reactions.

Before joining the Ph.D. program, Anil obtained his Master’s degree in Chemistry from N. Wadia College, Pune, (University of Pune) in the year 2010 with First class (67%). Before his Master’s degree, he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from B. J. College, Pune (University of Pune) in the year 2008 with First Class with Distinction (83%).

Anil is experienced in synthetic organic chemistry. He published 9 research articles in well reputed journals and has 4 patents.




Pamela Barnett is a PhD student in the Infection, Immunity, and Inflammation track here at Rutgers Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. She is investigating how small molecules are metabolized by gram-negative pathogens and works on the development of antibacterial discovery assays. Prior to joining the Freundlich lab, she earned her BS degree at the University of Rochester (UR). While at UR, under the tutelage of Dr. Paul M. Dunman, she investigated antibacterial resistance of Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Acinetobacter baumannii in non-traditional lab media. She also helped evaluate the efficacy of hit compounds. Following her time at UR, Pamela worked at Charles River Laboratories and Sanofi Genzyme as a Quality Control Analyst. She later pursued her MS degree at American University. Her thesis research with Dr. Jeffery Kaplan focused on characterizing a novel antimicrobial compound isolated from a marine bacterium. Pamela enjoys communicating her work to those in other fields and is interested in the biological science of drug discovery and development as well as the business side of bringing a drug to market.

Pamela's LinkedIn Profile






Samer Sami Daher is a postdoctoral fellow in Professor Freundlich's research lab in the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology at the Rutgers University-New Jersey Medical School. He received his Ph.D. degree in Organic Chemistry from Temple University, under the mentorship of Professor Rodrigo Andrade, where his thesis work focused on synthesis and evaluation of antibiotics targeting resistant pathogens, as well as exploring novel methodologies for accessing diverse structural scaffolds. Before joining the Ph.D. program, Samer obtained his Masters of Science degree in Biotechnology in 2012 from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Before coming to States for graduate studies, Samer obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry with a minor in Biology in 2010 from the American University of Beirut (AUB) in Beirut, Lebanon.

Samer is looking to achieve teaching positions in the future at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions, where he could share his expertise with new folks via training and teaching as well as evolve his skills that could mold the "minds' of tomorrow's leaders". Feel free to reach him for any prospective position/opportunity. 

Dr. Daher's LinkedIn profile

Dr. Daher's Researchgate pofile









Yong-Mo Ahn, Ph.D., is a research associate in the lab. He has expertise in biochemistry, enzymology, molecular modeling, structural biology, assay development, micro and molecular biology in drug discovery. Prior to joining the Freundlich research group, he spent 5 years working with Dr. Clifton E. Barry/Dr. Helena Boshoff as an IRTA postdoctoral fellow at tuberculosis research section in National Institutes of Health, where he was involved in various projects within three main categories; drug discovery/assay development targeting essential enzymes, disease diagnostic tool development, and drug target identification and mechanism of action studies.

He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from University of Florida under the guidance of Dr. Nigel G. J. Richards. His doctoral dissertation focused on the inhibition and functional characterization of glutamine-dependent asparagine synthetase from human and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. During his Ph.D., he found human asparagine synthetase inhibitors with potential clinical application in treating leukemia. For undergraduate and master’s degree, he went to Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, where he did BA/MA research with Dr. Rex F. Pratt focusing on synthesis and kinetic studies of novel β-lactamase substrates, to study kinetic and structural consequences of the leaving group in the novel β-lactamase substrates.








Quan Jiang, Ph.D., is a Post-Doctoral Fellow working on the KNIME Applications to rationalize the drug design. He also     synthesizes small molecules for the treatment of Mycobactorium tuberculosis.













Haseeb Mughal is an undergraduate student at Rutgers University-Newark who joined the Freundlich Lab in June of 2018. He is a student in the Honors College who is currently working in pursuit of a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Chemistry with a Biology minor. While taking classes as an undergraduate student, he has developed a strong passion for chemistry and biology. Due to his passion for chemistry, he hopes to expand his knowledge of pharmacology and drug synthesis. After completing his undergraduate studies, he hopes to pursue a PhD in organic chemistry and expand his knowledge in medicinal chemistry.













Catherine Biava is an undergraduate student at Rutgers University-New Brunswick where she is majoring in mechanical engineering and minoring in mathematics. As a member of the Reilly Douglass Engineering Living Learning Community at Douglass Residential College, Catherine was encouraged to explore research opportunities. In 2019 she joined a civil engineering lab which piqued her interest in data analysis and led to pursuing a minor in math. In this lab, she acquired and analyzed data on the quantity of terminal train tracks throughout the United States and ultimately made a cost estimation for implementing a new safety protocol. In June of 2020, Catherine joined the Freundlich Lab where she is expanding her knowledge of data analysis through machine learning.














Alumni (former members of the Freundlich Group)

Mr. Matthew Sherwood: Graduate Student, Temple University

Mr. Ethan Morrison: Medical Student

Mr. Amir George: Medical Student

Dr. Andrew Bolinger

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

Dr. Alexander L. Perryman: Senior Scientist II, 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: Senior Research Scientist, Wilmington Pharmatech Co

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