LDDN People

Kevin Hodgetts, PhD 

Director of LDDN, Head of Medicinal Chemistry

Kevin has a broad background in organic and medicinal chemistry, with experience in both industrial and academic drug discovery. Kevin spent over 20 years working on treatments for diseases of the central nervous system.  Compounds from two projects that he was involved in have entered clinical trials. Kevin joined the LDDN in September 2012, to work with the academic community to design new and innovative strategies for drug discovery for neurodegenerative diseases. Kevin is Assistant Professor of Neurology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He was originally from Pelsall in the West Midlands of the U.K. and was educated at Salford University, England.

Telephone: 617-768-8640

Email:  khodgetts@partners.org

Greg Ahn


Greg graduated from Cornell University and joined the group in September 2017, as a research scientist.  Greg is working on the synthesis of novel molecules as potential treatments for renal carcinoma.  Greg will be going to medical school in 2019.

Mike Shultis


Mike is a recent chemistry graduate from Northeastern University and joined the group in April 2018, as a research scientist. Mike is working on the synthesis of novel molecules for the EAAT2 project.  In the future, Mike plans to pursue a career as a physician-researcher.

Dawid Fiejtek


Dawid originally joined the group in January 2017, as a coop student from Northeastern University. Dawid worked on the synthesis of new analogs in our SMA series that increases transcription of the survival motor neuron protein for the treatment of Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  Dawid is now a research scientist at the LDDN working on SMA and other CNS projects.  In the future, Dawid plans to attend medical school.

Luu Pham


Luu joined the LDDN in July 2018, as a coop student from Northeastern University.Luu is working on the synthesis of compounds for the EAAT2 project.

Aaron Chambers


Aaron joined the group in July 2018.  Aaron is a final year Masters chemistry student from Lincoln University UK. Aaron is working on the synthesis of new molecules to treat neurodegenerative diseases.

Samuel Bowler


Sam joined the group in July 2018.  Sam is a final year Masters chemistry student from Lincoln University UK. Sam is working on the synthesis of new molecules to treat neurodegenerative diseases.

Katherine Taylor


Katherine joined the group in August 2018.  She is an undergraduate chemistry student from Bath University UK.

Dr. Xuechao Xing was a Senior Research Scientist and Instructor at the LDDN. Having joined the LDDN in 2001, Xuechao made major contributions to multiple LDDN projects including necrosis inhibitors, BMP, SMA, and EAAT2. Xuechao is currently working as a medicinal chemist at Enanta Pharmaceuticals in Watertown, MA.

Dr. Xiao (Elliot) Wang was a Researcher and Instructor at the LDDN.
​Dr. Wang originally joined the LDDN as a postdoctoral Research Fellow in Medicinal Chemistry in 2011, and was promoted to Instructor in 2012. His research efforts were aimed at optimizing small molecules for the Klotho and EAAT2 projects as potential treatments for neurodegeneration. In 2017 Elliot returned to China to continue his research career.

Dr. Hrvoje (Harry) Lusic joined the LDDN as a postdoctoral research fellow in medicinal chemistry in 2013.
Harry made many key contributions to multiple projects including for SMA, CMT, ALS and Alzheimer’s disease. Harry left the LDDN in 2017 and is teaching at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro.

Alyssa Calder originally joined the LDDN in January 2014 as a Northeastern coop student and after graduation from Northeastern in 2015 she rejoined the LDDN as a Research Associate. Alyssa made many important contributions to the SMA project. In 2017 she left the LDDN to begin her medical career at Drexel University College of Medicine.

Lin Lin originally joined the group in January 2015, as a coop student from Northeastern University. Lin developed the SAR on the SOD1 and CMT projects. After graduating from Northeastern, Lin is now back at the LDDN and making key contributions to the EAAT2 and HIF projects.  In the future, Lin plans to attend medical school.

Lisa Montagnon joined the group in September 2017.  She is an undergraduate chemistry student from Bath University UK. Lisa is synthesizing new heterocycles for the EAAT2 project for the treatment of AD and ALS.

Hamilton Coulter joined the group in September 2017 and is an chemist from Bath University UK. Hamilton is working on the synthesis of different heterocycles that modulate the activity of the innate immune system in the CNS for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

Allison Leonard joined the group in July 2017 and was a coop student from Northeastern University.  Allison focused on developing new SAR for the EAAT2 project for AD and ALS.
Matthew Monte joined the group in July 2017 and was a coop student from Northeastern University.  Matthew made new analogs and new SAR for the HIF2a inhibitor project.
Priscilla Ogunmola was a student at the University of Huddersfield studying for a MSci in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. Priscilla spent her placement year here at the LDDN and focused on the asymmetric synthesis of a number of different heterocycles that increased survival motor neuron protein for the treatment of Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

Kristy Ngai  was a student from the University of Bath, UK, studying for a BSc (Hons) in Natural Sciences (Major in Pharmacology, Minor in Organic Chemistry). Kristy made new anlogs of lead HIF2a inhibitor as a potential treatment for renal cancer.

Anna Blundell was a student from the University of Bath studying for an MSci (Hons) in Natural Sciences (Major in Chemistry, Minor in Pharmacology.  Anna spent her third year placement here at the LDDN. She developed new SAR for the EAAT2 project for the treatment of AD and ALS.

Eva Rodger studied Medicinal Chemistry with Professional Studies BSc (Hons) at the University of Salford. Eva worked on the synthesis and SAR of substituted benzothiazoles for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases including MS and SMA.

Xiao Liu was a MChem student from the University of York, U.K. and joined the group in September 2016. Xiao worked on the synthesis of Etifoxine and its analogs.  Xiao is pursuing a PhD at the University of Oxford.

Patrick Boaler was a MChem student from the University of York, U.K. and joined the group in August 2016. Patrick focused his research on the synthesis of more water soluble analogs of one of our lead SMA series.  Patrick is pursuing a PhD at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Ian Hope was a final year MChem student from the University of York, U.K.  Ian joined the group in August 2016 and developed SAR for compounds that increase protein expression of EAAT2 protein as potential treatments for AD and ALS

Kelsey Patrick​ joined the LDDN in July 2016, as a coop student from Northeastern University. Kelsey and Xiao Liu worked on the synthesis of Etifoxine and its analogs.
Nick Elias joined the group in July 2016, as a coop student from Northeastern University.  He worked on the synthesis of a new series of compounds that increased transcription of the survival motor neuron protein for the treatment of Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
John Kennedy joined the group in July 2015.  John is a MSci Chemistry student from Glasgow University, U.K.. John will be spending his forth year placement here at the LDDN. John has an interest in ALS is working on both the EAAT2 and SOD1 projects. John is an Arsenal and Celtic fan.
Raihana Ghiwala joined the LDDN in August 2015 after graduating with a BSc degree from Bradford University, U.K.. She is now completing her MChem with Drug Discovery year and is spending her forth year placement here at the LDDN. Raihana is focused on developing new SAR for the EAAT2 project for AD and ALS.
Alice Kennet was a MChem student from the University of York, U.K. and joined the group in September 2015.
Alice has previous research experience at the Davis lab at Oxford University, U.K. and at the LDDN she focused on the Klotho project for AD. Alice synthesized a number of cyclic constarined analogs of our lead compounds in order to improve potency and PK properties
Andrew Burke was a MChem student from the University of York, U.K. and joined the group in September 2015. Andrew worked on the synthesis of a number of different heterocyclic structures for the CNS library project. Andrew is a follower of Championship football club, Stoke City.
Melanie Fritsche joined the group in January 2016 and was a coop student from Northeastern University. Melanie worked on the SMA project. Melanie has previous experience as a coop student at Hasbro in RI and the Pollastri Lab for Neglected Diseases at Northeastern.
Kierstyn Anderson joined the group in January 2016 as a coop student from Northeastern University. Kierstyn developed SAR for the Klotho project as we closed in on a compound for in vivo efficacy studies. Kierstyn has previous research experience in the Smotkin laboratory at Northeastern. Kierstyn graduated from Northeastern in 2017 and is pursuing a PhD in Chemistry at UCLA
Michaela Cullum-Doyle joined the group in January 2016 and is a coop student from Northeastern University. Michaela will be working on the CMT project. Michaela has research experience in the Beuning laboratory for DNA polymerase and enzyme research.
Eliza Miller joined the group in February 2015, and graduated with a Masters in Chemistry from Northeastern University in 2016. Eliza is established SAR for a novel series of heterocycles for the SMA project. Eliza was acum laude Honors Chemistry Major from Gonzaga University.
Nicholas Kern was a Master’s in Chemistry research student from Prof. Graham Jones group at Northeastern. Nick spent 2015 working at the LDDN building the SAR and continuing lead optimization for the SMA project.
Alison Volkert joined the group in July 2015 and was a coop student from Northeastern University. Alison developed SAR for the CMT project and some of her compounds are advancing into PK studies
Nicole Nelson joined the group in July 2015 and was a coop student from Northeastern University. She developed SAR for both the 75- and 76- series on the SMA project. Nicole was a recipient of the Pajak Research Scholarship from Northeastern.
Rohan Sharma joined the group in July 2015, as a coop student from Northeastern University. Rohan developed the SAR on the HIF2a project and discovered potential probes for target ID. Rohan is also a recipient of the Pajak Research Scholarship from Northeastern.
Fernanda Nobrega was a Brazil Scientific Mobility exchange student enrolled at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston. She was at the LDDN for the summer of 2015 and characterized compounds in solubility and microsomal stability assays.
Fatih Sirindil joined the group in January 2015, from the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Strasbourg. He conducted research here on Alzheimer’s disease towards his Master’s degree, Sciences of Drug – Drug Design and Production. Fatih has now returned to France and obtained a French government scholarship to do his PhD in Strasbourg with Professor Patrick Pale.
Esat Oney also joined the group in January 2015, from the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Strasbourg. He conducted research here on new treatments for Spinal Muscular Atrophy towards his Master’s degree, Sciences of Drug – Drug Design and Production. Esat has now returned France and plans to pursue a PhD in Europe.
Lin Lin joined the group in January 2015, as a coop student from Northeastern University. Lin developed the SAR on the SOD1 and CMT projects.  In particular Lin discovered our most potent CMT analog to date.
Lin is now back at Northeastern and plans to go to medical school following graduation.

Matthew Okscin (Fall 2014). In his six months at the LDDN, Matthew made novel analogs for a number of projects. Notably, he identified a compound that significantly suppressed SOD1 expression. Matthew is now on his second coop, also at BWH as an infant hearing screening technician. Matthew plans to go to medical school following graduation from Northeastern.

Alyssa Calder (Spring 2014). Alyssa spent her six months at the LDDN working on the SMA project. She was able to synthesize all of the crazy heterocycles I asked her to make, and she added a few more on top. She helped put the SMA project where it is today. Alyssa rejoined the LDDN in the fall of 2014, for her final year research project and made probe compounds to help elucidate the molecular target of our molecules. Alyssa began medical school at Drexel University College of Medicine.

Alexis Balcom (Fall 2013). Alexis began the novel CNS library project and made a number of new templates. One of Alexis’s compounds was found to significantly increase expression of the SMN-2 protein, and it became the new lead structure for the SMA project. Alexis is now back at Northeastern, heading into her final semester.

Jennifer Li (Spring 2013). Jennifer became our process chemist during her six month stay. She was focused on scaling-up 10-10, the lead compound for the EAAT2 project at that time.

Rutali Brahme (Spring 2014). Rutali determined the thermodynamic and kinetic solubility, and the microsomal stability of a number of important LDDN compounds. Rutali began development of a PAMPA permeability assay before she joined Novartis in Cambridge, MA.

Sinthia Ahmed (Fall 2013). Sinthia determined the thermodynamic and kinetic solubility, and the microsomal stability of a number of important LDDN compounds. Sinthia also began to profile the hits discovered from screening the LDDN library in these assays which has helped us to design new libraries for CNS indications with better physical properties. Sinthia is now a formulation chemist at Toxikon in Bedford, MA.

Manpreet Virk (Spring 2013). Manpreet and Fera pioneered our development of in house microsomal stability, solubility and logD assays. Through their contributions, we were able to rapidly profile compounds in important drug-like property assays and prioritize compounds for in vivo studies. Manpreet is currently an Associate Scientist working at Cyprotex in Watertown, MA.

Fera Soedarsono (Spring 2013). Fera and Manpreet pioneered our development of in house microsomal stability, solubility and logD assays. Through their contributions, we were able to rapidly profile compounds in important drug-like property assays and prioritize compounds for in vivo studies. I am indebted to Fera, as she has always been available to come back to the LDDN to train new students and to help with the assays. Fera is a Scientist working at Novartis in Cambridge, MA.

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