Michael Goetz obtained his Ph.D at the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland. After a postdoctoral stage at Cornell University, where he worked with Drs. Jerry Meinwald and Tom Eisner on insect chemistry, he joined the Merck Research Laboratories staff in New Jersey. He was a member of the basic research / drug discovery effort at Merck for 28 years, most recently as Director, Natural Products Chemistry, and has served as Area Head, Chemistry at the Fundacion Medina research facility in Granada Spain. Dr. Goetz is the author or co-author of over 80 chemistry publications in the field of Natural Products. He continues as Consultant at Fundacion Medina and is Research Director of the Natural Products Discovery Institute.
Bill Kinney is the Director of the Natural Product Discovery Institute and Director of Medicinal Chemistry at the Blumberg Insititute. Dr. Kinney began his industrial career in the CNS group at Wyeth, where he invented perzinfotel that progressed to phase II clinical trials for pain. At Magainin Pharmaceuticals, he directed projects on trodusquemine (phase II, obesity) and squalamine (phase II, eye disease), two shark-derived natural products. In 2000, he joined Johnson & Johnson, where he pursued peptide-mimetic integrin antagonists and urotensin-II receptor modulators for cardiovascular indications. Dr. Kinney directs business development and collaborations involving former Merck Natural Product Collection. He has built drug discovery partnerships with Drexel faculty members on PI3K p110 delta kinase inhibitors (flu), HDAC inhibitors (HBV), and mono-amine transport activators (depression and anxiety). He is an adjunct faculty member at Drexel University and Founder of IteraMed Consulting, a company focused on leading virtual drug discovery projects. His scientific contributions include 50 publications and inventorship on 39 issued U.S. patents.
Jan Sigmund is a Rutgers University M.S. Microbiology & Biochemistry graduate with over twenty years of Natural Products (NP) Drug Discovery experience at Merck & Co., Inc. The focus of her research was exploring the biological diversity of prokaryotic microorganisms that reside in Nature and providing this important source of novel bioactive molecules to various therapeutic screening areas. She played a key role in the isolation, identification, fermentation and screening of Actinomycete bacteria as well as bacteria considered non-traditional to Natural Products pharmaceutical programs at the time, such as Bacillus, Cytophaga-like bacteria, Cyanobacteria and marine prokaryotes. Critical to the success of such programs was not only the development of novel culture enrichment and isolation procedures, but the establishment of robust molecular means to rapidly differentiate and identify bacteria.
Jan routinely provided initial, secondary and large scale fermentations of bacteria producing compounds of interest and successfully utilized Design of Experiment (DoE) and Quality by Design (QbD) approaches and analysis in order to optimize growth conditions within stringent time constraints. Integral to this work was facilitating the transfer of fermentation technology from R&D to Process Development and Manufacturing groups. She is also experienced in running HTS programs and in MOA studies of antibacterials.
Currently, Jan applies her expertise in providing optimized bacterial fermentations and generating ‘for purchase’ samples of high-quality DNA extracted from thousands of cultures from NPDI’s in-house collection.
Sung Ryeol Park received her Ph.D. under the supervision of Professor Yeo Joon Yoon at Ewha Womans University, South Korea. During her Ph.D. course, she focused on the molecular genetic and biochemical studies on biosynthesis of secondary metabolites from microorganisms and plants based on heterologous expression system. Dr. Park later joined the laboratory of Professor David Sherman at the University of Michigan as a postdoctoral research fellow. In the Sherman laboratory, she led multiple projects that span a variety of biosynthetic enzyme classes including polyketide synthases, nonribosomal pepetide synthetases, methyltransferases and cytochrome P450s. She joined the NPDI in 2015, and currently applies her expertise and experiences in bacterial culture/fermentation and characterization of biochemical pathways of microorganisms derived from the NPDI collection. Dr. Park is the author or co-author of over 30 biochemistry and/or microbiology publications in the field of natural products.
Anne Dombrowski received her Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Cincinnati in the area of microbial physiology. After a postdoctoral program at Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, La Jolla, California, in microbial genetics with Irving Crawford, she joined Merck Research Laboratories in New Jersey. She spent 27 years as a fermentation microbiologist at Merck, in the natural products drug discovery program, most recently as the director of a screening program for discovery of new products from microorganisms. Dr. Dombrowski is the author or co-author of over 30 publications in natural products.
In completing his Ph.D. in natural products chemistry with David Kingston at Virginia Tech in December 2005, he isolated and characterized antitumor compounds from plant and marine sources. Following that, Jason Clement joined the Molecular Targets Laboratory at NCI-Frederick as a postdoctoral research fellow in January 2006. At NCI, he isolated compounds from plant and marine sources with activities in mechanism-based bioassays relevant to cancer. In 2007, he joined the Department of Chemistry and Physics at Western Carolina University as an assistant professor where he supervised 13 undergraduates and 3 master’s students over 12 semesters in natural products chemistry research. Jason joined the NPDI in July 2013, and is primarily involved in the characterization of natural products of interest derived from the large NPDI extract collection. Additionally, he continues his research in medicinal plants native to the eastern United States.
After a M.S. degree at West Virginia University directed by Dr. G. Fodor in the area of granatane alkaloids, John Ondeyka worked at that University’s Chemical Engineering Department. He later joined the Merck Research Laboratories Natural Products Department where he was involved, over 29 years, in the discovery and early development of paraherquamide and its analogs for the animal health area, cyclopiazonic acid and analogs as HIV inhibitors; nodulisporic acid, a potent orally-active ectoparasiticide; platensimycin and thiazomycin analogs as antibacterials; several second generation development projects related to marketed products avermectin and lovastatin. At NPDI, he ensuresC that our vast N.P. assets are made available to the scientific community at large and is active in passing on his knowledge in research to the next generation of chemists.