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Our diverse team consists of various individuals from multiple backgrounds, with a common dedicated passion in Medicinal Chemistry, and small molecule-based drug development research.

Our vibrant group has been growing at MIPS since 2012, working on a variety of projects, within a large laboratory area that spans across the corridor in the level 4 of the Manning Building (403) in the Parkville Campus.

Lab Head: Jonathan Baell

Professor Jonathan Baell is a research-only Professor in Medicinal Chemistry at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS), who is an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow and a Larkins Fellow. He is a medicinal chemist with over 35 years of experience who, aside from his significant research contributions, also sits on several company and journal SABs and EABs and is a Senior Editor of Future Medicinal Chemistry along with other editorial responsibilities. A hallmark of Professor Baell’s research is the ability to achieve translational outcomes in a panoply of drug discovery contexts, both in terms of the therapeutic approach, as well as the disease settings.

Post-Doctoral Research Fellows:

Swapna Varghese

Swapna Varghese is an early career postdoctoral researcher in Medicinal Chemistry with demonstrated skills in scientific writing and project management. She has worked on a wide range of Medicinal Chemistry projects ranging from neglected diseases (Malaria, Chagas, Sleeping Sickness, Leishmaniasis), metabolic disorders, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. She is currently working in Professor Jonathan Baell’s laboratory on an ATMCF-TIA Pipeline Accelerator venture on multiple sclerosis in collaboration with Dr Steven Petratos. Swapna enjoys public speaking, and has bagged awards such as University 3MT© winner and other exceptional speaker awards. She is the founding member and secretary of the ICBS young scholars - Monash Chapter - and also the committee member of the Monash EMCR committee.

Ramesh Mudududdla

Ramesh Mudududdla is an early career postdoctoral researcher, whose PhD project focused on Medicinal Chemistry and organic syntheses. In our group, he is involved in a number of projects including anti-cancer and multiple sclerosis (MS) treatments, with a particular focus on developing novel radioligands for PET imaging of MS.

Yuji Nakano

Yuji is a Japanese Australian chemist who completed his PhD studies with Prof. David W. Lupton at Monash University in 2017, before undertaking a postdoctoral research fellowship as an Endeavour Fellow with Asst. Prof. Todd K. Hyster at Princeton University. In 2019 Yuji returned to Melbourne and began working in our group on research involving sepsis and the NLRP3 inflammasome. Aside from Medicinal Chemistry, Yuji is interested in catalysis and organic syntheses, especially in contexts that drive chemistry toward sustainability.

Yi Sing Gee

Yi Sing is an early career postdoctoral researcher in the Baell group, as well as at ATMCF, specialising in Organic Synthesis and Medicinal Chemistry. He is currently working on the development of an antiviral drug for the treatment of COVID-19and the development of small molecule inhibitors as therapeutics for all Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) subtypes.

Jianwen Jin

Jianwen is a Research Fellow in our group. He completed his PhD in Organic Chemistry at Monash University in 2018, then moved to Medicinal Chemistry research in 2019. He is interested in early-stage drug discovery with a focus on novel biomolecular-targeting small molecules, as well as compounds that induce targeted protein degradation.

Yichao Zhao

Yichao is an Early Career Research Fellow in the Baell group, who received her PhD degree in Organic Chemistry from the School of Chemistry, Monash University. Currently, Yichao focuses on discovering a novel small molecular inhibitor that targets to the MOZ protein. This project is also a part of collaboration with the Monash Technology Transformation Institute (MTTI).

Alfred Wong

Alfred is an Early Career Postdoctoral Researcher in the Baell group. He completed his PhD from Monash University in 2020. His research focuses on the development of small molecules as radiotracers for molecular imaging in the context of oncology and neurological diseases. He is currently involved in a research project for the development of radiotracers for prostate cancer with industrial partners.

Cathy (Yiyue) Xie

Cathy obtained her Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Sciences degree from China Pharmaceutical University in 2016, and PhD in Medicinal Chemistry from MIPS in 2020. Her PhD work focused on the development of GSTO1-1 inhibitors for the treatment of inflammatory conditions, and current research focuses on the development of 18F-labelled radiotracers for PET imaging.

Post-Graduate Students:

Nicole McNamara

As PhD candidate, Nicole is involved in a collaborative hit-to-lead campaign aimed at developing novel anti-leishmanials for the treatment of Visceral Leishmaniasis. Her project follows the SAR approach, building focused analogue libraries around novel phenotypic hits to form more realised lead candidates, which are assessed against intramacrophage Leishmania donovani, the causative agent of Visceral Leishmaniasis.

Sally (Yuxin) Sun

Yuxin received her Master’s degree in Bio-pharmaceutical Science from Jilin University, China in 2016. Her Master’s project focused on the design and synthesis of liposome for cancer treatment. Currently, her PhD project involves the elaboration of small molecule inhibitors against histone acetyltransferases (HATs), as a potential epigenetic therapy for acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).

Heba Abd-Ellah Ali

Heba received her Master’s degree in Medicinal Chemistry from Minia University, Egypt in 2016. Her Master’s thesis focused on the development of ulcer-free anti-inflammatory agents, which enabled her to co-author three publications. She also has seven years teaching experience from her lecturer assistant role at Minia University, and she joined our group for her PhD candidature in 2018. Her PhD project focuses on the development of novel platforms for targeted colon delivery and the development of long-acting formulation against HIV.

Eric Tran

Eric is a PhD candidate who received his Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science Advanced with Honours degree from Monash University in 2017 and began his PhD candidature in 2018. His project focuses on the development of hypoxia-activated prodrugs, with a focus on developing selective anti-cancer therapeutics.

Rebecca Zheng

PhD candidate Rebecca received her BSc Hons. in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Auckland in 2018. She joined the Baell research group for her PhD in 2019, mainly focusing on the development of novel anti-leishmaniasis agents for the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis.

Naveen Kumar Kotla

Naveen finished Master’s degree in the field of Medicinal Chemistry in 2017, and has been pursuing his PhD in the Baell group since 2020. His PhD project is titled ‘design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of CCK1 receptor modulators for the treatment of obesity’.

Irene (Lian) Xue

After receiving her Bioengineering Honours Degree from Nanjing Tech University in June 2019, Irene (Lian) is undertaking a PhD candidature in our group, on a Medicinal Chemistry project that aims to develop PET radiotracers for the imaging of multiple sclerosis.

Claire (Jiyuan) Che

Claire is a Medicinal Chemistry PhD candidate in our group, who received her Pharmaceutical Science Honours Degree in May 2020 at MIPS. She is currently involved in the project on developing GPR52 agonist for the novel treatment of schizophrenia.

Professional Support Staff:

Leanne Hawkey

As the Facility Manager for the Australian Translational Medicinal Chemistry Facility (ATMCF), Leanne’s role is strongly associated with the daily work of the Baell group. She has fifteen years of experience in the support and advancement of both commercial and academic research, with a PhD (Molecular Biology) and a Bachelor of Science (Biochemistry and Chemical Engineering Science) from Monash University.