I am an assistant attending chemist in Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's Department of Radiology. After receiving my PhD degree in organic chemistry, I was fortunate enough to begin my career at the Sloan-Kettering Institute — as a post-doctoral fellow within the Organic Synthesis Core facility. There I had the privilege of working with other researchers, in a multidisciplinary setting, toward the common goal of helping to improve outcomes for cancer patients. It was there that I also had the opportunity to further hone my expertise in organic synthesis by working on the construction of a variety of molecular targets, from small-molecule inhibitors to cancer vaccines.
Since I joined the Department of Radiology, my interests have evolved to include the design and synthesis of novel radiotracers that can be used as PET imaging agents. To this end, my research is focused on the development of inhibitors of tyrosine kinases (enzymes that are over-expressed in various types of cancer). More specifically, these small molecules are ATP-competitive inhibitors, which are based on the amino quinazoline and pyridoprimidine structural cores and which are modeled on FDA-approved chemotherapeutics such as imatinib, erlotinib, and gefitinib. It is hoped that with the use of these tracers we will be able to better model the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetcs of our current drugs and assist in the development of new drugs with higher specificity for tumors.