Speakers and Featured Alumni

Christopher W. am Ende received his BS in Biochemistry from the University of Delaware, conducting undergraduate research with Professor Neal J. Zondlo designing lanthanide-binding peptides.  Chris then pursued his graduate studies at Stony Brook University working with Professor Peter J. Tonge where he developed long residence time inhibitors of InhA, the enoyl reductase in M. tuberculosis.  After completion of an M.S. in Chemistry, he began his career in the Neuroscience Medicinal Chemistry group at Pfizer in Groton, CT.  In this role, he contributed to several projects across the portfolio, helping to advance a γ-secretase modulator clinical candidate for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.  Concurrent with his work at Pfizer, Chris earned his Ph.D. at Stony Brook University under the direction of Kathlyn A. Parker, completing the first total synthesis of the natural product bisabosqual A.  Chris currently is the Chemical Biology and Exploratory Synthesis laboratory head in the Internal Medicine group at Pfizer.  He has published >40 journal articles, patents and book chapters, as well as presented at numerous external venues.  Chris also serves as a steering committee member of the New York Academy of Sciences Chemical Biology Discussion Group, is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Connecticut College and was named an American Chemical Society Young Investigator.


Christopher Cahill grew up on an apple orchard in nearby Fort Salonga, NY. His education includes a BS in Geochemistry from the State University of New York (SUNY)-Fredonia (1993) and a PhD in Chemistry from Stony Brook in 1999 with John Parise. He joined The George Washington University in 2000 after a one-year post-doc at the University of Notre Dame. He is an expert in solid-state and materials chemistry with a particular emphasis on X-ray crystallography.  Current research areas include exploring uranium and transuranic species under environmentally relevant conditions. He has published over 140 peer reviewed papers on the synthesis and structural characterization of materials and minerals. He is a recipient of the prestigious NSF CAREER Award (2004), a Bender Teaching Award (2005), a Fulbright Scholarship (2008) and the Trachtenberg Prize for Teaching (2013).  He is a past President of The American Crystallographic Association (2014-2016), a member of the Cosmos Club, and has held visiting researcher positions at the Carnegie Institution of Washington and Argonne National Laboratory. During 2015-2016, he served as the American Institute of Physics State Department Science Fellow at the US State Department’s Office of Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism on the Nuclear Forensics Team.


Deric X. Geng is a Counsel at WilmerHale focusing his practice on various patent prosecution and patent litigation areas, and more specifically on US and foreign patent prosecution, due diligence, prior art and patentability search, freedom to operate analysis, inter partes review and patent litigation. Dr. Geng has helped a variety of startup, mid-size and well-established clients in the chemical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and energy industries to obtain patent protection in the US and foreign countries. Dr. Geng’s practice focus also includes Hatch-Waxman and other patent litigations for leading pharmaceutical companies. Prior to joining WilmerHale firm, Dr. Geng was a Research Investigator at the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His primary research involved discovering drug-like molecules that modulated protein targets and pathways implicated in diabetes and metabolic diseases. From 2002 to 2004, Dr. Geng was a US Army Breast Cancer Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. Samuel Danishefsky’s laboratory at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, where he accomplished the total synthesis of anticancer agent aigialomycin D and worked as a part of a team to design and accomplish the total synthesis of fully synthetic gp120 glycopeptides as anti-HIV vaccine agents. Dr. Geng obtained his PhD degree from State University of New York at Stony Brook in 2002, where he designed and synthesized taxoid and taxane-free anticancer agents in Professor Iwao Ojima’s laboratories.


Amy Grant received her B.S. degrees in Chemistry and Biochemistry from Stony Brook University in 1990. She attended graduate school at the University of California, Irvine, where she specialized in the synthesis and investigation of peptide beta-strand mimics and anti-Alzheimer’s therapeutics. Dr. Grant received a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Fellowship which enabled her to co-found a Chemistry Outreach Program that reached more than 6,000 high school students while she was in graduate school, and is still active over 20 years later. She received her Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1997. In 1999, Dr. Grant was hired as a Professor of Chemistry at El Camino College in Torrance, California. Over the course of sixteen years in that capacity, she used campus grants to create a Virtual O-Chem Lab website, a student tutorial for drawing organic molecules, a handbook for new chemistry faculty, and an overhaul of the laboratory safety program for students. Dr. Grant was promoted to Dean of Natural Sciences at El Camino College in 2015 and is now responsible for evaluating and managing over one hundred full- and part-time faculty, technicians, and administrative staff. Her responsibilities also include hiring employees, managing the Division budget, and overseeing the campus’s science programs which serve 5,000 students per semester. Dr. Grant facilitates El Camino College’s annual Ellison Onizuka Space Science Day, a public outreach event for a thousand high school students that features a NASA Astronaut speaker and dozens of science workshops. She lives a half-mile from the beach with her husband, two kids in middle school, and a Siamese cat named Cary Grant. Dr. Grant is in her sixth year as a Girl Scout Troop Leader.


Steve Heller graduated from Stony Brook University with BS degree in Chemistry in 1963 and his PhD in Chemistry from Georgetown University in 1967.   He is the founder/creator/originator of the NIH/EPA/NIST Mass Spec database, the NIH/EPA CIS (Chemical Information System), the SciWords series of scientific spell checkers, the International Plant & Animal Genome conferences, and the IUPAC InChI project.  His awards and honors include the EPA Gold Medal for the design and implementation of the Chemical Information System (CIS) in 1976; co-recipient of the ACS/CINF Division Skolnik Award in 2000; a member of the InChI team that was given the CSA Trust Mike Lynch Award in 2014; the recipient of the ACS Patterson-Crane Award for work on the development of the IUPAC International Chemical Identifier (InChI) in 2015; and an IUPAC Fellow (2016).  He is Advisory Board member of the NIH PubChem project from 2004.   From 2000 – 2006, he was a consultant to and a contributing editor of specialized databases for Chemindustry.com.  From 2000 – 2002, he was a strategic planner for MDL Information Systems.  He was a member of the editorial board of the all electronic journal: the Internet Journal of Chemistry from 1997-2004 and Software Review Editor for the Journal of Chemical Information and Computer Sciences (JCICS); now the Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling (JCIM), from 1987 – 2015. He was a member of the J. Cheminformatics Editorial Board from 2015 – date. He has published over 160 papers in peer reviewed journals.


Stephanie E. Sen (PhD, 1989) received a B.A. in Chemistry from Bryn Mawr College and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Stony Brook University with Glenn D. Preswitch.  She worked as a NIH postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Research Institute with Don Hilvert and then at Stanford University under William S. Johnson.  After serving as Professor of the Chemistry and Biology departments at Indiana U. Purdue U. Indianapolis, Dr. Sen moved to The College of New Jersey, where she is Professor of Chemsitry.  Dr. Sen’s research interests are in plant and insect metabolism and the development of agriculturally-relevant synthetic agents.  Dr. Sen’s work has been funded through the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and she was recipient of the Herman Frasch Foundation Award for Agricultural Research.  Current efforts have focused on undergraduate education and training of young researchers.  Dr. Sen has served as councilor of the Council of Undergraduate Research and is currently Director of the Honors Program at the College of New Jersey.