(Above) Former Group members join Professor Block at the National ACS Meeting in San Francisco, March 2010: from left, Dr. Shuhai Zhao, Dr. Sherida Johnson, Professor Block, Dr. Sriram Naganathan.



Eric Block


This page features group photos as well as news and contact information on former Block Group Members both at the University of Missouri-–St. Louis and at UAlbany, including undergraduate researchers, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting scholars. All former Group Members are invited to submit short statements as well as digital images, and to update this material when appropriate.

University of Missouri–St. Louis

Harry W. Orf (NSF undergraduate research participant), B.S. 1971, Ph.D 1976,. Harvard (E.J. Corey), horf@partners.org

I have had a 35-year career in science and administration, including scientific research, research administration, teaching and education outreach, and biotechnology start-ups.  In the last 25 years, my primary effort has focused on research administration, with significant contributions in education outreach, and service to various scientific organizations dedicated to the promotion of science and education. After receiving my BS in Chemistry summa cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and my PhD in Chemistry from Harvard, I conducted research in organic and bio-organic chemistry and served as Dean of Mather House at Harvard College. I became the inaugural Director of Biochemical Laboratories at Harvard University, overseeing the construction and staffing of the Fairchild Biochemical Laboratories while serving as Lecturer in Chemistry and Biochemistry in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. In 1983, I moved to Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to become its first Director of Molecular Biology Laboratories. I spent a year in Iraq on active duty as a Colonel in the Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Shortly after returning home, I was named Vice President for Scientific Operations and Professor of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute, where I directed the construction of its new 350,000 SF Florida campus, and built and directed the entire science support operation.  In February, 2012, I left Scripps Florida to become Senior Vice President for Research at Massachusetts General Hospital.


Paul F. Sherwin (NSF undergraduate research participant), B.A. 1976, Ph.D. 1982, Univer­sity of Illinois (R. Coates), M.D. 1985, University of Miami, Paul@PaulSherwin.com, http://www.paulsherwin.com/Contact.html

My current position is Senior Medical Director at GE Healthcare in Princeton, NJ. I oversee clinical trials of new diagnostic PET imaging agents. I have to frequently call on both my medical and chemical backgrounds in my work.  I'm living in Yardley, PA with my wife Mindy (born in Brooklyn, raised in Queens) and daughter Samantha. Daughter Jennifer is at college and son Andrew just graduate from college. Reading your article [E. Block, “Fifty years of smelling sulfur,” Journal of Sulfur Chemistry, 2012] brought back a lot of memories, including my mother once not letting me have dinner with the family until I showered, because I smelled so bad from working in the lab! I don't recall what we were making that day, but the sulfur smell permeated my clothing. 



Larry K. Revelle, Ph.D. 1980, larry.revelle@fda.hhs.gov

I am in my 24th successful year at the FDA Division of Pharmaceutical Analysis in St. Louis, Missouri. I am doing analytical chemistry mostly now.


University at Albany

Saleem Ahmad, Ph.D.,1986, saleem.ahmad@bms.com

After completing my Ph. D. at the University at Albany, I joined Professor Vedej’s group in 1986 at the University of Wisconsin in Madison as a postdoctoral fellow. I have been working at Bristol-Myers Squibb pharmaceutical company since 1989 as a medicinal chemist. I have worked on a number of therapeutic targets over the past 24 years in the fields of virology, arrhythmia and ischemia, statins, obesity and diabetes. I am currently living in Wall Township New Jersey with my wife Barbara and our 17 years old son Samuel.





Venkatachalam Eswarakrishnan (Eswar), Postdoctoral Fellow, 1982­–1986 veswarakrishnan@ppg.com

I have been with PPG Industries, in Pittsburgh, PA. PPG for 25 years. I am a Senior Research Associate in the coatings division and chose to stay in the Technical ladder. My work involves polymer synthesis related to automotive and industrial products. I have several commercial products and more than 25 US Patents. Seetha (Ph.D. with John Welch) is also working for PPG (23 years) in the Chemicals division. My son Shekar is now in his second year of Medical School.






Mohammad Aslam, Postdoctoral Fellow, 1982-1986, aslam53000@yahoo.com

maslamI completed my Ph.D. at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada under the direction of Professor James F. King in 1982. Immediately after completing the Ph.D., I joined Professor Eric Block’s Research Group in Albany as a Post-doctoral fellow, remaining there until 1986. My first industrial position was with Celanese Corporation of America as a Research Chemist in Corpus Christi, Texas. In 1987 Hoechst acquired Celanese and the company became Hoechst Celanese. At Hoechst Celanese, I developed chemical processes to make pharmaceutical fine chemicals, pharmaceutical intermediates as well as polymer intermediates in various capacities including Group Leader and Program Manager. In 1997 Hoechst closed the R&D Center in Corpus Christi and I was transferred to Frankfurt, Germany. In Frankfurt I lead a group of chemists and chemical engineers responsible for improving the manufacturing processes of commercial agricultural chemicals including herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. In 1998, I returned to Morristown, New Jersey and took a position with Allied Signal (now Honeywell) as a Technology Leader for the pharmaceutical fine chemicals group. This was a short tenure since I was offered a position as a Vice President of R&D for the Specialty Chemicals Group at Lonza, USA in Annandale, New Jersey. At Lonza the R&D team developed biocides, water treatment and wood preservation chemicals for household and industrial applications. During my tenure at these companies I received 33 U.S. Patents as an inventor or a co-inventor. I stayed at Lonza until 2003 when I relocated to Corpus Christi with my family. After returning to Corpus Christi, I took a position in pharmaceutical sales, which was transferred to Houston, Texas in 2005. I left the sales position in 2008 and helped my wife (Ambreen) in setting up her medical practice (Pediatrician) which I am now managing. We are blessed with three beautiful daughters Asra, Hira (twins 16 years) and Sidra (13 years). Asra and Hira are in 11th grade and Sidra is in 8th grade (2013).


Kaluo Tang, Visiting Scholar from Peking University (joint with Professor Jon Zubieta), 1984–1986 and 1989, jt1939@pku.edu.cn

I retired from my position as Professor of Chemistry at Peking University in 2002. Since I retired, I did not do more chemistry research, except I check and approve some papers for chemistry journals. I enjoy my retired life, going to Summer Palace to do morning exercise, playing piano, taking photos and so on. Both I and my husband (Xianglin Jin, who was also Professor of Chemistry, Peking University, is also retired; he was a visiting scholar in the Physics Department, SUNY Albany, in 1985-1986) have good health. Our daughter Crystal Jin is in California USA, works in HP company. She has a son, he is 9 years old. I and my husband have been to California three times to take care of our grandson. I attach two photos. The one on the left was taken in Shanghai, where I my husband and I were in Pudong, while the one on the right was taken in Taiwan, where we visited last year.

Chantu R. Saha-Möller, Postdoctoral Fellow, 1986–1987, sahamoel@chemie.uni-wuerzburg.de

I was born in 1955 in Bangladesh and received my university education in Chemistry in Germany (Dr. rer. nat. degree in 1986, University of Hamburg, with Wolfgang Walter). Since leaving Albany in 1987, I have been a senior research associate with a permanent position at the Institute of Organic Chemistry, University of Würzburg, Germany (until September 2002 with Waldemar Adam and since October 2002 with Frank Würthner).



Akinobo Sano, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 1987, akinobu@kki.biglobe.ne.jp or akisano@minebea.co.jp

SanoAfter I received my PhD in Chemistry under the supervision of Professor Yencha at UAlbany in December 1986, I immediately started working for Professor Block as a postdoctoral fellow. The research was on Penning ionization electron spectroscopy of sulfur compounds using my hand-built vacuum chamber and electronics. The experiences which I got as a PhD student and postdoctoral fellow were a great help in the following job career after I returned to Japan in 1987. Minebea Co. Ltd. (http://www.minebea.co.jp/english/index.html), a world-wide company which I work for now, specializes in precision mechanical components ranging from miniature ball bearings, down to several millimeters in diameter, backlights for mobile devices, and to special rod-end bearings used in Airbus and Boeing jumbo jets. All those products have top shares in the world-wide market. Since I joined the company in April, 1987, I have had the opportunity over a period of more than 25 years, to manage R&D activities, both in Japan and in the U.S., involving engineering and quality control in developing and manufacturing such products as magnetic recording heads for floppy and hard disk drives, and optical drives and backlights for mobile devices. During the period, I also had the chance to teach senior students in the Mechanical Engineering Department in Yamanashi University in Japan from 1998 to 2005 as a part-time instructor. I’m now responsible for managing the entire corporate R&D activities, budgeting more than 55M USD, in research labs in the U.S., Germany as well as in Japan as a deputy general manager of the Minebea R&D Department in Tokyo. I have a wife, two sons and a dog. My wife teaches piano and voice, my eldest son works in a movie production company dreaming of becoming a movie director, and the younger son is in a college learning international relations. My hobby now is playing saxophone dreaming of becoming a jazz musician after I retire from my current job.

Serge Grisoni, Postdoctoral Fellow, 1987–1988, serge.grisoni@pierre-fabre.com

I am Head of Prospective Chemistry Concerning at Pierre Fabre in Toulouse, France. I'm involved in the hit-to-lead phase in coordination with the therapeutic areas. We are dealing with classical analoging but also with new technology as structural biology, chemical biology, fragment based approach, chemo-informatics to provide hits or/and leads for the therapeutic areas. I have also an important activity in locating and establishing external collaborations around the world, especially in chemistry. Another activity of the department is the repositioning of old compounds.  

Adrian Schwan, Postdoctoral Fellow, 1987–1989, schwan@uoguelph.ca

After completing a PhD in the lab of John Warkentin at McMaster University (Hamilton, Canada), I came to Albany in Dec. 1987. I worked principally on the chemistry of cyclopropanethione and its S-oxides from Dec. 1987 to June 1989, and was partially funded through a Postdoctoral Fellowship from NSERC of Canada. On completion of my postdoctoral studies, I joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada) in July 1989 as an Assistant Professor. I was promoted to Associate Professor and eventually to Professor in 2001. Since that time I have served as the Director of the Guelph-Waterloo Centre for Graduate Work in Chemistry and Biochemistry (2003-2006), as Chair of the Department of Chemistry (2007-2012) and as (inaugural) Editor of the Journal of Sulfur Chemistry (2004-2010). My research interests are primarily in the area of synthetic organosulfur chemistry, with other studies pertaining to the synthesis of surface active lipids & surfactants and heterocyclic chemistry. I live in Guelph with my wife Cindy and we have two sons, David and Gregory.

Rajeshwari (Raji) Iyer, Ph.D. 1988, riyer@yorku.ca

After postdoctoral  stints  in Chemistry  at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston and at the University of Toronto,  I worked for a few years as a synthetic chemist doing process research in the development of drugs and drug intermediates in the pharmaceutical industry in Toronto. My work in  industry helped provide a practical focus to my teaching. Over the past 17 years I have taught chemistry and science related courses at post-secondary institutions both in the US and Canada in Organic Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Discovery,Toxicology,  Inorganic, Analytical and Biochemistry, as well as a variety of science courses on Drug Addictions, Forensic Science and Living in the Environment. I am currently a contract  faculty member in  Chemistry at York University and Ryerson University in Toronto. My professional  interests include curriculum development in chemistry and  science education. I am the mother of a special needs-autistic young man.  My personal interests include music, chess, writing poetry and special education. My poems can be viewed at the following link: http://www.zine5.com/v3/?page_id=22. I live in Brampton, Ontario, Canada with my husband Sriram Subrahmanyan and son Nikhil. The photograph was taken by Prof. Block in October 2012 when he and I spoke back to back at the 2012 Toronto Garlic Festival.


Michael D. Gernon, Ph.D. 1989, mikegernon@Verizon.net

My current Position is as a Senior Research Scientist with Taminco (The AMINes COmpany) in Gent, Belgium. My permanent USA address is in Phoenixville, PA. I have been located in Belgium for several years now.  From 1993 to 2007, I worked with Arkema in King of Prussia, PA. In 2007, Taminco purchased Arkema’s amines business, and I was moved from Arkema to Taminco, fortunately being allowed to keep my seniority. My work involves process, applications and new product development related to the company's products (i.e., amines). Recent endeavors have included collaborative work with regulatory agencies on the establishment of new VOC (volatile organic compound) emission regulations, development of nitrosamine analyses and nitrosamine control strategies, study of the biocidal and biostatic properties of N-alkylalkanolamines, study of the impact of N-alkylalkanolamines on the viability of mycobacteria, study of the impact of N-alkylalkanol­amines on the stability of emulsions, and the development of new products. I have managed to get some scientific/trade papers published and have been a primary inventor for 20 international patent cases (11 issued). I have also stayed active presenting commercially related work at metalworking, coatings and industrial microbiology conferences. Miracu­lously, I have been able to stay continuously employed since graduating from your group in 1989. My daughter Michelle is currently studying linguistics at the University of Arizona in Tucson and my son Sean is finishing his senior year in high school in La Jolla, CA.


Shuhai Zhao, Postdoctoral Fellow, 1989–1990, shzhao@yahoo.com

The family photo, taken during a family vacation in Tsingtao, China, shows my wife Stephanie Liwen Xu, my daughter Emily and my son Bryan. I first worked at Hoechst-Celanese as a process chemist for 3 years, then I joined the medicinal chemistry department of Roche in Palo Alto California. I worked there until Roche closed down the Palo Alto research center and transferred me to Roche in Nutley, New Jersey. I then spent some time at Roche China in Shanghai. After working for Roche for over 15 years, I finally decided to leave the big pharma and currently I am working with Pharmablock, a chemistry service company. Pharmablock's main site is in Nanjing China. It also has a branch in Sunnyvale, California. I have fond memories of so many enjoyable moments working in Dr. Block's lab despite sometimes the smell in the hair that won't go away even after a shower. I still remember vividly when we first made zwiebelanes, cepaenes, and eka-cepaenes in the lab. It's one of the most enjoyable times I had in my life. For that, I am grateful.


Sriram Naganathan, Ph.D. 1992, snaganat@exelixis.com, sriramrevathi@yahoo.com







As many things change, many things remain constant. One such constant is the frequent reminder that “You can take the boy out of sulfur chemistry but you cannot take sulfur chemistry out of the boy”. At every stage of my professional career organic chemistry of sulfur and sulfur-containing compounds have followed me (or is it the other way around?). Not many can point to the cover of an Angewandte Chemie issue as a synopsis of his/her thesis work – I will be forever grateful for that opportunity received in the Block Group.  As a post-doc in the late Prof. Paul Dowd’s lab at the University of Pittsburgh we used sulfur-containing analogs of vitamin K to probe the mechanism of action. I was then hired at Pfizer Central Research in Groton, CT in the Specialty Chemicals Division to investigate possible decomposition pathways of sulfur-containing high-intensity artificial sweeteners. At Roche Bioscience (Palo Alto, CA) and Exelixis (South San Francisco, CA – my current job) I was involved in process development for the preparation of therapeutic agents, several of them sulfur-containing molecules. Between those two positions I was a Senior Scientist at CellGate (Sunnyvale, CA). We attempted to exploit the chemistry of sulfur-containing linkers to target the delivery active pharmaceutical agents, using the transport properties of polyarginines. Although I thought I was only training to become a synthetic organic chemist, I did not realize that my passion was really organic reaction mechanisms until I arrived in the Block lab – the two arms of the science are truly inseparable. I realize after many years that the seed was really sown and nurtured during the many friendly and sometimes-fiery discussions in the lab, and further solidified in my post-doc years. I learned that every “blip-in-the-baseline” cannot to be ignored, and is part of the whole story. As a process chemist in the pharma industry, I can attribute much of my success to lessons about careful and critical evaluation of primary data and thorough knowledge of reaction mechanisms. I am currently Director, Chemical Development, at Exelixis. My primary responsibility involves the manufacture and potential commercialization of our primary product, cabozantinib. It was only natural that I developed a strong interest in the science of cooking and food. I have been pursuing this avenue since moving to Northern California. I am also an avid gardener, experimenting with growing interesting varieties of chilies, tomatoes and then combining those with all sorts of alliums. It does help that I live close enough to Gilroy, CA, that I can often smell what they are famous for as I walk out of the front door!! I have shared my knowledge in several lectures at the Tech Museum (San Jose, CA) where I was a volunteer exhibit explainer.

My family (my wife Revathi and our two high-school-age daughters Swetha and Sandhya) like to travel and also enjoy the outdoor recreation so abundant in Northern California. We try to take in a new country each year and accomplish personal challenges. After many interesting years in the tech-industry, Revathi is a full-time mom. She is also a fitness instructor at the Y. Swetha and Sandhya are part of the water polo and swim teams at their school. Swetha is very active in a leadership role for the robotics team, and Sandhya belongs to the quiz team. Revathi and I climbed Half Dome (Yosemite) a few years ago and I just completed a 100-mile bicycle ride around Lake Tahoe. I remain a highly-opinionated baseball and college basketball fan (favorite teams: in order, Kansas, North Carolina and whoever happens to be playing Missouri and Duke). I am still an avid photographer, although I spend no money on film (I thought I was going to be the last guy on the planet still shooting film!!). I greatly value the many friendships developed during my stay in Albany and keep in touch with many. In fact, one of my roommates from the SUNY days was instrumental in me getting my present position. Of course, this also means that I have lost touch with several friends during the past decades. If you are reading this and haven’t contacted me in a few years, please do, via e-mail. We enjoy entertaining guests who drop by – so now you have no excuse not to contact us, especially when you visit the SF Bay Area.


Mohan Thiruvazhi, Ph.D. 1993, mthiruvazhi@gmail.com

Mohan Thiruvazhi






Since my graduation in 1993 from Professor Block’s group, I have traversed a diverse professional path starting with postdoc stints at the University of Pittsburgh and Research Triangle Institute (RTI), to chemistry in diagnostics, to heading a chemistry research department and managing global chemistry collaborations, to heading business development for a CRO in India. In Professor Block’s group, I was exposed to very exciting and rewarding chemistry research leading to more discoveries than I could handle. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing much of my Ph.D. days with all the other group members, and to date cherish those moments. The famous ‘What’s New?’ or its variant ‘Anything New?’ asked by Dr. Block daily or even multiple times in a day still rings in my ears. Since January 2001, I have lived in beautiful San Diego with my wife Sujitha and kids Meghna (15 years) and Naveen (14 years)[as of January 2013]. Interestingly, my stay in San Diego has been the longest in a city thus far! As part of my business development responsibilities, I travel to the East Coast quite, often visiting Boston, NY and NJ cities, Philadelphia, and the Research Triangle Park area of NC. I enjoy reading non-fiction books, am deeply interested in philosophy, love playing volleyball, and ardently follow cricket. I would love to be reconnected with Prof. Block’s past and present students. I can be reached at mthiruvazhi@gmail.com


Chuangxing (Alex) Guo, M.S. 1994, alexguo01@gmail.com

Alex GuoIn Block's group, I was one of the luckier (or unlucky) students who had the opportunity to work with sulfur-containing compounds that are not stinky--1,2-dithiin-containing natural products (Thiarubrines B) smells nice and sweet! After two fun years in Albany, I followed my wife Jennifer (in photograph, with daughters Stephanie [16], and Erica [14], and son Brian [5]) to attend Purdue. There as a PhD student, I completed total syntheses of several marine steroidal natural products under the guidance of Professor P. L. Fuchs. In 1998, I joined the medicinal chemistry department of Agouron Pharmaceutals, which eventually became a division of Pfizer Global Research and Development through a couple of mergers. As a lead chemist or project leader, I contributed to discovery of five pre-clinical candidate compounds.  In early 2012, I left Pfizer to become an entrepreneur in biotech. So far, I have authored or coauthored 36 publications (including papers and presentations)  and a number of patents. How can I forget my fond experience in Albany?


Russell J. DeOrazio, M.S. 1996, russell.deorazio@amriglobal.com

I am currently a Senior Research Scientist at AMRI where I have been employed since 1995. I have worked in the Chemical Development, Medicinal Chemistry and Discovery Research and Development (DR&D) departments. I have worked on numerous hit-to-lead and lead optimization projects for both large pharma and small biotech customers as well as for AMRI’s internal drug discovery efforts. I am a co-author of 16 scientific publications and a co-inventor of 7 patents/patent applications.


Niannian You Modisette, M.S. 1997, niannian08@gmail.com

Macintosh HD:Users:eb801:Desktop:Block-You-DRM.jpg






After receiving my MS in organic chemistry from UAlbany, I married David Modisette and settled in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We have a 10-year-old daughter. Since I knew about the moving of work from the US to other countries by many pharmaceutical companies, I decided that a better career path would be in computer science. So I began pursuing an MS in Computer Science from the University of New Mexico and received my MS in 2005. I have been working in computer programming for nearly 13 years now but still miss chemistry. I believe the research, analytical and critical thinking skills, the dedicated hours of intense effort, and value of honest, solid work learned under the direction of Dr. Block has assisted me greatly through my professional career. I am currently producing software and managing various aspects of multiple software projects for several airlines, both domestic and foreign. I work for a privately held company, Ultramain, as an system architect. Working with Boeing, we develop efb TechLogsTM software for Boeing EFB (electronic flight bag) on 777 and the newest Boeing dreamliner, 787. We also develop efb TechLogsTM  as an Apple iPad app used in Boeing 737-800. I want to thank Dr. Block for all he taught me that helped me build a satisfying and successful life.


Paulo Pérez-Lourido, Visiting Scholar, summer 1997, paulo@uvigo.es

I defended my Ph.D. in May, 1998 at the University of Santiago de Compostela, and in October of that same year joined the Inorganic Chemistry Department of the University of Vigo in Vigo, Spain. Since 2003 I am Assistant Professor. About my research, I left for a while S and P chemistry, and am associated with a small research group in Vigo which includes my wife, and co-faculty member, Laura Valencia working on macrocyclic chemistry. In particular we work on lanthanide complexes with macrocyclic ligands, that may have applications in MRI.



Marc Birringer, Postdoctoral Fellow 1997–1998, Marc.Birringer@he.hs-fulda.de

Marc BirringerI am now a professor in the field of nutritional biochemistry at Hochschule Fulda (Fulda University of Applied Sciences, Fulda, Germany). I never completely left the field of sulfur and selenium chemistry and we are working on asparagusic acid right now. I have a cooperation with Prof. Weigand from Jena on this topic. I include a current picture with my wife Claudia and an additional family member, Sophia who is 10.



Deyou Sha, M.S. 1998, deyousha@hotmail.com

Deyou ShaAfter two years (1998-2000) in 3-Dimensional Pharmaceuticals Inc. (JNJ now) and five years (2000-2005) in Purdue Pharma, I worked for GSK for four years (2005-2008). Currently, I work for Merck as a medicinal chemist since December 2008.  My lovely family includes my wife, Cuiling, and my two daughters, Jenny and Mary. The picture was taken on a cruise in Cozumel, Mexico in 2011.



Yimin Lu, M.S. 1999, yiminlu2002@yahoo.com

After graduating from SUNY-Albany, I worked at DuPont Pharmaceuticals Comany and Bristol-Myers Squibb as a drug discovery chemist. Later, I moved to Pittsburgh and work for a startup company, Fluorous Technology Inc. During that period, I obtained my MBA degree from Carnegie Mellon University. Currently, I work at Thermo Fisher Scientific as a Business Analyst. I live in the Pittsburgh area with my wife Jiping and two lovely children, Steven and Sophie, pictured with me when we visited my college, Peking University, in China in 2011.


Tsukasa Nakahodo, Postdoctoral Fellow 1999–2000, nakahodo@apch.kindai.ac.jp

I received my Ph.D. degree from the University of Tsukuba, Japan before joining the Block Group in 1999 for one year. Currently I work as a lecturer for the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Kinki University in Osaka, Japan. My current research theme is “nano-materials” including polymer nanotubes and metal particles. I pose with my wife and two children on the occasion of my son’s “100th days celebration”.





Srividya Revuru, Visiting Research Scientist, 2003-2006, sr@hrfmlaw.com

After working as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Scientist for many years and a brief hiatus in my career, I decided to change the course of my career a little and go into patent law. I currently work as a Technical Specialist at Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C. (Albany, NY; www.hrfmlaw.com) where I assist in the preparation and prosecution of patent application. I am also a registered patent agent.




Sherida Johnson, Ph.D. 2005, sherida.johnson@oist.jp

I received my B.Sc. in chemistry at the University of South Carolina where I had the pleasure to work in Professor Richard Adams' laboratory performing synthesis of sulfur organometal­lic molecules, leading to my first publication. This inevitably sparked my interest to further my studies in sulfur chemistry in the Block Group. Over the past eight years, I have been working as a medicinal chemist in the drug discovery area and am currently a researcher at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST). My research projects at OIST entails synthetic/medicinal chemistry, the development of concise and environmentally benign synthetic methods and the synthesis of bioactive and bio-functional molecules for therapeutic protein targets within cancer and infectious diseases. I am a wife and a proud mother of a son and two daughters. Besides my passion for science, my personal interests includes running, snorkeling, dancing, traveling and more recently learning to speak/write Japanese. I currently reside in Okinawa, Japan.

Chao Jin, Ph.D. 2006, chaoj2003@hotmail.com

I am employed as a chemist at the Roskamp Institute in Sarasota, Florida, whose aim is to find cures for Alzheimer's disease and other brain diseases. I am making small molecules for biological screening.






Jin Jin, Ph.D. 2006, J-Jin@wiu.edu, http://www.wiu.edu/cas/chemistry/faculty/jinjin.php
Shaozhong Zhang, Postdoctoral Fellow, 2000–2007, S-Zhang@wiu.edu

Jin is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry while Shaozhong is an Instructor of Chemistry, both at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. We have two children, Nellie (8) and Hannah (2).









Siji Thomas, Postdoctoral Fellow, 2009–2011, cgt_76@rediffmail.com

 I am currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS) in Albany, NY, working with Professor Martha Hass. My current work deals with the synthesis and studies of a series of co-drugs for enhanced photo-protection of skin.







Abith Ramadevan Vattekkatte, M.S. 2010, avattekkatte@ice.mpg.de

I am currently doing my PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany. My current work is "Study of Terpenoid Biosynthesis in Plants". It is going well and I am currently working on terpene synthase enzymes.







Kai Wang, Ph.D. 2011, Kai.Wang@quintiles.com

After completing my Ph.D. study at UAlbany, I pursued postdoctoral training at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Center in Molecular Toxicology, in Nashville. Tennessee, working in the group of Professor F. Peter Guengerich. There I was interested in understanding the enzymes involved in drug metabolism and toxicity. In 2013, I joined Quintiles, in Indianapolis, as a DMPK scientist to help biologists and medicinal chemists on drug optimization.





Sonia Flores-Penalba, Postdoctoral Fellow, 2012–2013, soniaflope@hotmail.com

I completed my Ph.D. on Organofluorine chemistry in the laboratory of Professor Santos Fustero-Lardiés at the University of Valencia, Spain. After receiving my Ph. D. I went to the University at Albany as a postdoctoral fellow to work on the syntheses and biological studies of pyrazinamide analogs as antituberculous agents with Professor John Welch. I joined Professor Eric Block´s research group in January 2012, when I started my investigations on sulfur-containing compounds, garlic derivatives and chemistry of smell.

I am currently a Research Scientist at the Advanced Technologies Laboratories of Henkel AG & Co in Barcelona, where I have been working since April 2013. My current research deals with polymer chemistry in the area of Adhesive Technologies.


Rama Yaghi, M.S. 2013, ryaghi@albany.edu

I was one of Dr. Block’s undergraduate students who was fortunate enough to work for him as a graduate research assistant after completing my B.S. I worked on different projects involving sulfur and fluorine chemistry in his lab. I am currently an Instructional Support Associate in the UAlbany Chemistry Department. This position involves maintenance and troubleshooting scientific equipment and overseeing the daily operation and preparation of several undergraduate laboratories.


Group Photos from the Archives

October 1983

October 83
L to R, Mohammad Aslam, Venkatachalam Eswarakrishnan, Raji Iyer, Saleem Ahmad, Alan (Greg) Wall



L to R, Kaluo Tang, Raji Iyer, Venkatachalam Eswarakrishnan, Saleem Ahmad, Mohammad Aslam.

L to R, , Eric Block, Mohammad Aslam


May 1987

May 1987
L to R, Jian-zhi Luo, Chantu Saha, Raji Iyer, Michael Gernon


May 1998

May 1998
L to R, Hak Rim Jeon, Mark Birringer (standing), Xiaojie Li, Zhixing Shan, Yimin Lu, Chunhong He, Xing Zhang.


December 1993

December 1993
L to R, Dr. Block; Upper Row: Mohan Thiruvazhi, Matthew Littlejohn, Dongyi Wang, Russell DeOrazio; Lower Row: Jennifer Guo, Alex Guo, Wei Xiao.


December 1999

December 1999
L to R, Frank Tries, Sherida Johnson, Xiaojie Li, Zhixing Shan, Jin Chao, Tsukasa Nakahodo, Hak Rim Jeon


August 2010

August 2010
L to R, Stephene Harriott-Lodge, Siji Thomas, Rama Yaghi, Prof. Block, Kai Wang and Abith Vattekkatte.



August 2010
L to R, Bérénice Dethier, Sonia Flores-Penalba


July 2014

July 2014
Celebrating Prof. Block's Election as Fellow of the American Chemical Society. L to R, Abith Vattekkatte (former graduate student), Prof. Block, Rama Yaghi (former graduate student), Bérénice Dethier, Sivaji Gundala