OpenZika is a global research collaboration, led by Dr. Carolina Horta Andrade at the Universidade Federal de Goiás, Brazil.

Principal Investigators

Carolina Horta Andrade

Director, LabMol
Adjunct Professor
OpenZika Principal Investigator

Dr. Carolina Horta is Adjunct Professor at Faculty of Pharmacy of Universidade Federal de Goiás (UFG), Brazil, and head of LabMol – Laboratory for Molecular Modeling and Drug Design. Her lab focuses on Computer-Aided Drug Design approaches for Neglected Tropical Diseases and Cancer, as well as the development of computational tools to predict pharmacokinetics and toxicity properties of chemical compounds. In 2015, she received the “International Rising Talents” award from L’Oréal – UNESCO for her project on Leishmaniasis Drug Discovery. She is affiliated member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences (ABC) and vice-director of the Division of Medicinal Chemistry of the Brazilian Chemical Society (SBQ).

Melina Mottin

Research Associate, Universidade Federal de Goias

Dr. Melina Mottin is a Research Associate in the Prof. Andrade's laboratory and has been working on the OpenZika Project since 2016. She received her PhD in 2015 in Physical Chemistry at University of Campinas (UNICAMP). She is an expert in molecular dynamics simulations of biomolecules as well as in molecular docking. The main goal of her research is to find new molecules able to inhibit Zika and other flavivirus proteins and to investigate the interaction between molecules and proteins, through the integration of several computational strategies. She has good experience running on IBM's World Community Grid and analyzing the results and selecting compounds for testing. She was trained by Dr. Alexander L. Perryman, member of the GO Fight Against Malaria and FightAIDS@Home projects on World Community Grid.

Sean Ekins

CEO, Collaborations Pharmaceutical
OpenZika Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Sean Ekins is CEO of Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and has over 20 years of expertise using computational approaches for drug discovery. His main interests are to identify compounds for neglected and rare diseases with academic collaborators and to try and work as openly as possible.

Universidade Federal de Goiás

Universidade Federal de Goiás (UFG) in Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil is a public federal institution of higher education for teaching and research, associated with the Ministry of Education. In addition to teaching and research, the UFG also works to integrate with and provide services to the local community. Since 1960, the UFG has contributed to the education of and professional development of students in Goiás and in the world. The UFG offers more than 147 undergraduate programs and 69 graduate programs in many fields such as humanities, exact and earth sciences, engineering, biological, agricultural and health sciences.

Rodolpho Braga

Research Associate, Universidade Federal de Goias

Dr. Rodolpho Braga joined Prof. Andrade's laboratory in 2009. In 2015, he received his Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry at Universidade Federal de Goiás (UFG) and is currently a Research Associate. He develops chemoinformatics tools to support the computer-assisted drug design targeting Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and ADME/Tox properties prediction. He also designs novel chemoinformatic algorithms in R and Python. In 2012 and 2014 he was awarded with CINF Scholarship for Scientific Excellence of the American Chemical Society. In 2015, he was Visiting Professor at the University of Torino, Italy.

Roosevelt Alves da Silva

Professor, Universidade Federal de Goias

Dr. Roosevelt Silva is Adjunct Professor at Regional Jataí, Universidade Federal de Goiás (UFG), Brazil, and head of NCBios – Collaborative Center of Biosystems. His lab focuses on Protein Structure Prediction and Computer-Aided Drug Design approaches for Neglected Tropical Diseases. He develops algorithms for Monte Carlo sampling of protein structures and Molecular Docking. In 2014-2015, he was a Postdoctoral fellow at the Yang Zhang Lab, Dep. of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics, University of Michigan, USA.


Jair L. Siqueira-Neto

Assistant Professor, University of California San Diego (UCSD)

Dr. Siqueira-Neto is Director of the Screening Center at UCSD and Assistant Professor at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences – UCSD. He has experience in drug discovery and development for tropical neglected disease, having worked at the Institut Pasteur Korea and at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) prior to becoming faculty at UCSD. He was a pioneer in the development of the first phenotypic screening for Leishmania sp. and Trypanosoma cruzi. His research is focused on the development and implementation of high-throughput and high-content screening assays to identify active compounds against infectious agents. He is also interested in studying parasite-host interaction to understand the basics of disease and new targets for chemotherapy. His goal in this project will be to test the candidate compounds generated by this consortium for anti-viral activity.

Bruna Sousa

After receiving an undergraduate degree in biomedicine, Bruna joined Prof. Andrade's Laboratory in 2018. She is currently a master’s student in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Federal University of Goiás. She has experience in molecular biology and educational actions towards the dengue virus. Currently, she is working with modern cheminformatics and computer-aided drug discovery approaches mainly in the discovery of new drug candidates against the dengue and Zika viruses.

Previous Research Team Members

Alexander L. Perryman

Research Teaching Specialist III, Rutgers University
OpenZika Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Alexander Perryman is a senior researcher in the Freundlich lab, with extensive training in developing and applying computational methods in drug discovery and in the biochemical mechanisms of multi-drug-resistance in infectious diseases. He is a member of the Center for Emerging & Re-emerging Pathogens, in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Neuroscience, at the Rutgers University, New Jersey Medical School. Previously, he was a Research Associate in Prof. Arthur J. Olson's lab at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), where he ran the day-to-day operations of the FightAIDS@Home project, the largest computational drug discovery project devoted to HIV/AIDS, which runs on IBM's World Community Grid. While in the Olson lab, he also designed, led, and ran the largest computational drug discovery project ever performed against malaria, the GO Fight Against Malaria project, also on IBM's World Community Grid.

Joel S. Freundlich

Associate Professor, Rutgers University
Medicinal Chemistry Consultant

Dr. Joel Freundlich is an Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Physiology & Neuroscience and of Medicine at the Rutgers University–New Jersey Medical School. Prior to his return to academic research in 2006, he spent eight years in the pharmaceutical industry as a medicinal chemist. His undergraduate and master’s degree training were in chemical engineering at Cornell University as a McMullen Dean’s Scholar. He received his doctorate in organic chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under the tutelage of 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry awardee Richard Schrock.

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