Lab Members


Susruta Majumdar, PhD

Susruta Majumdar, PhD
Principal Investigator

  • B.Sc (Hons) in Chemistry-Delhi University, Delhi, India
  • M.Sc in Chemistry-Delhi University, Delhi, India
  • M.Phil in Organic Chemistry--Delhi University, Delhi, India
  • Supervisor: Prof. Jitender Mohan Khurana
  • Ph.D.in Medicinal Chemistry-University of Florida School of Pharmacy
  • Supervisor: Prof. Kenneth B. Sloan
  • Post-Doc in Neuropharmacology- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Supervisor: Prof. Gavril W. Pasternak
Susruta Majumdar was born in Calcutta, India and raised all over north India from Rishikesh to Gurgaon to Delhi. After brief stint in BYU, UT he landed in the Sloan laboratory at the University of Florida and worked on synthesis of prodrugs as a mechanism to enhance topical delivery of drugs for his doctoral dissertation. Continuing on his interests in Chemical Biology he next worked under the astute mentorship of Gavril W Pasternak at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He synthesized IBNtxA, which labeled splice variants of mu opioid receptor as novel analgesic targets (PNAS 2011).

As an Assistant Attending Chemist at the same institution, he designed MP1104, a ligand later used to crystalize kappa opioid receptor in its active conformation (Cell 2018). The structure is aiding efforts as well as others in academia and industry to design non-addictive opioids. Finally he used natural products chemistry to evaluate, mitragynine pseudoindoxyl as analgesic templates with attenuated dependence and abuse potential (JMedChem 2016, Nature 2018) seen with opioids.

At St Louis he heads a multidisciplinary, multicultural and diverse group interested in the Chemical Biology of opioid receptors. We probe the structural basis of receptor function (agonism/antagonism) and signaling (arrestin biased, G-protein biased, balanced agonism and/or allosterism) integrating chemical synthesis, computation based design, pharmacology, and structural biology based approaches to design next generation of opioids. His group is highly collaborative and works with scientists across the country.

He has close to 50 publications in peer-reviewed journals and holds several patents. He is the co-founder of Sparian biosciences. He has trained several undergraduate students and two post-doctoral fellows until date.

In his spare time, he likes to spend time with his wife, Antara and their two kids-Raahil and Aabir and gardening and fusing cuisines from various parts of the world-sometimes the food he cooks is edible. He has travelled extensively through the Caribbean islands and hopes to more of Eastern European nations.


Postdoctoral Fellows


Dr. Abdelfattah Faouzi

Dr. Abdelfattah Faouzi

Abdelfattah was born in Lyon, France. Initially trained as a Biochemist, he got a Master’s degree in Drug Sciences from the University Claude Bernard Lyon 1. He then pursued his scientific career with a PhD in Medicinal Chemistry from the Bioactive Molecule and Medicinal Chemistry (B2MC) team of Dr. Marc Le Borgne in Lyon (France). His doctoral dissertation was focused on the syntheses and biological evaluations of small functional anticancer compounds (CA-4 derivatives and DYRK kinase inhibitors). He is currently working on the development of novel carfentanyl derivatives and other ligands with improved potency and selectivity toward the opioid receptors. He was recently awarded the Phillipe foundation fellowship. This 3-year grant encourages exchange of scientists and doctors between US and France for research related endeavors.

He is a huge fan of sports, more specifically football (and does not like to call it soccer!) and Crossfit, which he practices regularly during his free time. He traveled to 13 countries so far and is hoping to see a lot more !


Dr. Balazs Varga

Dr. Balazs Varga

Born in Rev-Komarom, Slovakia, Dr. Varga obtained his Masters degree from Dartmouth College in 2013 and his PhD in Organic Chemistry from Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest in 2015. His previous research focused on biorthogonal chemistry, while currently he is working in the field of opiate analgesics with the Majumdar lab. Besides chemistry, Dr Varga is also passionate about cooking and gastronomy in general.


Dr. Soumen Chakraborty

Dr. Soumen Chakraborty

Soumen was born in Calcutta, India. He received his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Midnapore College in 2009 and obtained his postgraduate degree in Organic Chemistry from Vidyasagar University in 2011. He was then awarded CSIR-UGC NET fellowship from Govt. of India. He joined the research group of Prof. D. Mal in the department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur to pursue his career in research. In his doctoral study he has been trained as a synthetic organic chemist for five and half years and has been skilled with multistep organic synthesis, total synthesis, organometallic and catalytic reactions. After receiving his PhD degree in 2018, he joined the research group of Dr. Susruta Majumdar in Washington University School of Medicine as a postdoctoral research associate. Currently he is working on the synthesis of natural product based opioid receptor probes. In his spare time, he loves listening to music and watching football and cricket.

Student Pharmacists


Nitin Nuthikattu

Nitin Nuthikattu

Nitin Nuthikattu is from Fremont, California. I am a 2nd year Professional Pharmacy student at St. Louis College of Pharmacy. I chose to work with Mitragynine and other alkaloid derivatives because it was a unique approach to apply what I learned in pharmacy school in a meaningful way. I like reading books, criticizing movies with my friends, hiking, studying interesting subjects, and eating good food. I am a very open person so feel free to come by and say hi!”


Rahul Jilakia

Rahul Jilakia

Rahul Jilakara is a Junior at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy (STLCOP) working towards receiving his Doctorate in Pharmacy. He is currently conducting research under the guidance of Dr. Varga in Dr. Majumdar’s lab. Outside of his involvement in research, Rahul plays an active role in the men’s STLCOP tennis team. Rahul is also the president-elect of STLCOP’s Student Government Association and was previously the vice-president of the Indian Student Association. In addition, Rahul works as a pharmacy intern at the Mercy Hospital South and teaches tennis.


Michelle Tulchinskaya

Michelle Tulchinskaya

Michelle is originally from Chicago, Illinois. She received her Bachelors of Health Science Degree from St. Louis College of Pharmacy, and is currently in the process of pursuing a Doctorate of Pharmacy degree in St. Louis College of Pharmacy. She chose to get involved in research in order to gain knowledge and contribute to progress. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, reading books, hiking, and playing with her dog.


Drew Daniels

Drew Daniels

Drew is a first year professional pharmacy student at St. Louis College of Pharmacy. Her curiosity in research piqued early in her undergraduate career, and she was fortunate to study axon degeneration and synaptic dysfunction in the lab of Dr. Martha Bhattacharya at the University of Arizona. She is thrilled to join the lab of Dr. Susruta Majumdar at Washington University School of Medicine to develop a research focus in naturally derived analgesics. When she is not studying or working in the lab, you can find Drew enjoying the gardens at Missouri Botanical Gardens or walking the trails at Forest Park.


Erica Diaz

Erica Diaz

Erika is from O’Fallon, IL and graduated from O’Fallon Township High School. She is a second year professional student (P2) at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy. She received a Bachelor in Health Humanities, and in 2022 will receive a Doctorate in Pharmacy from STLCOP. She spends most of her time working at St. Louis University Hospital where she is getting trained to make IV and Chemo preparations. She enjoys being a part of this research because opioids are a vital part of pharmacy, and a medication that needs continual improvement in order to achieve better health outcomes for the patient.

Mentoring


Post-doctoral fellows supervised

Students-Undergraduate students