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 64 publications in peer-reviewed journals and holds several patents. He is the co-founder of Sparian biosciences. He has trained several undergraduate students and three 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. 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.


Dr. Luis Gonzales

Dr. Luis Gonzales

Luisalberto Gonzalez is from Carrollton, Georgia (United States). He received his Bachelors of Science in Chemistry from University of West Georgia while working as an undergraduate research assistant in the lab of Dr. Partha Ray. He received his PhD. from Washington University in St. Louis where he worked on electrochemical synthesis techniques under Dr. Kevin Moeller. After completing his PhD. He is now a Postdoc in the lab of Dr. Susruta Majumdar, where he is researching specialized bitopic compounds designed to help with pain treatment. In his free time, he enjoys riding his bike and being outdoors.


Dr. Arghya Polley

Dr. Arghya Polley

Arghya Polley is from Kolkata, India. He received his B.Sc. (undergraduate) degree in Chemistry from Vivekananda College under the University of Calcutta. He pursued his master’s degree in Organic Chemistry at Ramakrishna Mission Residential College, Narendrapur (affiliated to the University of Calcutta). Arghya qualified for CSIR NET fellowship and joined Dr. Ranjan Jana’s research group in CSIR- Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata. During his Ph.D., he worked as a synthetic organic chemist and became an expert in fluorination chemistry, diazonium chemistry, hypervalent iodine chemistry and total synthesis of biologically active carbazole alkaloids. He continued his research work after getting a doctorate degree in 2019 for the synthesis of potential therapeutics targeting COVID 19 as a research associate. Currently, he is working as a postdoctoral research associate in collaborative research work with Dr. Susruta Majumdar and Prof. Baron Chanda at Washington University School of Medicine. Along with the synthesis of novel candidates in the lab, Arghya enjoys the synthesis of new dishes in the kitchen. He also likes playing cricket and chess and listening to music.


Dr. Barnali Paul

Dr. Barnali Paul

Barnali Paul is from Raiganj, India. She completed her B.Sc (undergraduate) degree in chemistry with first class first from Raiganj College (University of North Bengal). Barnali received her master’s degree from the same university in Organic Chemistry. After successfully qualifying for CSIR NET exam (conducted by Govt. of India), she joined Dr. Arindam Talukder’s medicinal chemistry group at CSIR- Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata. Her doctorial study was focused on design, synthesis, structure-activity relationship (SAR) development and biological evaluation of small-molecule immunomodulators targeting endosomal Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and Piezo-type mechanosensitive ion channels. She got her doctorate degree in 2018 and then she joined as a research scientist in a CRO company, TCG Lifesciences Private Limited, Kolkata, India. Currently, she is working as a postdoctoral research associate with Dr. Susruta Majumdar at Washington University School of Medicine and UHSP. In addition to taking challenges in the research lab, Barnali enjoys exploring new places, loves to read books, and is fond of watching movies and web series.

Graduate Student


Sarah Bernhard

Sarah Bernhard

Sarah is a Neuroscience graduate student who joined the Majumdar lab in 2021 as a co-mentorship with Tao Che. In 2020, Sarah received a B.S. in Neuroscience at Carnegie Mellon University where she worked in Alison Barth’s lab to build automated behavioral cages for mice. In the Majumdar lab, her research is focused on how opioids bind to opioid receptors and the signaling transducers they activate. Outside of lab, Sarah loves rock climbing, hiking, gardening, and reading.

Research Technician


Kevin Appourchaux

Kevin Appourchaux

Kevin was born in Epinay-sur-Seine, France. He studied and received his bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from University Grenoble Alpes in 2005 and he joined Polytech Annecy-Chambéry, an Engineering school specialized in Civil engineering until 2008. Follow his study, he joined an engineering and design company (CEH) in France to pursue his career in engineering. In April 2014, he changed his path and trained to manage a team and supplies in a pharmacy retail company in USA. He joined the research groups of Dr. Susruta Majumdar and Dr. Tom Burris in Washington University School of Medicine as a research technician. Currently, he is working on screening and characterizing new compounds targeting opioid receptor in cell based assays and he oversees the LC/MS-MS instrument for ADME or quantification studies. In addition, he is playing the role of lab management in the Dr. Susruta Majumdar team. In his spare time, he loves watching animation and sport, playing board games, and practicing CrossFit.

Undergraduate Students


Anirudh Kalathil

Anirudh Kalathil

Anirudh (Ani) Kalathil is a sophomore at the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in Saint Louis and hopes to receive his Doctorate in Pharmacy. He is interested in subjects like Organic Chemistry and Biology. He hopes that with research opportunities, he will gain experience in these subjects and in the lab setting. Ani is heavily involved on campus, being the Secretary of the Indian Student Association at UHSP, a student-liaison board member for the Missouri Pharmacist Association, a collegiate tennis player, and is part of a PER Research Group.


Sashrik Sribhashyam

Sashrik Sribhashyam

Sashrik is from San Jose, California. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry at Washington University in St. Louis. He is currently working in the research group of Dr. Susruta Majumdar as a research technician. After he graduates, he wants to pursue a medical degree to become a practicing physician. In his free time, he likes to play table tennis and do a variety of dances.


Alexa Kouvelis

Alexa Kouvelis

Alexa was born and raised in St. Louis. She is currently working on her Bachelors of Arts and Sciences at Washington University, with a major in Biology and a double minor in Psychology and Creative Writing. After graduation, she plans to attend pharmacy school. She has recently chosen to get involved with the lab in order to experience pharmaceutical research first-hand, and she is excited to be a part of such important work. When she has time, she likes to listen to criminal psychology podcasts, ride her Peloton, and read and write poetry.


Samantha Harker

Samantha Harker

Samantha Harker is originally from Anaheim, California. She is currently pursuing her bachelors degree in Medical Humanities from the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy as well as her bachelors degree in English from Arizona State University as a Starbucks College Achievement Plan Scholar. Samantha was first captivated by research when she memorized 1,294 digits of pi, and sought answers behind the neurological mechanics that enabled her to do so. She chose to work in the research group of Dr. Majumdar to expand her knowledge of the brain and impact of variables such as opioids on its functionality. Currently she is focusing on Beta-arrestin signaling. In her free time, she enjoys writing for the Organization of Autism Research, creating drawings and calligraphy, playing with her pet husky, Raini, reading, as well as building Lego architecture sets.


Emily Wells

Emily Wells

Emily Emily is from Shawnee, Kansas. She received her associates degree in Chemistry from Cloud County Community College. Shes pursuing her Bachelor's degree from University of Health Science and Pharmacy in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and she plans on pursuing a master's on Medicinal Chemistry. She chose to get involved in research to gain knowledge and experience. In her free time, she enjoys playing softball, listening to music, and reading.

Mentoring


Post-doctoral fellows supervised

Students-Undergraduate students