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Drug Development Experts and Information for Media

St. Jude deliberately designed its campus and culture to spark connections between clinicians and scientists, giving drug discovery projects the greatest chance of real-world success. Scientists and clinicians translate laboratory breakthroughs into novel treatment options for patients at St. Jude—and around the world.

Small molecule discovery: From high-throughput screening to tailored molecular design, investigators in the Department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics pursue the full spectrum of approaches to identify small molecules with excellent therapeutic potential.

Vaccines, gene therapy and other biologics: Many effective therapies involve biological products. To serve our patients and investigators, St. Jude was the first pediatric cancer research center in the United States to open an on-site Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility. This facility plays a critical role in moving promising discoveries from St. Jude laboratories into the hospital's clinics, ensuring that biopharmaceuticals and other biological products for patient use are manufactured in accordance with strict federal regulations.

Pharmacogenomics: Scientists and clinicians at St. Jude have pioneered pharmacogenomics discovery research and clinical implementation since the early 1990s. Research has uncovered pharmacogenetic variants influencing common anti-cancer drugs. These efforts have enabled the clinical implementation of pharmacogenomics, shifting the precision medicine paradigm in pediatric oncology.

The following drug discovery experts are available to offer hands-on expertise in developing therapeutics and biopharmaceuticals.

To schedule an interview, email

Drug Development Experts

  • Aseem Z. Ansari

    Aseem Ansari, PhD, St. Jude Department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics chair, continues to broaden the boundaries of discovery as an expert in therapeutics that target transcription factors—proteins that regulate the transcription of genes. His research focuses on building and studying synthetic gene regulators (SynGRs) used as therapeutics for personalized medicine. His other research includes artificial transcription factors (ATFs) to regulate programs that determine cell fate and enable regenerative medicine. He also uses chemical and computational tools to optimize SynGR/ATF design, perform genome annotation to understand the structure and function of a protein or gene within the genome and dissect the RNA polymerase II transcription cycle. His aims to design synthetic molecules that read the genome and engage cellular machinery at targeted sites to resolve disruptions that cause catastrophic disease in children. 

  • Frank Fazio

    Frank Fazio


    Frank Fazio, Children’s GMP, LLC, president and St. Jude vice president of therapeutics production and quality, leads the biologic manufacturing facility at St. Jude. The GMP allows St. Jude to develop and produce innovative treatments for its patients that may not find an initial investment by a major pharmaceutical company. Fazio’s staff of scientists and quality control experts produce novel vaccines, gene therapy products, monoclonal antibodies and recombinant proteins. Another major function of GMP staff is to work closely with St. Jude employees to prepare high-quality, cell-based products for bone marrow transplantation and cellular therapy procedures.

  • P. David Rogers, PharmD, PhD, FCCP

    David Rogers, PharmD, PhD, St. Jude Department of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences chair, has devoted most of his research career to defining the resistance mechanisms of pathogenic fungi to antifungal drugs. Such resistance can pose grave risks to children with compromised immune systems. His award-winning research has focused on improving antifungal pharmacotherapy and using molecular, genetic and genomic tools to study antifungal agents.

  • Anang A. Shelat, PhD

    Anang Shelat, PhD, St. Jude Department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics, is an expert in chemical informatics and assay development. His research program uses the tools of chemical informatics, computational biology and chemical biology to investigate the mechanism of drug action and to target disease vulnerabilities. His laboratory group developed invaluable analytical tools for drug screening that have helped shape preclinical therapeutic development. Shelat is also the director of the Lead Discovery Informatics Center, whose mission is to enable a deeper interrogation of biology by integrating chemistry, computation and data science.  

  • Jun J. Yang, PhD

    Jun J. Yang, PhD, St. Jude Departments of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Oncology, uses pharmacogenomics to identify new therapies for pediatric leukemia. Yang leverages genetic insights to identify ways to improve leukemia therapy. His work has identified subgroups of patients for whom standard therapies will be ineffective and conversely highlighted other groups for whom novel treatments may provide a better treatment option. His work sheds light on how different patients with the same diagnosis can respond differently to the same drug. He can speak on the importance of diversity in research and the impact of genetic differences on drug development for ALL.