Research & Innovation

Stevens Researcher Wins Award from American Chemical Society for Anti-HIV Discovery

Sesha Alluri, a postdoctoral research fellow at Stevens, was recently honored as one of nine national recipients of the prestigious Eli Lilly Travel Award from the American Chemical Society’s Women Chemists Committee (WCC). The award, which is sponsored by the WCC and Eli Lilly & Company and based on scientific merit, provides funding for leading female chemists to present the results of their research, with the intention of increasing the participation of women in the chemical sciences.

As an honoree, Alluri shared her research, “Design, Synthesis and X-ray crystallographic analysis of a novel class of HIV-1 protease inhibitors,” at the 244th American Chemical Society national meeting in Philadelphia in August. The paper, which was published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry in 2011, describes the discovery of a novel class of HIV-1 protease inhibitors. Based largely on this work, Alluri is a coauthor on a patent used in the treatment was AIDS, which was recently issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Alluri works closely on research projects with her advisor, A.K. Ganguly, Stevens professor of Chemistry, Chemical Biology and Biomedical Engineering. Their research relates to the design and synthesis of biologically active novel heterocycles in drug development and has resulted in the discovery several classes of novel heterocycles, which serve as important pharmacophores in drug development projects.

“The biological activities associated with these novel compounds are anticancer and anti-HIV,” said Alluri. “All these great projects would not have been possible without the invaluable guidance of Professor Ganguly.”

As part of the ACS meeting, Alluri also presented her work at a special awardee poster session, was formally recognized at a WCC luncheon, and had tea with ACS CEO Madeleine Jacobs, Canadian Society for Chemistry President Cathleen Cruden, President of the Royal Society of Chemistry Lesley Yellowlees, and members of the WCC committee.

Alluri earned her Ph.D. and M.S. in Chemistry from Stevens and now works in the Ganguly’s research lab as a researcher and educator to graduate and undergraduate students.