Daniel Szczpankiewicz

Daniel is an organic chemist with a background in synthetic methodology, high-throughput experimentation, and phenotypic screening. He earned his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), co-advised under the synthetic chemist Prof. David Sarlah, and the chemical biologist Prof. Angad Mehta.

Within Prof. Sarlah’s lab, Daniel worked to develop the platform now dubbed “Reaction Mining”, where he and his coworkers utilized artificial mass is otopologue distributions to autonomously discern the occurrence of reactions by LC/MS. He then demonstrated the utility of this system in high-throughput screens to map the “reaction scope” of metal catalysts, towards the goal of creating an automated method to discover novel chemical reactivity.

In Prof. Mehta’s lab, Daniel applied the same principles of high-throughput methodology towards the development of a phenotypic screen targeting viral RNA-capping enzymes, specifically the SARS-CoV-2 Nsp14 and MPoxVD1/VD12 complex. His work entailed the miniaturization of the system to a robust 384-well plate format, and its evaluation against a wide variety of small molecule inhibitor candidates. He carried out de novo synthesis of hypothesis-driven and computationally designed analogues, and evaluated the activity of diversity-oriented compound collections in high throughput assays.

When he’s not at Octant, you can find Daniel in the woods identifying wildflowers and edible plants, tending to his garden, or in the kitchen cooking with friends.

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