Chemical Society Seminar: Shane Krska - Leveraging Advances in Catalysis and High Throughput Experimentation to Impact Drug Discovery

Tuesday, October 31, 2023 13:00to14:30
Maass Chemistry Building OM 10, 801 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal, QC, H3A 0B8, CA


Breakthroughs in the understanding of human biology and the advent of new enabling drug modalities such as synthetic cyclic peptides have led to unprecedented opportunities for drug discovery. At the same time, increasing competition and cost pressures have spurred efforts both to increase the success rate and decrease the cost and time required for discovering new medicines. Improving the efficiency and speed of the medicinal chemistry design cycle requires the invention and application of new technologies and fresh ways of thinking. The past several decades have seen tremendous advances in the development of catalytic reactions that allow the rapid assembly of diverse, drug-like molecules through cross-coupling of functionalized cores with vast building block sets. Recently, these methods have expanded to include those that utilize C-H bonds as the functional handles and points of diversification. In addition, the increasing power of chemical high throughput experimentation has greatly expanded the scope of these synthetic methods through allowing the rapid exploration and customization of reaction conditions to increase synthesis success rates, and more recently to enable high throughput compound library fabrication. This presentation will utilize several case studies to illustrate the diverse ways that modern catalysis, enabled by HTE, can impact drug discovery.



Dr. Shane Krska completed his undergraduate studies in chemistry at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. He obtained his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under the direction of Prof. Dietmar Seyferth and conducted postdoctoral research with Prof. Robert Bergman at the University of California, Berkeley. He began his career at Merck Research Laboratories as a Senior Research Chemist in 1999, where he initially worked in the Reaction Engineering Laboratory in the Department of Chemical Engineering R&D. In 2002, he helped found the Merck Catalysis Laboratory in the Process Research department with a focus on developing high-throughput experimentation (HTE) techniques to enable applications of homogeneous catalysis in pharmaceutical synthesis. In 2012, he founded the Late-Stage Functionalization (LSF) group within Discovery Chemistry to bring enabling synthetic chemistries and workflows to drug discovery. He currently serves as Distinguished Scientist in NJ Discovery Chemistry, overseeing the expansion of HTE chemistry capabilities across global Discovery Chemistry as well as external collaborations.

Dr. Krska has authored more than 80 publications and 10 patents. Professional honors he has received include being named an ACS Young Industrial Investigator (2008), as well as a co-recipient of the R&D Council of N.J. Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award (2009 and 2022), EPA Presidential Green Chemistry awards for JANUVIATM (2006) and EMENDTM (2005) manufacturing processes and the Catalysis Society of Metropolitan NY Excellence in Catalysis Award (2012). Dr. Krska has served on the industrial advisory board of the NSF Center for Enabling New Technologies through Catalysis (CENTC) and the Center for Selective C-H Functionalization (CCHF). He is also a member of the board of the Medicinal and Bioorganic Chemistry Foundation (MBCF). Through his extensive engagement with the broader scientific community, Dr. Krska enjoys sharing his passion for scientific excellence, innovation and drug discovery with students and is an ardent advocate and mentor for scientists from under-represented backgrounds.


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