Group Members

Grand Cru 2014-2015



Dr. Alberto Haces (Collaborator)

A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Dr. Haces got his bachelor’s in science in chemistry from the Central University of Venezuela while doing his undergraduate thesis at the Venezuelan Institute for scientific research (IVIC) in Caracas, while working for four years in the area of natural product isolation and synthesis with Dr. Taksuhiko Nakano (Kyoto). He then obtained a scholarship to study in the United States, and received his Ph.D. (organic chemistry) in 1982 from the University of California, Riverside under the supervision of Dr. William Okamura for his work on vitamin D and vitamin A analogues. Alberto’s postdoctoral work was in medicinal chemistry and new methods with Prof. Gary Posner, synthesizing nucleosides as anticancer and antiviral agents, at both NCI and Johns Hopkins University. After Hopkins, he became a senior scientist at Life Technologies Inc., a biotechnology company in Rockville Maryland. During that time, Dr. Haces published 23 articles and obtained 11 patents.  After his tenure in industry, he went back to teaching and never looked back since. After moving to Florida Atlantic University, Dr. Haces began to work in cancer research in collaboration with Dr. James Kumi-Diaka, and more recently he began to work towards the synthesis and biological evaluation of pH triggered anticancer compounds in the laboratory of Dr. Stephane Roche. Vive La France!

My best paper: U.S. P

atent Number 5,248,618 Novel assay methods employing compounds which are chemically or enzymatically cleavable and which give rise to an intermediate which further decomposes by an intramolecular anchimeric assistance.


Dr. Bret Tréguier (Postdoctoral Fellow 2012-14)

Bret was born in 1982 in south of France (Tarbes) and studied fine chemistry at the University of Nantes, where he graduated. In 2011, he obtained his Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry, at the faculty of pharmacy of Châtenay-Malabry, under the supervision of Dr. Mouâd Alami and Abdallah Hamzé. During his Ph.D., Bret focused on the synthesis and the biological evaluation of anticancer agents, derived from the combretastatin A-4.

Except organic chemistry, Bret has several passions as sports, cooking and music. Among many sports, he really enjoys playing rugby and skiing. Eating and sharing home-made recipes can also be considered as a hobby (somehow, he’s got the same “thrill” in a kitchen as in front of fumehood!)… He also likes fine humor, discover new movies, playing the guitar or listening music (Django Reinhardt, Georges Brassens or Keith Jarrett’s Köln concert). If I wasn’t a chemist, I would love to be an osteopath: a science where your hand is only your tool!

My favorite paper: Copper-Catalyzed Reductive Coupling of Tosylhydrazones with Amines: A Convenient Route to α-Branched Amines. Hamze, A.; Tréguier, B.; Brion, J.-D.; Alami, M. Org. Biomol. Chem. 2011, 9, 6200. (link). “Top ten most accessed article in August 2011”.

Shyam Samanta (GS4)

AWARD: runner’s up of the  “Dr. Cyril Párkányi Graduate Research Memorial Scholarships” 2014.

Shyam was born and raised in Kolaghat, near the famous city in India, Kolkata. He received a B.S. in chemistry from Belur Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandira under Calcutta University. Shyam then received a master degree in organic chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati. In the year 2011,  Shyam moved to Florida Atlantic University, U.S for his Ph.D. Degree in the Roche laboratory. Currently Shyam is working on “Methodologies toward Non-Proteinogenic chiral α-Amino Acids and Applications in Total Synthesis (e.g. sorbicillactones)”. In addition to chemistry, some of my favorite activities include exploring new places, capturing photos, playing football and cooking up some tasty dishes.

  Nagalakshmi Jeedimalla (GS3)

Nagalakshmi Jeedimalla, was born in Andhrapradesh, India. She did her Master’s in Industrial chemistry and graduated from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (India). As a part of her Master’s thesis she did a six months internship in a pharmaceutical company call Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (Hyderabad) on the “Synthesis of Core molecule of Retonavir and Lopinavir”. She then started her career in industry with HBL (Power Systems Limited) as trainee engineer in the R&D division. HBL is primarily involved in manufacturing of batteries for defense, aviation, telecommunication and utilities. After working for one and half year with HBL, she went back to work in Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories in the R&D’ department. She was involved in two projects (8 months), developing an anti-diabetic drug (miglitol) and a drug for Alzheimer’s disease (donepezil hydrochloride) respectively. Nagalakshmi then came to the US at Florida Atlantic University to pursue her graduate studies, worked in Professor Mari’s laboratory and joined the Roche Group in 2012. Currently Lakshmi is working on “Novel synthetic methodologies applied in total synthesis of natural products” (terpene skeletal rearrangement and novel peptidic tran


Krishna Yadavalli (GS1)

KrishnaKrishna Prasad Yadavalli was born in Andhra Pradesh, India. He did his Master’s in Organic chemistry and graduated from Andhra University (India). After graduation, he got the opportunity to work in Albany Molecular Research Inc., India in the R&D’ department. He worked on different customer-based projects for 5 years. Krishna then came to the US to pursue his graduate studies at FAU and joined the Roche Group in Fall 2013. Currently Krishna is working on “C-Terminus Elongation of Peptides with Additional

non-proteinogenic α-Amino Ester Residues”.










Ms. Benedicte Muratet (Spring 2015–)

bene   After growing up in Africa with her French parents, Benedicte studied Tourism, Arts and Languages in Southern France. Married, mother of four children, she became her husband’s primary care taker when he fell ill with end-stage liver cirrhosis, and she stood by him all along the path of his disease, full liver transplantation, and recovery. Benedicte co-authored a book Mission Life! which could also be considered as a manual because it  mean to psychologically help people who are sick to face their disease. It is an uplifting book, with lots of energy and optimism, however highlighting several “undisclosed” aspects of healthcare. Benedicte is now studying in FAU, seeking a degree in Behavioral Neurosciences. A primary witness to her mother’s fight with  cancer, she is strongly aiming at becoming a MD. Her specialization and research interests are oncology and hepatology. In Spring 2015, she joined the much dynamic and welcoming team of Dr. Roche’s research laboratory, where she is not only learning proper laboratory skills, techniques, and etiquette, but where she is specifically working under the mentoring of Dr. A. Haces on the synthesis of pH sensitive anti-cancerous compounds.


Ms. Elyse Jutte (Spring 2015–)

elyseAlthough originally hailing from Canada, Elyse has spent most of her life in South Florida. In 2013, she graduated Summa Cum Laude from South Florida State College with an Associates of Arts degree. She has since moved to Boca Raton and is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. In 2015 she joined the Roche research group, and when she’s not in the lab, studying for classes, or at work, you can usually find her watching anime or cooking a vegan meal.




Mr. Thomas Kempton (Spring 2015–)

Thomas comes from Lonthomg Island, New York to FAU.  He is an undergraduate chemistry student and plans to pursue a chemical engineering degree after graduating next spring.  He is currently engaged in research on fluorescence of chalcones under the guidance of his mentor Shyam Samanta.   When Thomas is not studying or working in the lab he enjoys scuba diving, running, a good steak and enjoying the Florida sunshine.



Mr. Stephen Zorc (Spring 2014 — present)


stephenMy name is Stephen Zorc. I am currently an undergraduate honors student pursuing a B.S. in Neuroscience at FAU. My four semesters of research experience in organic chemistry has inspired me to incorporate research into my future medical training. I am finishing up my Honors Thesis this semester in the Roche Research Group on a modified 4-component Hantzsch reaction for the synthesis of azapodophyllotoxin analogues and will soon be applying to MD/PhD programs. 

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