NIH/NIGMS Chemistry-biology interface predoctoral training program at the university of florida

The predoctoral training program led by researchers at the University of Florida will help train the next generation of biomedical scientists and interface their interests in chemistry and biology. Through this training program, UF is preparing young scientists with the skills to pursue successful careers in the biomedical workforce.

The frontier of training

“Biomedical research is an essential area where we need to train more researchers who can develop scientific knowledge and technology, and contribute to human health and a high-tech economy,” – Chenglong Li, Ph.D.

Chenglong Li

Program Summary and TRAINEE BENEFITS

The UF Chemistry-Biology Interface Predoctoral Training Program is funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of General Medical Sciences and aims to provide training and support for the development of the research careers of trainees, as well as to enhance the quality of graduate training broadly at the University of Florida. The activities are designed to train students to recognize and address modern research problems that cut across the traditional boundaries of chemistry and biology. They integrate modern technological advances in experimental approaches, provides professional development skills and career guidance, in a manner consistent with developing an inclusive and supportive training community. The following are among the many trainee benefits of the program:

  • Core courses in Chemical Biology and Drug Design within a flexible and customizable curriculum
  • Monthly UF Chemistry-Biology Interface Trainer/Trainee Chalk Talk series of research in progress seminars
  • Participation in the yearly UF Drug Discovery Symposium
  • Participation in the biennial Florida Heterocyclic and Synthetic Chemistry (FloHet) Conference on heterocyclic and synthetic organic chemistry
  • A yearly UF Chemistry-Biology Interface Orientation providing a forum for feedback on program activities
  • Training in principles of rigorous analysis of scientific data and reproducible research methods
  • Training in scientific communication skills
  • A continuing commitment to inclusion, diversity, and science outreach
  • A vibrant UF Chemistry-Biology Interface training community that fosters collaborative research
  • Mentorship of junior trainers by senior faculty
  • NIGMS standard trainee stipend and tuition is provided

Program faCTS

Areas of Research The program incorporates chemistry and biology core concepts into the training.

4 Number of trainees selected per year

Eligibility The program will only support second- and third-year UF graduate students.

July 1, 2022 Application Deadline


UF College of Pharmacy

Chenglong Li, Ph.D.

Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and the Nicholas Bodor Professor in Drug Discovery

Chenglong Li


Michael Harris, Ph.D.

Professor of Chemistry

Michael Harris 600x400

University of Florida

Meet our Multidisciplinary Team

The UF-CBI Training Faculty consists of more than 30 full-time tenure track faculty members drawn primarily from the Departments of Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry, which provide a strong cohesive core of faculty trainers.

University of Florida

Meet our Steering Committee

The Steering Committee is responsible for the overall program administration and executive decision

current and past trainees


Tyler Alsup

Alsup is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Florida. In 2019, he earned his B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology, while focusing on marine natural products research. His research in the Rudolf lab is aimed at the discovery of novel bacterial terpenoids and characterization of key biosynthetic machinery responsible for the impressive chemical diversity of the bacterial terpenome.
ADVISOR: Jeffrey Rudolf

Tyler Alsup


Matthew Burke

Burke graduated in 2020 from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY with a degree in Biological Sciences, concentrating in molecular and cell biology. He joined the Zheng Lab in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry the following fall, exploring chemical synthesis and modifications for anticancer drug candidates and PROTAC technology. His interests lie in application of novel synthetic approaches to medicinal chemistry in a more effective and greener way than traditional chemistry approaches. Matthew was appointed this fall as a new T32 pre-doctoral fellow, and will continue to explore the interface of chemistry and biology during the next few years as a PhD student.
ADVISOR: Guangrong Zheng

Matthew Burke


Michael Goertzen

Michael Goertzen II received his bachelor’s in Chemistry in 2019 from Wingate University. He joined the Ph.D. program in the medicinal chemistry department at the University of Florida under Dr. Robert Huigens’ mentoring. His research in the Huigens’ lab focuses on developing new ring cleavage and ring fusion methodologies for indole alkaloid natural products to discover novel biologically active hit compounds relevant to human diseases. Since being appointed as a T32 predoctoral fellow, one paper has been published in ACS Omega entitled “Ring Distortion of Vincamine Leads to the Identification of Re-Engineered Antiplasmodial Agents” (ACS Omega 2021, 6 (31), 20455-20470).
ADVISOR: Robert Huigens

Michael Goertzen


Jessica Mamallapalli

Jessica Mamallapalli received her bachelor’s in Chemistry with a concentration in Biochemistry in 2018 from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. She joined the Ph.D. program in the medicinal chemistry department at the University of Florida under Dr. Chengguo Xing’s mentoring. She has a great passion for utilizing the Eastern philosophy of medicine—using remedies given to us by nature to be in homeostasis from the inside out — to treat various health conditions. Dr. Xing’s lab studies the effects of kava (Piper methysticum) on various phenotypes in relation to smoking and lung cancer. Her research involves studying kava’s effects on stress and lung cancer and how the two may be intertwined. This entails a multiple-perspective approach including cellular mechanistic studies and bioanalytical applications in clinical studies. The hope is that this will lead to the development of a kava-based psychotropic and chemotherapeutic treatment, a natural alternative addressing both mental and physical health.
ADVISOR: Chengguo Xing

Jessica Mamallapalli


Lobna Elsadek

Lobna Elsadek received her bachelor’s in pharmacy (2017) from Cairo University in Egypt. In 2018, she joined the Ph.D. program in the medicinal chemistry department at the University of Florida under Dr. Hendrik Luesch’s mentoring. She is highly motivated and fueled by her goal to discover new anticancer and antifungal agents and to understand their mechanism of action at the molecular level.  Her research employs a wide array of mechanistic studies to enable unbiased assessment of cellular targets, which is necessary to mine for novel biology/targets. 
ADVISOR: Hendrik Luesch

Lobna 600x400

How to APPLY

Applicants are encouraged to submit the application materials listed below by July 1, 2022.

  • CV
  • Personal statement (in a one-page personal statement, please address these activities)
  • Advisor Recommendation Letter
  • List of Publications (if you have published)
  • Transcripts (mailed to Amanda Munroe at the address below)


Submit Your Application

Applicants to the UF Chemistry-Biology Interface Predoctoral Training Program need to complete this form.


Amanda Munroe

UF College of Pharmacy
1225 Center Drive
HPNP Bldg., Room 4306
Gainesville, FL 32610