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I received my Ph.D. in chemistry from Johns Hopkins University in 1999 and my MBA from Carey Business School in 2009. Over the past 20 years, I have held a variety of leadership positions in the pharmaceutical industry in the field of medicinal chemistry. In 2009, I joined Johns Hopkins Medical Institute as a Principal Scientist in medicinal chemistry. At JHMI, our primary mission was translating discoveries in basic science into novel therapeutics.

I have recently transitioned into teaching undergraduate organic chemistry and medicinal chemistry here at McDaniel College. I have used my industrial experience to generate relevant undergraduate research projects, create internships and establish collaborations with both industry and academia. I have also been involved with the American Chemical Society since 1994. Since 2012, I have served as a councilor for the Maryland section, and at the national level, I have served on committees within the ACS that are responsible for career development and project funding. And, my wife and I own Kismet Cafe, so naturally I like coffee.


M.B.A., Johns Hopkins Carey Business School
Ph.D. in Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University
B.A. in Biochemistry, Lafayette College

Research Interests

  • Medicinal chemistry

  • Drug discovery

Recent Courses

  • CHE 2217: Organic Chemistry 1

  • CHE2218: Organic Chemistry 2

  • CHE3301: Medicinal Chemistry

Selected Publications

  • Design, synthesis and evaluation of potent and selective inhibitors of mono-(ADP-ribosyl)transferases PARP10 and PARP14. Holechek, J.; Lease, R.; Thorsell, A.-G.; Karlberg, T.; McCadden, C.; Grant, R.; Callahan, E.; Schuler, H.; Ferraris, D. Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 2018, 28, 2050-2054.

  • Design and Synthesis of Potent Inhibitors of the mono-(ADP-ribosyl)transferase, PARP14. Upton, K.; Meyers, M.; Thorsell, A.-G.; Karlberg, T.; Holechek, J.; Lease, R.; Schey, G.; Wolf, E.; Lucente, A.; Schüler, H.; Ferraris, D. Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett., 2017, 27, 2907-2911.

  • The coronavirus macrodomain is required to prevent PARP-mediated inhibition of virus replication and enhancement of IFN expression. Grunewald, M.; Chen, Y.; Kuny, C.; Maejima, T.; Lease, R.*; Ferraris, D.; Aikawa, M.; Sullivan, C.; Perlman, S.; Fehr, A. 2019, Accepted for publication PLOS Pathogens.

  • Synthesis, Characterization and Anti-neoplastic Activity of Bis-aziridine Dimeric Naphthoquinone a Novel Class of Compounds with Potent Activity Against Acute Myeloid Leukemia Cells. Carter-Cooper, B. A.; Fletcher, S.; Ferraris, D.; Choi, E. Y.; Kronfli, D.; Dash, S.; Truong, P.; Sausville, E. A.; Lapidus, R. G.; Emadi, A. Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 2017, 27, 6-10.

  • Integrating DNA-encoded chemical libraries with virtual combinatorial library screening: Optimizing a PARP10 inhibitor. Lemke, M.; Ravenscroft, H.; Rueb, N.; Kireev, D.; Ferraris, D.; Franzini, R. Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 2020, 30, 127464.

Clubs and community involvement

  • Faculty Mentor for McDaniel Women's Soccer Team

  • Faculty Mentor Love Your Melon Club

Awards and Honors

  • Charles A. Boehlke Jr. Engaged Faculty Fellows Award, AY 2018-2019

  • Scholarly Publications Award, McDaniel College, AY 2017-2018

  • Nora Roberts Award for Community Outreach, McDaniel College, AY 2016-2017

  • John Desmond Kopp Professorship in the Sciences

"You're a rockstar."

2018 summer research group