Lori obtained her Ph.D. from the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University, Australia under the supervision of Prof. Jonathan Baell. Her research focused on the design and synthesis of novel heterocyclic compounds for the treatment of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT). In 2015, Lori moved to the Pollastri lab at Northeastern University, Boston, where she is now a Research Assistant Professor. Lori’s research continues to focus on the design of novel compounds to treat neglected tropical diseases.
The lab employs a drug repurposing approach wherein, early, or late-stage chemical matter is used to identify starting points for optimization. The type of repurposing depends on 1) the type of chemical matter being used, 2) information that is available at the starting point of optimization, and 3) the degree of optimization that is required. Lori currently leads three kinase repurposing projects focused on the identification of novel treatments for HAT, Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, and schistosomiasis. She is also working to expand the portfolio of the lab and is broadly interested in drug discovery for infectious diseases.
In addition to her research, Lori has also been involved with the International Younger Chemists Network (IYCN) since early 2017. She joined as the team lead of the Public Outreach subcommittee before moving into the vice-chair role. During IUPAC2019 IYCN held its inaugural General Assembly where Lori was elected as the new Chair of the network. IYCN is aimed at connecting chemists who are in the early stages of their career, including anyone under the age of 35, or those who are within five years of their terminal degree or training. The goal is to reach like-minded scientists and create a platform for scientific exchange; with a focus on building a global network. IYCN is working to spread scientific knowledge, mentorship, and encourage a passion for chemistry in all. Lori’s research and volunteering activities were recognized with the award of Nickel on the Periodic Table of Younger Chemists.