Many types of expertise, levels of education, and areas of science are represented
at Cerilliant. Cerilliant’s team of experts includes advanced-degreed scientists
and scientists with diverse scientific training and experience. The depth of our
scientific expertise, along with the broad spectrum of projects we manage, equips
us to solve most any problem and handle virtually any project.
The company’s high levels of knowledge and proficiency enables Cerilliant to control
quality from start to finish—from development, to production, to quality control,
to customer support. The company’s Certificate of Analysis is the most comprehensive
in the industry. But it is more than just processes or products that has cemented
Cerilliant’s reputation for excellence. The company’s team of scientists is known
for its innovative thinking and collaborative relationship with customers, as well
as with each other.
Collectively, this remarkable group of specialists, is charged with the development,
design, improvement, and implementation of Cerilliant programs and are also responsible
for new product design and development and for resolving challenging technical issues.
Meet some of our technical team below.
Uma Sreenivasan, Ph.D. -Vice President R&D and Production Operations; Chief Scientist
Dr. Sreenivasan is Vice President R&D and Production Operations and Chief Scientist.
She is responsible for Synthesis Operations, Standards and Packaging, Analytical
R&D and Quality Control, as well as Operations Planning and Support for Cerilliant.
Dr. Sreenivasan came to Cerilliant in 2000 after post-doctoral work in bio-organic,
peptide and medicinal chemistry at the Mayo Clinic and the University of Texas,
Austin, starting her Cerilliant career as a synthesis chemist. Ms. Sreenivasan has
extensive experience in the fields of computer modeling of proteins, structural
analysis of small molecules by NMR, peptide chemistry, and drug design and synthesis.
She has worked in biomedical research and academic settings and has synthetic and
analytical chemistry experience, project design and management, and process development
experience. In 2003, Dr. Sreenivasan was promoted to Manager of Synthesis Operations
and also served as interim Manager of the Analytical Laboratory. In 2006 she was
named Chief Science Advisor overseeing technical issues relating to Cerilliant products,
a position she continues to hold today. She is a member of Cerilliant's New Product
Executive Committee, its New Product Design Committee, and on the Management Safety
Committee. Ms. Sreenivasan has a Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry from the University
of Minnesota and an undergraduate degree in pharmacy from S.N.D.T. University, Mumbai,
Lara Sparks -Vice President, Quality Assurance
Ms. Sparks is responsible for directing and managing Cerilliant's quality management
system and ensuring compliance with applicable cGMP, FDA and ISO standards. Promoted
to Vice President, Quality Assurance in 2013, Ms. Sparks also oversees Regulatory
Compliance and EHS, Fulfillment, Shipping & Logistics and Facilities & Engineering.
Ms. Sparks brings more than fifteen years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry
and has worked in a variety of quality positions. She began her career in the pharmaceutical
industry with ALK-Abello, Inc., a leading producer of pharmaceuticals for specific
allergy vaccination, where she served as Quality Control Chemistry Technician then
Quality Control Chemistry Supervisor. In her roles at ALK-Abello she was responsible
for coordinating all final product release testing and stability testing in accordance
with cGMP, FDA and USDA requirements. Ms. Sparks joined Cerilliant in 2002 and was
promoted to Director of Quality Assurance in 2005. Under her leadership the Company
has added accreditations to ISO Guide 34 and ISO/IEC 17025, certification to ISO
13485, and has established its quality system to be compliant with FDA's cGMP and
GLP requirements. Ms. Sparks plays a key role in strategic client relationships
and in implementation of strategic objectives. She received a B.S. in Chemistry
from the University of Arizona.
Isil Dilek, Ph.D. – Director, Analytical R&D and Quality Control
In 2013, Dr. Dilek assumed the role of Director Analytical R&D and Quality with
supervisory responsibilities for Production Quality Control, Analytical R&D and
Custom. Dr. Dilek, a native of Turkey, received her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at Carnegie
Mellon University, studying molecular recognition in nucleic acid and supramolecular
chemistries. For her graduate work, she developed methods to purify and characterize
synthetic nucleic acid analogs using chromatographic and spectroscopic techniques.
She then joined the Medicinal Chemistry Division of the University of Texas at Austin
as a postdoctoral research fellow to work on the synthesis of drug candidates as
inhibitors of ricin and shiga toxins. Dr. Dilek began her career at Cerilliant in
2004 as an analytical chemist focusing on method development working with HPLC,
LCMS, FT-IR and NMR techniques. In 2008, Dr. Dilek was promoted to Manager of the
Analytical Laboratory where she was responsible for management and technical oversight
of all Cerilliant analytical operations including setting of test plans and acceptance
criteria of raw materials and finished goods in accordance with sound scientific
principles and Cerilliant’s quality system; stability testing and setting of expiry
dates and product storage conditions; custom analytical work performed for Cerilliant
clients under GLP or GMP protocols; and research and development of new methods
and new products. She serves on Cerilliant’s New Product Design Committee.
Greg Kirkovits, Ph.D. – Principal Scientist, Synthesis
Dr. Kirkovits joined Cerilliant in May 2002 as a Synthesis Chemist after post-doctoral
work in supramolecular chemistry in the research laboratories of Professor Jonathan
L. Sessler at the University of Texas at Austin. Greg obtained his undergraduate
degree and Ph.D. at King’s College London, England. His doctoral research in the
area of supramolecular chemistry focused on the synthesis, characterization and
study of artificial ion channels. As part of his undergraduate degree he also spent
a year working as an NMR spectroscopist in the analytical laboratories of SmithKline
Beecham Pharmaceuticals in Welwyn Garden City, England.
Heiko Junga, Ph.D. – Synthesis Operations
Dr. Junga is a Synthesis Chemist with a strong background in organic synthesis and
analytical techniques for the characterization of small molecules. He immigrated
to the United States in the early 1990’s to pursue postdoctoral research at UC Berkeley
and began his career in the chemical industry as a synthesis scientist with Aldrich
in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Dr. Junga joined Cerilliant in 2012 after holding additional
positions as a synthesis scientist with PPG and Covance. Dr. Junga has co-authored
twenty papers and made several presentations to national conferences and professional
groups. Dr. Junga holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Physics, a
Master's Degree in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Universities
H. Kenan Yaser, M.S. – Synthesis Operations
Mr. Yaser has over 20 years of experience in the field of organic synthesis. He
has worked in academic research settings and has project design and management and
process development experience. Kenan came to Cerilliant in 1990 as a Synthesis
Chemist after graduate work in asymmetric synthesis. He was promoted to Product
Manager for forensic standards in 1994, Synthesis Operations Manager in 1998 and
to Technical Director in 2001. Upon recognizing that his true passion was working
in the lab, in 2003 Mr. Yaser persuaded management to allow him to return to the
synthesis lab as a Senior Chemist. Throughout his tenure at Cerilliant, Kenan has
participated in the synthesis of a broad array of Cerilliant products, both catalog
and custom, and has made many significant contributions in the areas of new product
and process development and in the implementation of new technologies. He currently
serves as Interim Manager of Synthesis Operations and is also a member of Cerilliant’s
Safety Committee. He has a Master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin
and an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Rice University, Houston, Texas, where
he also engaged in post graduate work related to drug development.
Derrell Johnson, M.S. – New Product Development Manager
Mr. Johnson joined Cerilliant in December, 1999, as a Synthesis Chemist after graduate
work in organic synthesis and asymmetric amplification. As a Synthesis Chemist,
his primary responsibilities involved the production of numerous catalog and custom
products including projects under strict cGMP protocols. His experience also includes
process R&D and development in both small-scale and large-scale applications. In
2005 Derrell accepted an opportunity to work as an analytical chemist in the Cerilliant’s
Analytical Laboratory. His responsibilities included finished product and stability
testing, data review, and writing and validation of analytical methods. Derrell
served as the primary NMR spectroscopist and also worked with FT-IR, HPLC, and Auto-Titrator
techniques. In 2008 Derrell was promoted to his current position and serves on the
New Product Executive Committee and the New Product Design Committee. Mr. Johnson
is responsible for initiating, researching, and planning new products for Cerilliant’s
catalog offering. Derrell received his M.B.A. in business administration from Texas
State University, San Marcos, Texas; Master’s degree in organic chemistry from Texas
A&M University, College Station, Texas; and his undergraduate degree in chemistry
from Texas Lutheran University, Seguin, Texas.
Martha Liu, Ph.D. – Synthesis Operations
Dr. Liu is a Synthesis Chemist with a strong background in organic and polymer synthesis
and analytical techniques for the characterization of small molecules and macromolecules.
Dr. Liu began her career overseeing an academic chemistry research group and teaching
Organic Chemistry and Synthetic Design to chemistry major undergraduates for seven
years. After she immigrated to the United States in the early 90’s to pursue a Ph.D.,
Martha continued her career as a Research Assistant at the University of Texas,
Arlington. Prior to completing her Ph.D., she interned with Merck & Company where
she focused on process development and support for the manufacture of pharmaceutical
actives and intermediates in the Technical Operations Department. Dr. Liu joined
Cerilliant in 2000 after postdoctoral work at Texas A&M University, College Station,
Texas. Dr. Liu has successfully developed and synthesized many difficult compounds
for Cerilliant’s pharmaceutical customers and has made many significant contributions
in the areas of new product and process development and participates in the technical
review of new projects. Dr. Liu has published eight papers and made several presentations
to national conferences and professional groups. Dr. Liu holds a Bachelor of Science
degree in Chemistry and a Master's Degree in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from universities
in China and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Texas, Arlington,
Ning Chang, Ph.D. – Analytical Operations
Dr. Chang has expertise in GC, GC/MS, HPLC, LC/MS and Karl-Fischer applications.
Her experience includes method development, validation of analytical methods and
project management. She has extensive and practical knowledge in GC and GC/MS instrumentation
and application of these techniques to environmental and forensic standards, chemical
weapons, and pharmaceutical reference standards. Dr. Chang has extensive experience
in X-ray crystallography for the structural determination of proteins and small
molecules, powder diffraction applications, and crystal engineering. She has numerous
publications resulting from her research at the University of Texas at Austin. She
received her Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin
and a B.S. in chemistry from the National Taiwan University, in Taipei, Taiwan.
She joined Cerilliant in 2001.
Peech S. Reddy, Ph.D. – Synthesis Operations
Dr. Reddy joined Cerilliant in 2002 as a Synthesis Chemist. Dr. Reddy has successfully
designed and synthesized several challenging compounds for Cerilliant's customers
and catalog products and has made many significant contributions in the areas of
new product and process development. Dr. Reddy has over 20 years of experience in
the field of synthetic organic chemistry and medicinal chemistry in academic and
industrial settings. Dr. Reddy has two U.S. Patents and published fifteen papers
and made several presentations to national conferences. He obtained his Ph.D. in
Organic Chemistry from National Chemical Laboratory, Pune, India, where he worked
on new methods development and synthesis of biologically active compounds. Dr. Reddy
trained in the field of synthetic organic chemistry and medicinal chemistry as Postdoctoral
Fellow at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Texas, and
at State University of New York at Buffalo, New York.
Alex Wong, Ph.D. – Synthesis Operations
Dr. Wong joined Cerilliant in 2003 as a Synthesis Chemist after postdoctoral research
in mechanistic enzymology at the University of Texas at Austin. Alex obtained his
B.Sc. in biochemistry at the University of Waterloo, Canada, during which time he
worked as both biologist and chemist at several different companies. He went on
to obtain his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the University of British Columbia,
Canada, where he studied the mechanism of carbohydrate processing enzymes through
the synthesis and use of carbohydrate analogs. During his tenure at Cerilliant,
Alex has participated in the synthesis of numerous Cerilliant products, including
the development of many new products, and custom projects for Cerilliant clients.
He plays a key role in quoting of custom projects, product design, development of
new technologies, the training of junior chemists and participates on Cerilliant’s
New Product Design Committee.
Brian Schulmeier, M.S. – Synthesis Operations
Mr. Schulmeier graduated from Texas A&M University in 1999 with a Master’s degree
in Organic Chemistry where he worked in Dr. Daniel Singleton’s research group and
studied mechanistic chemistry using a novel approach that studied kinetic isotope
effects at natural abundance. After graduating, Brian joined the process development
team at Ilex Oncology in San Antonio, TX. His work there included process development
on drugs in the Ilex pipeline and contract research for other companies including
process development, medicinal chemistry, and pilot scale cGMP chemistry. While
at Ilex, Brian was part of the team that developed a new synthetic route for Clofarabine
(a purine nucleoside antimetabolite that was approved by the FDA and is marketed
as Clolar®). This synthetic route was published, patented, and led
to the drug advancing in clinical trials and, ultimately, FDA approval. Brian joined
Cerilliant in June 2003 and worked primarily on Cerilliant’s dioxin/furan, environmental,
chemical warfare, and explosives product lines. In 2005, Brian transitioned to Austin
Pharma (a wholly owned subsidiary of Cerilliant) as the senior chemist of API manufacturing.
Brian worked on a team that improved the manufacturing process for Dronabinol, transitioned
the manufacturing from pilot scale to full scale manufacturing in a new facility,
and produced a validated, FDA approved, process for the manufacture of Dronabinol.
In 2009, Brian transitioned back into the synthesis lab where he has focused on
supporting the forensics and new products lines.
Panduka Koswatta, Ph.D. – Synthesis Operations
Dr. Koswatta is a senior Synthesis Chemist with extensive experience in organic
synthesis and analytical techniques for the characterization of small molecules
and complex organic molecules. Dr. Koswatta began his career in academic chemistry
as an assistance lecturer, teaching undergraduate chemistry majors before immigrating
to the United States in 2005 to pursue his Ph.D. in Synthetic Organic Chemistry.
Prior to completing his Ph.D., he completed an internship with Abbott Laboratories
in Chicago where he focused on process development for the manufacture of Trandolapril.
Dr. Koswatta finished his postdoctoral studies in the Department of Biochemistry
at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas before joining
Cerilliant in 2013. Dr. Koswatta expertise spans the synthesis of small imidazole
based bioactive natural products to complex, multi-step natural products, such as
Nigricanoside A. Dr. Koswatta has published several peer-reviewed papers and is
a presenter at national scientific conferences and professional groups. He received
an outstanding academic excellence award in 2003 from The University of Peradeniya,
Sri Lanka, for his undergraduate work, and an outstanding graduate research award
in 2010 from The University of Texas at Arlington for his achievements in graduate
Yunming Ying, Ph.D. – Synthesis Operations
Dr. Ying joined Cerilliant in 2008 as a Synthesis Chemist. Prior to joining Cerilliant,
he worked at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, as a Research Scientist focusing
on design and synthesis of new kinase inhibitors and PET imaging reagents. Dr. Ying
has extensive experience in the field of synthetic organic chemistry and medicinal
chemistry, from complex multi-step stereoselective synthesis to preparation of small
pharmaceutical molecules. He has over 20 publications and holds four U.S. Patents.
Dr. Ying received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Chinese Academy of Sciences
and his B.S. from University of Science and Technology of China. He did his postdoctoral
research at Rice University, Houston, Texas.
Joshua D. Cooper, Ph.D. – Supervisor, Analytical R&D and Custom
Dr. Cooper has a Ph.D. and an M.S. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University
of Kansas and a B.S. in Biochemistry form Grove City College in Pennsylvania. Dr.
Cooper joined Cerilliant in 2010 as part of the Analytical Operations team. In 2013,
he assumed the role of Supervisor, Analytical R&D and Custom including responsibilities
for method development / method transfer and CFR resolution. Dr. Cooper served as
a director at South Texas Accelerated Research Therapeutics (START) in San Antonio
where he was involved in the development of analytical methods and pharmacokinetic
studies for new oncology drug candidates. His previous experience includes positions
as director of Bioanalytical Laboratory for CTRC Institute for Drug Development
(now part of University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio) and adjunct
assistant professor at the College of Pharmacy, at The University of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Cooper has numerous papers, presentations, and published abstracts to his credit.
Dr. Cooper serves as Cerilliant’s primary LC-MS/MS expert and plays a key role in
the support of technical inquiries from Cerilliant customers, technical review of
laboratory data, and in the research and development of new methods and new products.
Anyu He, Ph.D. – Synthesis Operations
Dr. Anyu He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Shanghai Jiaotong University
with a focus on polymer materials. After working as a Process Engineer for four
years in industry, he immigrated to the US and obtained his Ph.D. in organic chemistry
from the University of Missouri-St Louis in 2005. Since then, he has worked as a
Postdoctoral Researcher and as an Instructor at the University of Texas Southwestern
Medical Center before joining Cerilliant in 2011. Dr. He has extensive experience
in the total synthesis of complex natural products, new methodology development,
medicinal chemistry, and process optimization. Dr. He has multiple novel research
papers published in top chemistry journals, and is an active reviewer for RSC and
Heather Lima, Ph.D. – Synthesis Operations
Dr. Lima joined Cerilliant as a Synthesis Chemist in 2012 after earning her Ph.D.
at the University of Texas at Arlington. Her graduate research focused on the total
synthesis of kealiiquinone and ageliferin, two imidazole-containing natural products,
and the development of new methods of C2 functionalization of imidazoles. She interned
at Abbott Laboratories, working in the Manufacturing Science and Technology division,
investigating manufacturing improvements of ritonavir, and participating in a pilot
plant campaign to manufacture APIs. Dr. Lima earned her B.S. in Biochemistry with
a minor in mathematics at the University of Texas at Arlington. Ms. Lima also serves
on Cerilliant’s cross-functional Safety Committee.
Lindsey Hess, Ph.D. – Synthesis Operations
Dr. Hess joined Cerilliant as a Synthesis Chemist in 2012 after working two years
at Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) where she was responsible for reviewing new
chemical literature, creating concept records for new publications and making them
searchable and available to scientists in industry and academia in the CAS database.
Ms. Hess earned her Ph.D. and M.A. degrees from Johns Hopkins University and her
B.S. in Chemistry from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Her post graduate research
work focused on the design and synthesis of semi-synthetic analogs of artemisinin
as orally active antimalarial drug candidates, novel Vitamin D3 analogs with antiproliferative
and low-calcemic activity, and the study and design of synthetic methods forming
enantiomerically pure α-hydroxy-β, γ-unsaturated esters and amides.
Ms. Hess holds three patents and has published several papers.
Sarah Aijaz, Ph.D., - Analytical Operations
Dr. Aijaz joined Cerilliant as an Analytical Chemist in 2012 after she received
her Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin. Her doctoral
research focused on single-molecule sensing and identification by Surface Enhanced
Raman Scattering (SERS). She utilized far-field and super-resolution imaging techniques
to investigate the mechanisms that make single-molecule SERS possible. As an IGERT
trainee at UT Austin, she had a strong focus on multidisciplinary research and collaborated
on a variety of projects including the study of surface plasmon propagation in silver
waveguides and the application of Raman spectroscopy as an XRD alternative to determine
the unit cell orientation of conjugated polymer crystals for applications in plastic
electronics. Sarah’s responsibilities at Cerilliant include supporting production
and research and development for Cerilliant catalog products and custom projects
through the application of NMR, HPLC, UPLC, and LC-MS/MS analytical techniques.
Dr. Aijaz earned her B.S. in Chemistry from Texas A&M University.
Sherri Pogue - President / Site Director
Prior to joining Cerilliant, Ms. Pogue was a long-time Partner of Lynch Investment
Company (renamed Argenta Partners, LP), a private equity firm located in Dallas,
Texas that sponsored the acquisition of Cerilliant from URS Corporation in August
2000. In her capacity as Partner with Lynch, Ms. Pogue was involved in all facets
of Lynch's M&A activities and served as the Lynch Managing Partner representing
investors and/or a board member in several portfolio investments in diverse industries
such as metals manufacturing, food distribution, transportation, and intellectual
property development. Prior to becoming Partner at Lynch, Ms. Pogue served in a
variety of financial management roles including CFO for Lynch and functional CFO
for several portfolio companies. Under Lynch’s ownership, Pogue served as Director
on Cerilliant's Board beginning in August of 2000 and then in September 2005 she
resigned her position at Lynch and relocated to Austin to become Cerilliant's Chief
Executive Officer and President. Upon the acquisition by Sigma-Aldrich December
2010, Pogue was named President of Cerilliant Corporation and serves as Site Director
in the Sigma-Aldrich system. Ms. Pogue has been instrumental in guiding Cerilliant’s
strategy and helping Cerilliant achieve strong growth since 2005. Today, Ms. Pogue
is responsible for all aspects of Cerilliant operations and serves on the New Product
Executive Committee and is executive sponsor of the Safety Committee.
Mitzi M. Rettinger - Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Ms. Rettinger is responsible for management and oversight of all sales and marketing
functions and serves on Cerilliant’s New Product Executive Committee. She began
her career in 1989 as a chemist in solution standard manufacturing and the quality
control lab for the Radian Analytical Products Division and later moved into the
synthesis laboratory. She subsequently transitioned to sales and technical support
in 1994 as Director of Marketing and Sales. In 2000 she was appointed to her current
position in connection with the formation of Cerilliant upon the divestiture of
the Analytical Products division by Radian International (then URS Corporation).
Ms. Rettinger is actively involved in the industry as a guest lecturer and expert
panelist and has been published in many industry publications. She is a member of
American Association for Clinical Chemistry, American Association of Pharmaceutical
Scientists, AOAC International, American Society for Mass Spectrometry, Society
of Forensic Toxicologists and serves on the NSF International Joint Committee on
Dietary Supplements. Ms. Rettinger received B.S. degrees in Chemistry and Biology
from Houston Baptist University in Houston, Texas.
Richard L. Trammell - Vice President, Regulatory Affairs
Prior to becoming a Vice President of Cerilliant, Mr. Trammell served as the Systems
Manager for the Radian Analytical Products Division. His responsibilities included
regulatory affairs, accounting, and quality assurance. Today, Mr. Trammell is responsible
for compliance with all federal and state regulations surrounding manufacture and
distribution of controlled substances, environmental and waste management, OSHA,
manufacturing of substances regulated under other federal agencies including ATFE,
as well as import and export compliance. Mr. Trammell serves as a member of the
Management Safety Committee and is also responsible for monitoring and assessment
of product safety and compliance issues. Mr. Trammell began his career as a Research
Assistant at Radian International in 1977, and has since served as Scientist, Staff
Scientist, Senior Scientist, and Senior Staff Scientist. He is the author of eight
different publications relating to reference materials. Mr. Trammell holds a B.B.A.
in Accounting from The University of Texas at Austin and a B.S. in Chemistry from
Pan American University in Edinburg, Texas.
Darren Barnhouse, Controller
Prior to joining Cerilliant, Mr. Barnhouse was Manager of Internal Audit at Sigma-Aldrich
Corporation, where he was responsible for supervising and performing financial and
operational reviews for Sigma-Aldrich locations worldwide. Darren is responsible
for the day-to-day accounting and financial activities at Cerilliant. Darren has
over 14 years experience in both public accounting and internal audit, having started
his career at KPMG’s St. Louis, Missouri office. Mr. Barnhouse is a C.P.A. and holds
a B.S. in Accounting from Missouri State University in Springfield.