Our Team

Matthew David Disney

Professor
Department of Chemistry
Graduate Program Faculty Member, Kellogg School of Science and Engineering
Email: Disney@scripps.edu

Positions:

-Regional Editor for the Americas, Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters
-Scientific Advisory Board, The University at Albany The RNA Institute

Education:

Grade 1-8, Saint Ursula School, Baltimore, Maryland
Grade 9-12, Calvert Hall College, Towson, Maryland
B.S., Chemistry, The University of Maryland, College Park, 1997
M.S., Physical Chemistry, The University of Rochester, 1999
Ph.D., Chemistry, The University of Rochester, 2003
Post Doctoral Fellow: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and ETH Zürich – Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, 2002-2004

Awards and Honors:

  • NIH Director’s Pionneer Award, 2016
  • Tetrahedron Young Investigator Award in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, 2016
  • Blavatnik Young Scientists Award Finalist, 2015
  • David W. Robertson Award in Medicinal Chemistry.  Awarded by the American Chemical Society’s Division of Medicinal Chemistry for having a primary role in the discovery of a novel therapeutic agents, targets, theoretical concepts in medicinal chemistry or drug discovery, and making a significant scientific discovery that enhances the field of medicinal chemistry. 2014
  • Excellence Award in the field of Research in Science and Technology.  India-US Chamber of Commerce, Inc., South Florida.  2013
  • Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry.  Awarded by the American Chemical Society’s Biological Chemistry Division for outstanding research in biological chemistry of unusual merit and independence of thought and originality.  2013
  • The American Chemical Society Division of Carbohydrate Chemistry David Y. Gin Award. 2011
  • University at Buffalo, Exceptional Scholar – Young Investigator Award. June 2011
  • Camille & Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. August 2010 – July 2015
  • Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar Award. July 2008 – June 2011
  • NYSTAR JD Watson Young Investigator Award. July 2007 – June 2009
  • Camille & Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award. September 2005 – August 2010
  • Second Year Roche Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship; Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH, Zürich). June 2005 January 2005
  • Roche Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship; Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH, Zürich). June 2003 – May 2004
  • Arnold Weissberger Memorial Fellow; University of Rochester. 2001 – 2002
  • Elon Huntington Hooker Memorial Fellow; University of Rochester. 2000 – 2001
  • Sherman-Clark Memorial Fellow; University of Rochester. 1997 – 1999
  • Eric A. Batista Award; University of Maryland, College Park. Award for most outstanding undergraduate research. 1997
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Research Fellow; University of Maryland, College Park. 1995 – 1997

Current Group Members

Jessica Childs-Disney
Staff Scientist
Department of Chemistry

Education:
Messiah College, Grantham PA B.S. 05/98 Chemistry, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY M.S. 05/00 Chemistry. University of Rochester, Rochester, NY Ph,D. 05/03 Biophysical Chemistry, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). Zürich, Switzerland Post Doctoral 08/03-3/05 Carbohydrates

Sai Velagapudi
Research Associate
Department of Chemistry

Education:
B.S., Pharmaceutical Sciences, Andhra University, India, 2006

Suzanne Rzuczek
Research Associate
Department of Chemistry

Education:
PharmD., Rutgers University, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, New Brunswick, NJ, 2005
Ph.D., Medicinal Chemistry, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, 2011

Jonathan Chen
Research Associate
Department of Chemistry

Education: 2015 Ph.D., Chemistry, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY. 2008 M.S., Chemistry, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. 2006 B.S., Optics (with distinction, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY.

Andrei Ursu
Research Associate
Department of Chemistry

Education:  2011- PhD, International Max Planck Research School in Chemical and Molecular Biology (IMPRS-CMB). 2008- Master of Science in Chemistry, Technical University Munich. 2004- Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (First-Class Honours), University of Bucharest, Romania .

Hafeez Haniff
Graduate Student
Department of Chemistry

Education:  University of Central Florida 2010 – 2014 Bachelors Degree Chemistry B.S. Magna Cum Laude. The Scripps Research Institute 2014 – Present, Ph.D Candidate Disney Lab

Matthew Costales
Graduate Student
Department of Chemistry

Education:  University of Maryland, College Park 2008 – 2012 B.S. Chemistry with Honors, Minor in Neuroscience. The Scripps Research Institute 2014 – Present, Ph.D. Candidate in Chemical and Biological Sciences, Disney Lab

Alicia Angelbello
Graduate Student
Department of Chemistry

Education:  Villanova University 2011 – 2015 B.S. Chemistry. Scripps Research Institute 2015 – present

Zi-Fu Wang
Research Associate
Department of Chemistry

Education: 2007 B.S. in Chemistry, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan. 2008 M.S. in Chemistry, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan 2013 Ph.D. in Chemistry, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan. 2013-present Postdoctoral researcher, Academia Sinica 

Peiyuan Zhang
Graduate Student
Department of Chemistry

Education:  B.S., Chemistry, Nanjing University, China, 2016.  Currently Graduate student in Disney lab.

Anthony Vargas
Lab Helper
Department of Chemistry

Education:  2012-Present Palm Beach State College, Palm Beach Gardens, FL