Molnupiravir and Drug Discovery Experts

George Painter

CEO of Drug Innovations at Emory (DRIVE); Director of the Emory Institute for Drug Development (EIDD); and Professor of Pharmacology, Emory University School of Medicine

Areas of focus: Discovery and initial development of molnupiravir; how antivirals work; DRIVE

George Painter, PhD, led the discovery of molnupiravir at Emory. He holds more than 150 patents, many of which have led to approved, commercially available drugs or combinations of drugs for the treatment of HIV, hepatitis B, smallpox, influenza, and coronavirus infections. During the past 30 years, he has played a major role in the discovery, development, and implementation of modern antiviral therapy. Prior to coming to Emory, Painter held senior management positions in large pharmaceutical companies. He earned a BS in chemistry, an MS in physical organic chemistry, and a PhD in synthetic chemistry from Emory University.

Painter complete bio

Sample Clip: ‘The Moment It Worked’
photo of George Painter

Dennis Liotta

Executive Director, Emory Institute for Drug Development; Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor in the Department of Chemistry, Emory College of Arts and Sciences

Areas of focus: Antiviral drugs and how they work; drug discovery and development

Dennis Liotta, PhD, is recognized as one of the premier inventors of novel therapeutics in the United States. His research has focused on the discovery and development of antiviral, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory therapeutic agents. Liotta is one of the leaders of the Emory research team that discovered the antiviral drug Emtriva (emtricitabine), which was approved for treating HIV in July 2003.

Liotta complete bio

Sample clip: Dennis Liotta, the chemist
Photo of Dennis Liotta

Todd Sherer

Associate Vice President for Research, Office of Technology Transfer

Areas of focus: Molnupiravir and the science behind it; drug discovery, including the technology and mechanics of how drugs move from the lab to people

Todd Sherer, PhD, leads a team focused on innovative clinical and nonclinical research partnerships and creating value in technology developed by Emory researchers. In 2005, he worked with colleagues to monetize downstream licensing revenues on an Emory-discovered molecule that is now part of the leading AIDS drug cocktail, resulting in a $540 million one-time payment. Prior to joining Emory, Sherer led the Technology and Research Collaborations office at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Oregon.

Sherer is past president of the Association of University Technology Managers. He is currently chair of the board of directors of Southeast BIO. He is a registered patent agent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He is also a registered technology transfer professional and a certified licensing professional.

Sherer complete bio

Sample Clip: Emory University on the Road to BIO
photo of Todd Sherer

David S. Stephens

Vice President of Research, Woodruff Health Sciences Center

Areas of focus: Antivirals and how molnupiravir compares to other treatments for COVID-19; infectious diseases currently and historically; infectious diseases research

David S. Stephens, MD, oversees the Woodruff Health Sciences Center (WHSC) research enterprise and leads planning activities that enhance research programs and collaborations throughout WHSC and Emory University. He is also chair of the Department of Medicine and the Stephen W. Schwarzmann Distinguished Professor of Medicine.

Stephens joined the Department of Medicine faculty in 1982 and was named director of the Division of Infectious Diseases in 1992. He served in that role until 2013 and led the development of very successful programs in infectious diseases, epidemiology, and microbial pathogenesis.

Stephens complete bio

Sample Clip: History of Research in the Department of Medicine
photo of David Stephens

David Perryman

COO, Drug Innovation Ventures at Emory (DRIVE)

Areas of focus: Molnupiravir discovery and initial development; other DRIVE initiatives

David Perryman, JD, was formerly president, CEO, and a founder of Zirus. He has played many roles in his 25 years in the biotechnology industry. In addition to Zirus, Perryman has founded two other biotechnology companies—one was acquired and the second became a publicly traded company. He has served on the boards of directors of these and other biotechnology companies.

photo of David Perryman

Deborah Watkins Bruner

Senior Vice President for Research, Emory University

Areas of focus: Drug development at Emory; role of academic research and federal funding in innovation

Deborah Watkins Bruner, PhD, partners with other research leaders across Emory to identify and facilitate interdisciplinary research, including breaking down institutional and cultural barriers to encourage opportunities for collaboration through academic activities that reach across schools, colleges, centers, and institutes.

An internationally renowned researcher and clinical trials expert with a focus on patient-reported outcomes, Bruner also serves as the Robert W. Woodruff Professor and Chair in Nursing and assistant dean for faculty mentoring at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. Bruner holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the School of Medicine and serves as associate director of faculty mentorship, training, and education at Winship Cancer Institute.

Bruner complete bio

Sample Clip: COVID-19 Research at Emory
photo of Deborah Watkins Bruner

Carlos del Rio

Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Emory University School of Medicine; Professor of Global Health and Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health; and Executive Associate Dean, Grady Health System

Areas of focus: COVID-19 in the US and the world from a medical and public health standpoint; current vaccines and treatments in use; molnupiravir and Pfizer pill

Carlos del Rio, MD, is principal investigator and co-director of the Emory Center for AIDS Research and co-principal investigator of the Emory-CDC HIV Clinical Trials Unit and the Emory Vaccine Treatment and Evaluation Unit. Del Rio is a native of Mexico, where he attended medical school at Universidad La Salle, graduating in 1983. He completed his internal medicine and infectious diseases residencies at Emory.

Del Rio complete bio

Sample Clip: Emory’s Dr. Carlos del Rio on the Policy Updates Surrounding the COVID-19 Delta Variant
photo of Carlos del Rio

Colleen Kelley

Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Emory University School of Medicine

Areas of focus: Molnupiravir and antiviral pills such as Pfizer in the pipeline; vaccines currently in use; current state of COVID-19

Colleen Kelley, MD, is a principal investigator for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine trials at Emory and a longtime infectious diseases clinician and epidemiologist. She has a multidisciplinary background in HIV medicine, clinical outcomes research, general infectious diseases, and public health.

Kelley complete bio

Sample Clip: Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Update
photo of Colleen Kelley

Colleen S. Kraft

Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Emory University School of Medicine; Associate Chief Medical Officer at Emory University Hospital

Areas of focus: COVID-19 updates; vaccines in use; and molnupiravir and Pfizer pill 

In addition to her School of Medicine appointments, Colleen S. Kraft, MD, is director of the Clinical Virology Research Laboratory, an Emory service center that performs molecular testing.

Kraft was one of the physician leaders in the effort at Emory University Hospital to receive and care for patients who contracted Ebola virus disease in West Africa in 2014, when the largest outbreak of Ebola took place and health care workers were particularly vulnerable to acquisition of this viral infection. Emory University Hospital has had a Serious Communicable Diseases unit since 2001, and she has been a part of the semiannual drills since 2010.

Kraft complete bio

Sample Clip: CDC Advisers Meet Today to Debate Pfizer Vaccine Booster Shots
photo of Colleen Kraft

Wilbur Lam

Professor of Pediatrics, Emory School of Medicine, and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Emory University and Georgia Institute of Technology

Areas of focus: COVID-19 diagnostics and testing

Wilbur Lam co-leads a team of researchers on a federally funded initiative designed to rapidly transform new technology into widely accessible diagnostic tools to detect COVID-19. He and his colleagues have spent much of the pandemic deeply focused on testing many COVID-19 tests to determine their accuracy and viability.

Lam complete bio

Sample clip: On new at-home test for COVID-19
Wilbur Lam photo

Rebecca Martin

Vice President for Global Health, Emory University; Director of Emory Global Health Institute

Areas of focus: COVID-19’s global impact and equitable access; Emory eminence in research, public health infrastructure, and preventing the next pandemic

As a member of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center leadership team, Rebecca Martin, PhD, works to build and align the diverse, multidisciplinary global health infrastructure and foster global collaborations across Emory University and global health organizations. She leads efforts to foster interdisciplinary global health research and works to build the next generation of global health leaders.

Previously, Martin had a 22-year public health career at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most recently, she served as director of the Center for Global Health for the past six years. Martin has worked both domestically and internationally in immunization, HIV, health system strengthening, and global health security. She has led CDC’s global efforts to protect and improve health globally through science, policy, partnership, and evidence-based public health action.

Martin complete bio

Sample Clip: GHC3 Talks to Dr. Rebecca Martin, CDC Global Health Center
photo of Rebecca Martin

Aneesh Mehta

Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Emory University School of Medicine

Areas of focus: Impact of SARS-CoV-2 and variants; vaccines and treatments for COVID-19; protection against infections in the immunocompromised

In July 2009, Aneesh Mehta, MD, joined the faculty of Emory University. He is also assistant director of the Transplant Infectious Diseases (ID) Section. In 2013, he was made associate chief of ID Services for Emory University Hospital and Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital. In 2020, Mehta was named the chief of ID Services for Emory University Hospital and Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital.

Mehta was one of the clinicians who cared for Ebola patients at Emory in 2014. In the current pandemic, he has played an active role on the front lines of patient care and has also led clinical trials for treatment of COVID-19.

Mehta complete bio

Sample Clip: Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan Speaks with Aneesh Mehta about the COVID-19 Vaccine
photo of Aneesh Mehta

Jay Varkey

Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases, Emory University School of Medicine

Areas of focus: COVID-19 boosters and vaccines in use; COVID-19 updates; molnupiravir and Pfizer pill

Jay Varkey, MD, received his BA from Marquette University and is an AOA graduate of the Medical College of Wisconsin. He completed his residency in internal medicine and fellowship in infectious diseases at Duke University Medical Center, where he was a member of the Antimicrobial Evaluation Team and the Infection Control and Epidemiology Committee.

He was recruited to Emory in 2009 to become the director of the Antimicrobial Management Program and associate hospital epidemiologist at Emory University Hospital. He also serves as co-director of the Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Treatment Clinic at Emory and hospital epidemiologist at the Wesley Woods Geriatric Hospital of Emory University.

Varkey complete bio

Sample Clip: 45% Rise in NYC Daily Vaccinations Since Mandates Announced
photo of Jay Varkey