Leading up to the GC&E Conference we will be posting interviews with our 2017 GC&E Conference organizers to learn a little more about them and the excellent sessions you can look forward to at this year’s conference!
Q: What motivates you to work in the green chemistry & engineering space?
A: I became very interested in green chemistry & engineering during my 2014 MBA thesis, where I had planned a general review of this field. However, as I began reviewing and writing, I noticed a major deficiency in the field: the highly inconsistent application of available metrics. It was simply impossible to tell from metrics applications whether a process was green or not.
From my perspective, consistency is critical for credibility, so I set out to develop an approach that would address the consistency topic, seeking input, in particular, from Yale Faculty Prof. David Bach; Boehringer Ingelheim colleague, Dr. Chris Senanayake; and E factor inventor, Prof. Roger Sheldon. And so emerged the Green Aspiration Level, or GAL – not a new metric per se, but rather a green chemistry manufacturing goal based on PMI or complete E factor averages relative to industry (Green Chem. 2015, 17, 752-768).
The GAL allows, for the first time, the meaningful evaluation of the greenness of any drug manufacturing process. The concept was subsequently enhanced through the outstanding collaboration of nine large pharmaceutical firms, with the analysis of 46 processes and the introduction of the Green Scorecard reporting tool (Green Chem. 2017, 19, 281-285; Nexus Blog 14-Dec-2016).
What motivates me to continue working in green chemistry & engineering is the desire to help catalyze the full adoption of the GAL methodology in the pharmaceutical and fine chemical industries. By some estimates, the pharmaceutical industry alone produced 10 billion kg of waste in 2008 (Cue, B. W. (2012) Green Chemistry Strategies for Medicinal Chemists, in Green Techniques for Organic Synthesis and Medicinal Chemistry, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, UK). Since GAL is a green chemistry goal, it will, if fully implemented around the globe, highly motivate scientists to actively reduce waste as part of their daily routines – and a 10-20 percent, or 1-2 billion kg, achievable reduction of global waste would have tremendous long-term benefits to the environment and human health. It is this vision that drives my continued efforts in this space.
Q: In one sentence, describe the session you are organizing at GC&E.
A: I am organizing a session around green chemistry metrics titled “How Green is Green? Metrics Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” and am very fortunate to be joined by highly renowned academic speakers – Prof. Anastas, the “father” of green chemistry, and Prof. Sheldon, the inventor of the E factor – alongside well-known industry speakers Drs. Jimenez-Gonzales (GSK), Martin Eastgate (BMS) and Kristi Budzinski (Genentech) to provide a state-of-the art overview of the topic. This will be an exciting session, and I encourage everyone who is involved in the fields of green chemistry and engineering to attend.
Q: What will attendees learn at your GC&E session? What makes it unique?
A: Attendees will gain first-hand insights from experts in the field, ranging from metrics evolution to Life Cycle Analysis, PMI/E factor prediction to enable synthesis route selection, PMI assessment of biologics, and the Green Aspiration Level concept to assess and rate manufacturing greenness. Attendees will learn everything important about green metrics and likely new aspects that they were not aware of before. The attendees will gain knowledge from this session that is practical and may be applicable to their own fields of green chemistry and engineering work.
Q: What is your favorite aspect of the GC&E Conference (or what are you looking forward to)?
A: The new insights and ideas presented in the metrics session are not only aimed at inspiring and actualizing greener manufacturing within the pharmaceutical industry, but they could also have widespread implications for broader fine chemical manufacture. This session will hopefully influence green thinking and stimulate discussion within diverse scientific and industrial communities. I am very much looking forward to those discussions at the conference.
Q: What are you currently focused on in your work or research?
A: I am a Director of Process Research and Global External Chemistry Management at Boehringer Ingelheim, located in Connecticut, USA. In this function, I am leading five teams of process researchers, analytical researchers, and the outsourcing group to enable rapid and economical API process research and supply drugs for preclinical and clinical development studies. I am responsible for the synthesis design, development, scale-up, and transfer of safe, robust, green, and cost-effective manufacturing processes. I am also engaged in innovation strategy, alternative drug development, and IP management. Importantly, a new collaboration project between 10 large pharmaceutical firms aims to prepare a follow-on manuscript to the GAL/Green Scorecard methodology later this year.
Q: If you weren't a chemist, what would you be doing?
A: I loved all sciences in high school and as an undergraduate student, so I would likely be a mathematician or physicist.
Q: When you aren't at work, how do you spend your free time?
A: I like traveling within the U.S. and overseas as well as hiking, gardening, and enjoying delicious food.
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