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About Amin Lab and Metabolic Therapeutics

Rajesh Amin

My overall research interest is focused on developing novel therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases and other metabolic-related diseases. To achieve this goal, my research focuses on target identification, in silico-based drug design and development, synthesis, and testing in vitro and in vivo. For example, we have recently had success in developing libraries of compounds for various nuclear receptors and applied them to improve behavioral deficits and synaptic plasticity in models of type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. More recent work has focused upon studying the dynamics of gut brain metabolites that alter synaptic plasticity. Lastly, my lab is entering a new area focused upon mitigating spine alteration in neurodegeneration by regulating the players in actin dynamics. These studies are diverse in mechanism however they are years’ worth of work and help define my labs past, present and future directions for the development of novel therapeutics for preventing the progression of mild cognitive impairment to late stage Alzheimer’s disease.


After undergoing rigorous postdoctoral training, at the Center of Integrative Medicine and Endocrine Research, a metabolic group resulting from the closure of Pfizer Ann Arbor, Michigan. I joined Auburn University as Assistant Professor, tenure track in 2010 and subsequently moved to Auburn, Alabama. I was promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure in 2016. We currently have received NIH, AHA, as well as institutional awards, including the very prestigious Presidential Award Institutional Research (PAIR) from Auburn University.


Rajesh Amin, Professor, pH.D. | Phone: 334-844-8295

Our Team

Our Team


Dr. Meenakshi Singh, Ph.D

Meenakshi Singh grew up in Chandigarh, India. She completed her post-graduation (2016) and Ph.D. (2021) in the Dept. of Natural Products at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER)- Kolkata. Before joining Auburn University, she served as Research associate-III at NIPER-Guwahati.

Her research interest blended with various plant secondary metabolites and their functional diversity for treating chronic/metabolic diseases. She uses the computational resource to guide her experimental research. She worked on designing p53/MDM2 inhibitors via 1,3 dipolar-cycloaddition reaction for cancer treatment. Besides chemistry, to rejuvenate the neurons, Meenakshi enjoys spending time with friends and family, meditating, visiting galleries and traveling, and listening to folk and pop songs. She envisages and appreciates new experiences in chemistry and life.

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Ian Steinke

I’m originally from Alpena, Michigan where I received an associate’s degree in Chemistry from Alpena Community College. From there I transitioned to Big Rapids, Michigan to attend Ferris State University where I received both an associates degree and Bachelor of Science for Industrial Chemistry Technologies. At Ferris State University I became involved in two separate research projects involving organic chemistry and medicinal chemistry. This spurred my interest in pursuing graduate school at Auburn University’s Harrison College of Pharmacy for medicinal chemistry. Currently I am learning how to apply both synthetic and medicinal chemistry concepts to develop novel compounds for disease intervention. In conjunction, I am also learning how to test my compounds in vitro to validate activity.


Sampada Tamankar 

I come from a city of dreams in India- Mumbai. I obtained my Bachelor of Pharmacy at Viva Institute of Pharmacy, affiliated with the University of Mumbai then pursued my MS at India’s most reputed and top university–NIPER-SAS Nagar where I focused on protein binding and its characterization using spectrometric techniques. However, my keenness toward in vivo characterization and understanding the signaling mechanisms in cell lines and animal models is what drove my interest in pharmacology. I am very excited to be involved in Neuroscience research focused on frontal temporal dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. My project will focus on novel drug discovery and development for inhibiting the MARK/PAR-1-Tau signaling axis.

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Joyal Xavier

Joyal Xavier, born and raised in Kerala, India in a district named Kollam. I received my bachelor's degree, Government College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Medical College, Kottayam.

As a Junior Research Fellow at CSIR-CIMAP, I worked on various phytochemicals to target receptors involved in cancer cell metastasis and proliferation. For this, we initially use docking methods to find the binding affinity of selected chemicals with the receptors, and then we continue with the confirmational studies with assays, cell cycle analysis by flow cytometry, fluorescence microscopy, in vitro studies in malignant cell lines, and in vivo studies in cancer.

Currently, I have joined Dr. Amin’s lab to further develop my skills in silico drug design and development for metabolic-related diseases. 

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Ariel Dulaney

I am Ariel Dulaney. I am from Bay Minette, AL. I attended the University of Massachusetts Lowell where I played D1 volleyball and attained my bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Mathematics. I’m currently enrolled in the Harrison College of Pharmacy and wish to pursue a potential degree with a pharmaceutical sciences background. 


Kat Schoenrock

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Fajar Setyo Wibowo


Nic Crall

I’m initially from Rockford, Michigan and moved to Big Rapids to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology from Ferris State University. Here I became involved with the Hagerman School of Pharmacy to develop synthetic schemes and computationally model novel PPAR agonists in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease. Between synthetic chemistry, computational modeling, and instrumentation, I found a passion for medicinal chemistry. My passion for drug discovery led to an internship in Dr. Amin’s lab at Auburn’s medicinal chemistry program during the summer of my Junior year. The internship at Auburn helped further develop techniques in computational and synthetic chemistry. Upon completion of the internship this past summer, I joined the graduate program in  pharmaceutical sciences-medicinal chemistry PhD program under the guidance of Dr. Amin through the Harrison College of Pharmacy drug discovery and development department at Auburn University to continue studying Alzheimer’s Disease. My project will focus on development of novel RANBP9 inhibitors for mitigating pathologies associated with Alzheimer’s disease including amyloid beta and cofilin rods, all reducing spine density in the neurons. 

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