Research & Development Team

Our extensive R&D expertise includes Mydecine staff members as well as our partners at Applied Pharmaceutical Innovations (API). API is an industry-led, not-for-profit organization at the University of Alberta that supports the development of life science products and companies. This exclusive partnership provides Mydecine with expanded capabilities to support multiple drug development and clinical trial programs simultaneously.

As an experienced geneticist, Mr. Roscow has spent his academic and professional career identifying valuable and unique medicinal molecules found in nature. He holds both master’s and bachelor’s degrees in biology. Prior to joining Mydecine, Mr. Roscow was director of genetics at Victory Hemp Foods and also at ebbu, which was acquired as a subsidiary of Canopy Growth Corporation, the largest cannabis company in the world. At ebbu, Mr. Roscow ran the world’s first cannabis genetic editing laboratory. He has leveraged an expertise in genomics, evolution and molecular biology to identify novel molecules and advance their use in a pharmacological context. His work has resulted in multiple patent filings and accolades in a variety of scientific and popular publications.

Headshot of Brian Duff Sloley, B.S., M.S., Ph.D.

Dr. Sloley holds a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Waterloo and has over 35 years of experience in analytical research and product development, including positions at the University of Saskatchewan’s Neuropsychiatric Research Unit, Novokin Biotech, Sinoveda and Radient Technologies. Dr. Sloley’s specialties include comparative neurobiology with a focus on neurotransmitter identification, metabolism and disruption, as well as botanical composition. Dr. Sloley has extensive experience working in analytical biochemistry in a GLP setting including HPLC, LCMS/MS, UV absorbance and fluorescent detection. Dr. Sloley is an active member of the Alberta Mycological Society and will be instrumental in characterizing and discovering new potent compounds, as well as working with the society to source novel fungi.

Headshot of Rong Ling, B.S., M.S., Ph.D.

Dr. Ling has more than 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical research and development. Over the course of her career, she has made several innovative discoveries, including a novel beta-lactamase inhibitor that was acquired by Roche. As an experienced chemist, she has contributed to many patents and has extensively published her research in many leading journals, such as Tetrahedron. As a chemist with API, Dr. Ling plays a significant role in Mydecine’s novel compound development pipeline.

Headshot of Khaled Barakat, Ph.D., M.S., EIT

Associate Professor Dr. Barakat received his Ph.D. in biophysics from the University of Alberta in 2012, followed by a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of the Nobel Laureate, Professor Michael Houghton. Dr. Barakat joined the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Alberta in 2014, after receiving both his bachelor of electrical engineering with distinction and his master’s degree in engineering physics from Cairo University, Egypt. His research stands at the interface of physics, biology and computer science – focusing on the structure-function relationship of cardiac ion channels and on developing and applying state-of-the-art computational drug discovery tools to identify new antiviral and immunotherapeutic small molecule drugs. During his career, Dr. Barakat has received numerous awards, including the CIHR and AIHS postdoctoral fellowships, the prestigious University of Alberta dissertation award and the ACRI Studentship award. He is the editor of a number of journals and is the CEO and co-founder of HEKA Therapeutics Inc. and co-founder of ACHLYS -- two spinoff companies devoted to drug discovery of immune checkpoints small molecule inhibitors and predicting off-target toxicity of new compounds in drug discovery. As a PI with API, Dr. Barakat leads Mydecine’s AI/ML platform.

Headshot of Raimar Loebenberg, B.S., Ph.D.

Dr. Loebenberg is an expert in area of pharmaceutics, drug development and delivery. He is a member of the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) expert committee for Dietary Supplements and Herbal Medicines and chair of the subcommittee for performance testing of dietary supplements, member of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Steering Committee for Drug Release and Dissolution Testing and vice chair of Specialty Committee for Pharmaceutical Quality of Traditional Medicines of the World Foundation of Traditional Chinese Medicines, and a past president of the Canadian Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences. Dr. Loebenberg is serving as Mydecine’s expert in controlled substances, formulation and GMP manufacturing.

Headshot of Vijay Somayaji, B.S., Ph.D.

Dr. Somayaji has more than 30 years of combined academic and biotech industry experience in various areas, including research and development, product development, and quality assurance and quality control. She obtained her Ph.D. in chemistry from Indian Institute of Science and did her post-doctoral work with Dr. H.C. Brown (Nobel Laureate) at Purdue University. At the University of Alberta, she worked as a research associate with Dr. L.I. Wiebe (Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences) before joining Biomira Inc. as a senior scientist. She has since worked as manager of product development at AltaRex Corp., as director of product development at Novolytic Inc., as director of drug development at Virexx Medical Corp., and as a Quality Assurance and Quality Control consultant for IMbiotechnologies Ltd. Dr. Somayaji is serving as QA/QC for Mydecine’s clinical manufacturing.

Headshot of Chuanjun (CJ) Gao, B.S., M.S., Ph.D.

With over 20 years of experience in GLP and GMP environments, Dr. Gao is a seasoned chemist. He excels in complex, multi-step syntheses from drug discovery to large scale industrial projects. As a knowledgeable scientist, he excels at analysis and is proficient at NMR (1D and 2D), MS, GC, HPLC, IR and LC/GC-MS. Dr. Gao plays a significant role in Mydecine's novel compound development pipeline.

Mr. MacIsaac is director and CEO at Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation. With a background in economics and public sector management, Mr. MacIsaac was previously Assistant Dean at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and held various roles in the Alberta School of Business and UBC Sauder School of Business. Over his career, Mr. MacIsaac has worked to building bridges between academia, industry, philanthropy and government to further economic growth and societal impact. Projects he has worked on have led to nearly $700 million in economic impact, and he was the recipient of the 2022 Edifier Award for his work with API. He also serves on the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, Policy Committee, the Province of Alberta Research Commercialization Working Group, the Calgary Life Sciences Innovation Hub Steering Committee, and the Edmonton Health City Steering Committee, as well as on other boards and advisory groups.

Mr. Aginsky brings a wealth of knowledge to the team, with more than 40 years of experience in pharmaceutical development and implementation of drug manufacturing projects. His career history includes positions at Abbott, Merck and Genpharm, with roles such as vice president of production, plant manager and general manager. Mr. Aginsky has conducted quality audits and reviews at sites in more than 24 countries, and established many sites of pharmaceutical production spanning a wide range of drugs in the U.S., China, India and Canada, all with USFDA/Health Canada/MHRA regulatory accreditation.

Dr. Koul has a master’s of science in plant biotechnology and a Ph.D. in molecular biology/genomics of plants. During her doctoral work, she isolated and characterized anti-cancerous metabolites along with conducting cloning, gene expression, microRNA, bioinformatics and regulatory studies. Dr. Koul was instrumental in the pioneering of decoding the main regulatory mechanism behind the carotenogenesis process in tomatoes. She has published her research in Nature and other international journals, and received an award for best publication for a piece in the Oxford Journal where she elaborated on the regulatory mechanisms behind secondary metabolic pathways. She also has completed several post-doctoral fellowships at global universities. As a scientist at Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation, Dr. Koul's prime projects are mushroom cultivation for manipulating various active metabolites naturally, cell toxicity, and cell permeability testing (R&D), as well as analyzing the active compounds using LC/MS.

Headshot of Pete Apicella, B.S., M.S.

Pete Apicella earned a master of science degree in plant biology from the University of Connecticut. He is the author of several peer-reviewed publications that focus on fungal plant pathogens, biochemistry, genetics, as well as the use of tissue culture for genetic engineering purposes. For several years, Pete has studied the genetic underpinnings of natural product biosynthesis in various species. At Mydecine, he is leading the implementation of synthetic biology research to enhance biomanufacturing capabilities for psychedelic and functional compounds found in fungi.

Headshot of Kira Wells, B.S.

Kira Wells began as a research associate in Mydecine’s Denver Mycology Lab early in 2021, handling the analytical chemistry and spearheading solubilization efforts with functional mushrooms, and her role has expanded to include project coordination. She received her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Colorado School of Mines, where she worked on a project studying laminar flame speed. Previously, she worked in a molecular biology laboratory where she conducted genetic testing of food exports and moved on to handle human forensics. Most recently, she worked in a cannabis lab producing a CBD isolate.

Headshot of Alex Ditto, B.S.

Alex Ditto earned a bachelor’s degree in ecology and evolutionary biology with a minor in biochemistry from the University of Colorado Boulder. Alex brings experience leading teams in emerging businesses, and his areas of study include fungal ecology and chemistry, soil ecology, global development, agronomy, environmental studies and sustainability. At Mydecine, he is developing cultivation and biomanufacturing strategies to advance the production of psychedelic and functional compounds.