OpenZika is a global research collaboration, led by Dr. Carolina Horta at the Universidade Federal de Goiás, Brazil.

Carolina Horta Andrade

Professor, Universidade Federal de Goiás

OpenZika Principal Investigator   

Dr. Carolina Horta is Adjunct Professor at Faculty of Pharmacy of Universidade Federal de Goiás (UFG), Brazil, and head of LabMol – Laboratory for Molecular Modeling and Drug Design. Her lab focuses on Computer-Aided Drug Design approaches for Neglected Tropical Diseases and Cancer, as well as the development of computational tools to predict pharmacokinetics and toxicity properties of chemical compounds. In 2015, she received the “International Rising Talents” award from L’Oréal – UNESCO for her project on Leishmaniasis Drug Discovery and she is affiliated member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences (ABC).

Sean Ekins

CEO, Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

OpenZika Co-Principal Investigator 

Dr. Sean Ekins graduated from the University of Aberdeen; receiving his M.Sc., Ph.D. and D.Sc in Clinical Pharmacology. He is CEO of Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc., CEO and Co-Founder at Phoenix Nest, CSO at the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation. He is on the Editorial Board of Pharmaceutical Research and has authored or co-authored ~250 peer reviewed scientific papers and book chapters as well as edited/ co-edited four books. He has received numerous SBIR or STTR grants and consults widely with academia and industry. His main interests are to identify compounds for neglected and rare diseases with academic collaborators and to try and work as openly as possible.

Alexander L. Perryman

Research Teaching Specialist, Rutgers University

OpenZika Co-Principal Investigator 

Dr. Alexander Perryman is a senior researcher in the Freundlich lab, with extensive training in developing and applying computational methods in drug discovery and in the biochemical mechanisms of multi-drug-resistance in infectious diseases. He is a member of the Center for Emerging & Re-emerging Pathogens, in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Neuroscience, at the Rutgers University, New Jersey Medical School. Previously, he was a Research Associate in Prof. Arthur J. Olson’s lab at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), where he ran the day-to-day operations of the FightAIDS@Home project (FAAH, the largest computational drug discovery project devoted to HIV/AIDS, which runs on IBM’s World Community Grid). While in the Olson lab, he also designed, led, and ran the largest computational drug discovery project ever performed against malaria, the GO Fight Against Malaria project (GO FAM), also on IBM’s World Community Grid.


Rodolpho Braga

Research Associate, Universidade Federal de Goiás

OpenZika Technical Coordinator

Dr. Rodolpho Braga joined Prof. Andrade’s laboratory in 2009. In 2015, he received his Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry at Universidade Federal de Goiás (UFG) and is currently a Research Associate. He develops chemoinformatics tools to support the computer-assisted drug design targeting Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and ADME/Tox properties prediction. He also designs novel chemoinformatic algorithms in R and Python. In 2012 and 2014 he was awarded with CINF Scholarship for Scientific Excellence of the American Chemical Society. In 2015, he was Visiting Professor at the University of Torino, Italy.


Melina Mottin

Research Associate, Universidade Federal de Goiás

Dr. Melina Mottin joined Prof. Andrade’s laboratory in 2016 as a Research Associate. She received her Ph.D in 2015 in Physical Chemistry at University of Campinas (UNICAMP). She is an expert in molecular dynamics simulations of biomolecules and molecular docking. The main goal of her research is to find new molecules able to inhibit Zika and other flavivirus proteins and to investigate the interaction between molecules and proteins, through the integration of several computational strategies.


Bruna Souza

Graduate Student, Universidade Federal de Goiás

Graduated in Biomedicine, Bruna joined Prof. Andrade’s Laboratory in 2018. She is master’s student in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Federal University of Goiás, GO, Brazil. She has experience in Molecular Biology and educational actions towards Dengue virus. Currently, she is working with modern cheminformatics and computer-aided drug discovery approaches mainly in the discovery of new drug candidates against Dengue and Zika viruses.


Roosevelt Alves da Silva

Professor, Universidade Federal de Goiás

Dr. Roosevelt Silva is Adjunct Professor at Regional Jataí, Universidade Federal de Goiás (UFG), Brazil, and head of NCBios – Collaborative Center of Biosystems. His lab focuses on Protein Structure Prediction and Computer-Aided Drug Design approaches for Neglected Tropical Diseases. He develops algorithms for Monte Carlo sampling of protein structures and Molecular Docking. In 2014-2015, he was a Postdoctoral fellow at the Yang Zhang Lab, Dep. of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics, University of Michigan, USA.



Wim Degrave

Senior Researcher, Laboratory for Functional Genomics and Bioinformatics, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz)

Dr. Degrave is a researcher at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His laboratory is dedicated to the functional study of genomes of microorganisms important in human health, comparative genomics using bioinformatics tools and wet lab research dedicated to the design and evaluation of new drugs, mostly in the field of neglected diseases, study of environmental bacteria, and biotechnology. Dr. Degrave led the Genome Comparison project and is currently co-running the Uncovering Genome Mysteries project on World Community Grid.

Ana Carolina Ramos Guimarães

Researcher, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz)

Dr. Ramos is a Researcher in Computational and Systems Biology at Fiocruz. She holds a BSc degree (2003) in Biology from the State University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). She received her Master’s degree (2006) and PhD (2010) on Cellular and Molecular Biology at the Oswaldo Cruz Institute (Oswaldo Cruz Foundation – Brazil) where she focused on bioinformatics and computational biology. Since 2013, she has been a researcher at Oswaldo Cruz Foundation working on the identification of molecular targets for drug development against parasitic organisms.

João Herminio

Researcher, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), Ceará Division

Dr. Herminio is a public health researcher with a degree in Biological Sciences, master’s degree in biophysics and a PhD in cellular and molecular biology. His area of study is focused on computational simulations of biological systems, particularly protein-protein interactions. His research fields are molecular dynamics of proteins and drugs, prediction of protein structures, molecular docking and computational prediction of free energy. His current interest is the development and application of drug design using “de novo” methods and virtual screening.

Jair L. Siqueira-Neto

Assistant Professor, University of California at San Diego                                                                                                                                                                            

Dr. Jair Siqueira-Neto is Director of the Screening Center at University of California at San Diego (UCSD) and Assistant Professor at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences – UCSD. He has experience in drug discovery and development for tropical neglected disease, having worked at the Institut Pasteur Korea and at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) prior to becoming faculty at UCSD. He was a pioneer in the development of the first phenotypic screening for Leishmania sp. and Trypanosoma cruzi. His research is focused on the development and implementation of high-throughput and high-content screening assays to identify active compounds against infectious agents. He is also interested in studying parasite-host interaction to understand the basics of disease and new targets for chemotherapy. His goal in this project will be to test the candidate compounds generated by this consortium for anti-viral activity.

Joel S. Freundlich

Associate Professor, Rutgers University

Medicinal Chemistry Consultant

Dr. Joel Freundlich is an Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Physiology & Neuroscience and of Medicine at Rutgers University–New Jersey Medical School. Prior to his return to academic research in 2006, he spent eight years in the pharmaceutical industry as a medicinal chemist. His undergraduate and master’s degree training were in chemical engineering at Cornell University as a McMullen Dean’s Scholar. He received his doctorate in organic chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under the tutelage of 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry awardee Richard Schrock.


Viktors Berstis, Technical Coordinator of OpenZika & Scientist

Juan Hindo, Project Manager

Erika Tuttle, Program Coordinator

Al Seippel, Developer

Jonathan Armstrong, Developer

Keith Uplinger, Lead Developer

Kevin Reed, Senior Developer

Sophia Tu, Program Manager

Caitlin Larkin, Communications