Personal Statement

I am a health informatics data scientist with interests in knowledge management applied to target and drug discovery, translational bioinformatics, target and drug repositioning, and health-record analytics. At AstraZeneca, I conceptually developed the lead-like approach for combinatorial chemistry and fragment-based drug discovery.

As Director for Screening Informatics for UNM’s Center for Molecular Discovery, and as Drug Discovery core member at the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center, I evaluated over 500 bio-assays spanning hundreds of thousands of chemicals, and more than 50 target-based projects. This led to the identification of 7 NIH-designated chemical probes, including high-activity compounds for the G-protein coupled estrogen receptor (GPER), the formyl peptide receptors 1 and 2 (FPR, FPR2), the small GTP-ases Rac1 and Cdc42, and the ABCG2 efflux transporter, as well as a selective inhibitor for GLUT5, a fructose-only transporter. My in silico drug repositioning work at UNM led to anti-cancer clinical trials for Raltegravir (NCT01275183; as metnase inhibitor) and R-ketorolac (NCT01670799; as Rac1/Cdc42 inhibitor). I spent 4 years with Leslie Benet at UCSF (2007-2011) mining pharmacokinetics data, to understand the impact of drug metabolism and drug solubility on biodisponibility, drug safety and drug efficacy.

As Guest Professor in Denmark, I assisted with data analytics of the Danish National Population Health Registry, 6.2 million patients over a 15-year period. Since 1989, I have been developing machine-learning (ML) models, initially applied to chemical informatics, and more recently for computational biology and medicine. To date, I have co-authored over 225 publications and 8 granted US patents.

I serve as PI for the NIH Common Fund project "Illuminating the Druggable Genome Knowledge Management Center“ (U54 CA189205, 8/1/14 – 12/31/17; and U24 CA224370, 1/01/18 – 12/31/23). In this role, I coordinate knowledge management efforts across multiple levels, from tissue expression and protein function to role in disease and target prioritization for experiments and drug discovery. My team routinely processes and integrates data related to genes, drugs, proteins, pathways and clinical records from literature and patents, as well as data from drug labels and clinical trials, in order to properly map drugs, diseases and to evaluate drug repositioning potential. We have an adaptive, scalable and evolving knowledge mining and ML system dedicated to human disease biology, drug discovery and repositioning. Specifically, for the P30 Cancer Center Support Grant, I will serve as co-Director of Bioinformatics. We will integrate small molecule and drug target data using the Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia, the L1000 (LINCS) signatures, TCGA and other relevant cancer resources, as needed by members of the UNM Cancer Center.

Areas of Specialty

  • 1993, Member, American Chemical Society (ACS)
  • 2003 - 2008, Member, Scientific Advisory Board, ChemDiv, Inc.
  • 2005, Member of the Editorial Board, ChemMedChem (Wiley)
  • 2005 - 2008, Member of the Advisory Workgroup, National Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC), NHGRI
  • 2005 - 2012, Chair, QSAR and Modeling Society
  • 2006 - 2012, Member of the Editorial Board, Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling
  • 2010, Member, American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS)
  • 2010 - 2016, Member of the Editorial Board, Molecular Informatics (Wiley)
  • 2010 - 2017, Member of the Chemistry Advisory Committee, European Bioinformatics Institute, EMBL-EBI (Hinxton, UK)
  • 2010 - 2018, Member of the Scientific Advisory Board, Institut Municipal d'Investigacio Medica, IMIM (Barcelona, Spain)
  • 2011, Member, Internet-Assisted Review Panel for DP2, NIH Director’s New Innovator Awards
  • 2012 - 2019, Member, American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA)
  • 2014, Founding Member and Chair, Hansch Fujita Foundation
  • 2014 - 2014, Member of the Long Range Planning Committee, NIH-NCATS
  • 2015, Reviewer, Institute of Medicine Review Draft on Biomarker Tests for Molecularly Targeted Therapies: Key to Unlocking Precision Medicine
  • 2015, Member, Institute of Medicine Drug Discovery Forum "Mapping and Connecting the Biomedical Innovation Ecosystem" Action Collaborative

Graduate: University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Timisoara, Timis, Romania, 1992

Med School: University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Timisoara, Timis, Romania, 1992

Post Graduate: FellowWashington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA, 1994


  • Romanian, Swedish