Michael Pollastri

Combating neglected tropical diseases

Senior Vice Provost for Portland and Academic Lead, Roux Institute; Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, College of Science

As Northeastern’s senior vice provost for Portland and academic lead for the Roux Institute, Professor Pollastri oversees the institute’s academic programming, degree offerings, and research portfolio. He previously served as interim dean of Northeastern’s College of Science and as chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology.

Pollastri’s research centers on drug discovery for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) of the developing world, including insect-borne parasitic diseases such as Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, and African sleeping sickness. His expertise lies in synthetic, organic, and industrial medicinal chemistry, and chemical technology. As director of Northeastern’s Laboratory for Neglected Disease Drug Discovery, he tests compounds originally developed for cancer and other human diseases on pathogenic parasites, and then re-optimizes their structure and properties as non-toxic antiparasitic agents, drawing on his decade in drug discovery with Pfizer, Inc.

Pollastri’s research goal is to identify and advance new and effective compounds for development and clinical trials with nonprofit organizations focused on NTDs, including the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative. He also co-founded the Integrated Initiative for Global Health at Northeastern with Richard Wamai, associate professor of cultures, societies, and global studies, to spearhead interdisciplinary work on neglected diseases.

He earned a PhD in organic chemistry at Brown University.