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From drug design and development to solutions for environmental concerns, Southern Research has experts that are well-equipped to assist with the challenging landscapes of technology development and market viability. For over 75 years, we have successfully collaborated and assisted external academic, industry and government agencies with solving complex problems. Southern Research has a proven track record of overcoming some of the biggest challenges in science and engineering.

Our drug discovery and development experts can assist clients traverse the complexities of developing new therapeutics through target identification and validation, lead identification, as well as product development and manufacturing. Learn more about our expertise in this space.

Target Identification, Target Validation, Assay Development

Medicinal Chemistry

Computational Chemistry

Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics

Parenteral Drug Delivery Systems (Microspheres and Implants)

Manufacturing in accordance with cGMP

Meet our Experts

Corinne E. Augelli-Szafran, Ph.D. | Senior Director, Chemistry Department

Dr. Augelli-Szafran is an organic and medicinal chemist with over 30 years of drug discovery and management experience in the pharmaceutical, academia and nonprofit research industries. At Southern Research, she is responsible for a vast number of chemistry research initiatives at various drug discovery stages aimed towards the identification of new therapies in areas such as oncology, infectious diseases, diabetes, tuberculosis, neurodegeneration, cystic fibrosis and virology. Prior to SR, she was director of the Laboratory for Experimental Alzheimer Drugs at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She held several leadership roles at Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research and Pfizer Global Research and Development in neurodegeneration, psychotherapeutics and inflammation and pain. Her scientific record includes more than 160 publications, presentations and patents covering Composition of Matter and Use. She is highly qualified to consult in the areas of identification and conversion of novel, tractable compounds into clinically useful drugs with optimized biological and biophysical properties. This includes consultation in the areas of assay development, hit identification (screening) and lead development and optimization, as well as in vitro and in vivo pharmacokinetic (PK) studies.

J. Robert Bostwick, Ph.D. | Director, High-Throughput Screening Center

Dr. Bostwick has nearly 40 years of combined experience in academia and the pharmaceutical industry involving work in more than 50 drug discovery programs. His breadth of experience includes conducting and managing research projects, directing scientific operations, and building and successfully implementing scientific programs and teams. He has served in various leadership capacities in the pharmaceutical industry including project leader, department head and executive director. In his role leading SR’s High-Throughput Screening (HTS) Center, he oversees the management and screening of large compound libraries in biochemical and cell-based assays for government and commercial clients, as well as academic collaborations. Additionally, he directs Southern Research’s biology efforts involved in lead generation for proprietary drug discovery programs. Bostwick has held senior positions at various pharmaceutical companies, and he has authored more than 30 publications. He can consult in the development and implementation of biochemical and cell-based assays employing methodologies across multiple technology platforms amenable to HTS.

Rita Cowell, Ph.D. | Fellow & Chair, Neuroscience Department

Dr. Cowell brings over 20 years of experience and focused expertise in the area of transcriptional and cellular processes underlying selective neuronal vulnerability. She has been independently funded as PI and Co-PI for numerous government and private foundation grants. This also includes experience with rodent models. She has more than 30 publications in high-impact factor journals, and she has authored four book chapters and nearly 50 published abstracts. Cowell can consult in the area of experimental design and complete execution of projects related to neuronal injury and disease, including selection of appropriate animal models of neurodegenerative or neuropsychiatric illness; quantitative analysis of gene and protein expression in discrete brain regions or neuronal populations; confocal microscopy; brain cell structural analyses; and selection and/or design of appropriate rodent behavior protocols.

Babu L. Tekwani, Ph.D. | Distinguished Fellow and Chair, Infectious Disease Department

Babu Tekwani, Ph.D., directs the Infectious Disease Department within Southern Research’s Drug Discovery Division. The department focuses on the disease-causing mechanisms and novel therapeutic and vaccine approaches for a diverse array of pathogens, with the objective of identifying novel mechanisms, targets and strategies for the prevention and treatment of protozoal, bacterial and viral infectious diseases throughout the world. Tekwani has spent more than 30 years researching tropical parasitic diseases such as malaria and leishmaniasis, vector-borne infectious diseases, and major global health threats. His work has identified potential new targets and sources for therapies against these diseases. Some of his most recent work focuses on developing a targeted drug delivery approach for a safer and more effective antimalarial therapeutic relative to currently used strategies against the disease for U.S. troops and global travelers. His research has been funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, World Health Organization (WHO), Medicines for Malaria Venture, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command.

Michael E. Hudson | Director, Pharmaceutical Consulting

Michael Hudson has over 32 years of product development experience with a focus on drug delivery systems. He has held management positions in formulation development, process development, engineering, facilities/operations, manufacturing, and business management. Over his career, he has obtained an in-depth knowledge of parenteral processing equipment, aseptic operations, facility design, and regulatory requirements for manufacturing. His technical background includes polymeric microsphere and implantable drug delivery systems, and he is an inventor and co-inventor of patented technology in this field. Hudson’s broad range of experience allows him to assist clients with formulation optimization and scale up, equipment and facility evaluations, manufacturing guidance, and technology/diligence assessments. He also manages CRO/CMO relationships for domestic and international clients.

Mark J. Suto, Ph.D. | Vice President, Life Sciences

Dr. Suto has over 35 years of industrial drug discovery and management experience serving in a range of capacities, from bench medicinal chemist to drug discovery program leader for major pharmaceutical companies. He has scientific and operational executive level experience in large pharmaceutical, biotech and not-for-profit research based organizations. He has managed programs that identified clinical candidates in several therapeutic areas, developed and managed research projects with large pharmaceutical partners, participated in due diligence exercises, and developed research strategies for collaborations. In 2016, Suto was inducted as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors in recognition of his wide-ranging contributions to pharmaceutical research and drug discovery efforts. He currently holds 45 U.S. patents and has four additional U.S. patents pending covering Composition of Matter and Use. He has more than 60 publications, and he has authored nine invited papers and book chapters. At Southern Research, he has overall responsibility for the research direction and strategy, scientific operations, talent, acquisition/development budgets, and P & L for the Drug Discovery division.

Our energy and environmental experts help clients assess new technologies and provide process development support for energy generation, chemical synthesis, air and water purification, and more. Learn more about our expertise in this space.

Technology development

Economic development, innovation, and business strategy

Meet our Experts

Dagmar Becker, Ph.D. | Senior Engineer, Energy & Environment – Alabama

Dagmar Becker leads an energy storage test lab for grid-tied energy storage systems in Birmingham, AL. She has ten years of experience working in capacities ranging from R&D to engineering and manufacturing of energy storage devices and integrated systems. Prior to joining Southern Research, Dagmar held positions at Primus Power (flow battery R&D and manufacturing) and Bosch Energy Storage Solutions (turnkey ESS R&D, validation and manufacturing). She has developed standardized test protocols widely utilized in the energy storage industry. Her consultation expertise includes novel and established battery technologies, system integration and energy storage markets. Critical minerals and Lithium-ion battery supply chain are additional fields of expertise. Dagmar Becker received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Braunschweig University in Germany.

Paul P. Leufkens | Senior Engineer, Energy & Environment – Alabama

He leads the Behind-the-Meter (BTM) Energy Storage Testing program in Birmingham AL. He provides third-party testing and consulting services for the energy industry. Paul has 25+ years of international experience in the power industry working in capacities ranging from R&D management of cables and switchgear to general management of ultra-high voltage and energy storage laboratories to consulting services and business development. Prior to joining Southern Research, he was president and founder of Power Projects Leufkens, providing consultancy, business services, and coaching to manufacturers, utilities, test & certification institutions, and consultancy firms worldwide. He led business development and generated business cases and project plans for new High-Power labs in Asia and the Middle East. He worked also with the ESTA International team in a 9-month project to prepare detailed planning and procurement for the $5 million implementation of a Smart Grid Test Bed project at CPRI in Bangalore, India, consisting of a Smart Grid Technology Demonstration Center and an Interoperability Testing Laboratory. He is a senior IEEE member and has been member of a multitude of IEEE, CIGRE and IEC study committees and standardization working groups.

The Southern Research Quality team is your partner for Good Laboratory Practice support.

We provide global facility, protocol, report, and data audits, CRO and Vendor inspections, SOP preparation, regulatory and inspection-readiness training, and GLP consulting services.

Meet our Experts

Vallarie Tate | Manager of Quality Assurance

Vallarie Tate, RQAP-GLP, is manager of Quality Assurance within Southern Research’s Quality and Compliance department. She has over 20 years of experience monitoring studies against Good Laboratory Practice regulations (GLPs). In her current role, Ms. Tate oversees the daily operations of the Quality auditing staff, teaches classes focusing on GLP regulations, and  works together with SR team members on compliance topics.  She also interacts with clients on qualification audits and coordinates activities with the SR team. She works diligently to meet the needs of customers, while focusing on maintaining an inspection ready culture relating to regulatory operations. Ms. Tate received a Bachelor of Science degree from Faulkner University. She is a member of the Society of Quality Assurance (SQA) and is the interim president of the Southern Regional Chapter of SQA. Ms. Tate is also a Registered Quality Assurance Professional in Good Laboratory Practices (RQAP-GLP) and has held that registration over 20 years.

Lori Wright | Director, Quality and Compliance

Lori Wright is the Director of Quality and Compliance. She has over 25 years of experience in the Life Sciences industry. Lori is a Registered Quality Assurance Professional in Good Laboratory Practice (RQAP-GLP), a certified ISO 19011-2018 and ISO 9001:2015 auditor, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Ashland (Ohio) University. She is an active member of the Society of Quality Assurance (SQA), serving as an elected member of the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws Committee, co-chair of the 2017 and 2018 annual meetings, past co-chair of the Education Committee, and session chair for the Quality College Basic GLP course. Her experience combines Quality Assurance, regulatory compliance, computerized system validation, vendor management, and toxicology laboratory experience. Lori specializes in facility compliance, including facility audits, GLP regulatory and inspection-readiness training, SOPs, vendor qualification, quality metrics, and collaboration with all levels of employees and management to improve quality processes.