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Tyler McQuade, Ph.D. - VCU College of Engineering. Richmond, VA, US

Tyler McQuade, Ph.D. Tyler McQuade, Ph.D.

Professor | VCU College of Engineering


Improving the World one reaction at a time.






A Holistic Approach to Streamlining Pharmaceutical Processes



As a core partner in the Gates Foundation-funded international Medicines for All (M4All) Initiative, the McQuade Group focuses its research on systems with the potential to improve the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Dr. Tyler McQuade’s personal motivation as a professor and researcher is to train young minds to become tomorrow’s leaders in the molecular sciences and engineering, which dovetails perfectly with M4All’s goal of increasing access to critical medicines in developing nations by developing more efficient manufacturing routes. The McQuade Group has a proven record of combining advanced chemistry and engineering to realize chemical systems that lead to low-cost and environmentally-friendly routes to important medicines.
Our ACS Green Chemistry-award-winning research program offers cutting-edge opportunities to students and other researchers with a desire to advance science in ways that can quickly affect and improve lives around the world. Creating more efficient and environmentally-friendly pharmaceutical manufacturing requires expertise in both processing equipment and reaction chemistry. Our research encompasses all aspects of basic reaction science, control theory, chemical engineering and information science.

Media Appearances (5)

Medicines for All: Revolutionizing the Global Supply Chain

Next  print


Several industry groups have recognized the impact Medicines for All is making on the environment, and in 2018 the American Chemical Society presented Dr. Gupton and his colleague Tyler McQuade, Ph.D., professor of chemical engineering at VCU, with the Award for Affordable Green Chemistry and the Green Chemistry Challenge Award, which recognizes corporations and institutions for developing new chemical processes or products that reduce waste and hazardous chemicals.

Screencapture of Next magazine cover with digital illustration of a globe with medicine covering the land areas.

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Medicines for Everyone

The Moonshot Catalog  online


One chemist who has long believed in a new future for pharmaceutical synthesis is Tyler McQuade, chief technical officer of the Medicines for All (M4ALL) Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond. About a decade ago when he was a chemistry professor at Florida State University, McQuade found himself noodling on how he could transform the way medicines are made with the goal of creating the economic incentives for making them more widely available and affordable around the world. “Personally, I am a capitalist — I believe in free markets,” says McQuade. “But on the other hand, I feel like [availability of] medicines is a human right. And so to reconcile those two things you have to create economic ecosystems that both support producers but also allow for [drugs] to be provided at a price [people] can afford.”

Photograph of two leaders of Medicines for All Institute.

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VCU, UR researchers try to create the 'Alexa of chemistry'

Richmond Times-Dispatch  print


D. Tyler McQuade, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering at VCU’s College of Engineering, is the principal investigator of the multiuniversity project. If created, the molecule could be used for everything from a better shampoo to coatings on advanced microchips.

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This VCU Professor’s Project Landed $1M to Create the ‘Alexa of Chemistry’

Richmond Inno  online


A VCU professor’s dream to make molecules on demand is $1 million closer to becoming a reality. Tyler McQuade, who teaches at the Virginia Commonwealth University College of Engineering, is leading a multi-university project using artificial intelligence to help scientists create molecules for everything from shampoo to microchips.

lab chemistry medicine

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2018 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards announced

Chemical and Engineering News  online


Meanwhile, Frank Gupton and Tyler McQuade of Virginia Commonwealth University won the Academic Award for their route to nevirapine, a key component of combination drug therapies for HIV.

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Research Focus (1)

Student Driven Innovation

McQuade Group students drive our innovation and effort in three major areas of focus: Development of novel chemistry: We design novel low-cost and green synthetic routes using the most advanced chemistry guided by a fundamental understanding of mechanistic organic chemistry. By judiciously weaving kinetics and thermodynamic experiments with our decades of synthetic knowledge, we develop new chemical routes that leverage microreactor and other state-of-the art technologies. Creation of machines for automated synthesis: We combine commercial and home-built meso/microreactor systems to create the kinds of automated chemical systems central to the continuous manufacturing principles of active pharmaceutical ingredient synthesis. Our research objective is to generate and consume unstable intermediates continuously to realize efficient routes, pushing the frontiers of reaction chemistry, in situ monitoring and control systems. Realization of new chemical informatics tools: As we create new cost-effective manufacturing routes, we leverage existing chemical literature to inspire new chemistry, patents to define what is considered novel and costing algorithms to compare different routes. We’re currently building a team that uses machine reading and learning algorithms to help automate the evaluation of literature and better define patent opportunities. We’re also developing automated approaches to more precisely define route cost. Why join the McQuade Group? Dr. Tyler McQuade’s mentorship will help you achieve your potential, whether that means a career in industry, academia, or another field where you can make a true difference. A surfer-turned-scientist, Dr. McQuade studied and did research in organic chemistry at UC Irvine, UW Madison and MIT. He learned the principles of chemical engineering during his 14 years in academics in the U.S., Switzerland, and Germany, and as a Program Manager, Deputy Director and Acting Director of the Defense Science Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). While at DARPA, Dr. McQuade led a wide variety of research programs ranging from algae farms to produce biofuels, mobile systems that could rapidly destroy chemical warfare agents, and machines that automated chemical synthesis. He welcomes students who share his passion for improving the world by combining intellectual imagination with focused dedication.