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

Tyler McQuade, Ph.D.

Professor | VCU College of Engineering


Improving the World one reaction at a time.


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.

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.