Novel Vaccines Speaker Biographies
Michael Houghton, Ph.D., Canada Excellence in Research Chair and Professor, Medical Microbiology & Immunology, University of Alberta
Michael Houghton, Ph.D., is the Li ka Shing Professor and holder of the Canada Excellence in Research Chair in Virology within the Institute of Virology at the University of Alberta where he is focusing on research into viral hepatitis and other inflammatory diseases. Together with colleagues at the Chiron Corporation in the USA, he discovered the hepatitis C virus, developed blood tests and identified new drug targets for this virus aswell as developing a vaccine for clinical development. His laboratory was also the first to characterize the viral hepatitis D genome and to characterize the human beta-interferon gene. He and colleagues have received numerous awards for their work on hepatitis C including the Clinical Lasker and Karl Landsteiner awards from the USA, the Robert Koch Medal from Germany and the Gold Medal from the Canadian Liver Disease Association. He is an author of more than 200 research publications.
Heidi Drummer, Ph.D., Lab Head, Viral Fusion Laboratory, Burnet Institute
Dr. Heidi Drummer received her BScHons degree in 1988 and her PhD degree in 1993 from the University of Melbourne, Australia. Following 5 years of post-doctoral training, she moved to St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research where she established an independent research group investigating Hepatitis C Virus entry. In 1995 she moved her laboratory to the Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Australia and she is currently co-head of the Viral Fusion Laboratory. In 2010, she was awarded the Gust-McKenzie award and she is an RD Wright Biomedical Research Fellow. Her group investigates how Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Hepatitis C Virus attach to and enter cells with the aim of developing vaccines and therapeutics.
Dany De Grave, Director, Strategic Alignment & Expertise, Product Conception & Development (PCD), sanofi pasteur
Dany DeGrave is Director, Strategic Alignment & Expertise, Product Conception & Development (PCD), sanofi pasteur. As the PCD leader for the Dengue program he facilitates the contributions of the different PCD disciplines and ensures the alignment of these activities with the needs of the Dengue program. He also supports the global mission of the Strategic Alignment and Expertise department by contributing to the further development of operational excellence, innovation and efficiency within PCD. Previously he was Head Project Support for Global Clinical Immunology after joining sanofi pasteur in 2007. Prior to sanofi pasteur, Dany was with GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals since the start of his career. His 20+ years experience in the vaccine industry covers R&D, Product Development, Clinical Development, and Regulatory areas. He was/is actively involved in the development and licensing of childhood and adult vaccines in disease areas such as pertussis, meningitis, streptococcus, C. difficile, rotaviral diarrhea, dengue, hepatitis, flu and HPV. He holds a Biotechnology Engineer degree from Brussels University.
Anna Durbin, M.D., Associate Professor, Center for Immunization Research, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Dr. Durbin received her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Michigan and her M.D. from Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the Detroit Medical Center, Wayne State University where she was Chief Medical Resident at Detroit Receiving Hospital. She then completed fellowship training in Infectious Diseases at the Detroit Medical Center. Following her fellowship in infectious diseases, Dr. Durbin became a Medical Officer at the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health where she spent 5 years using recombinant DNA technology to develop novel live attenuated respiratory virus vaccines. She left the NIH to become a tenure-track faculty in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where she is currently as associate professor. She is the Principal Investigator of a National Institutes of Health contract to evaluate novel malaria vaccines and is the co-principal investigator for a contract to evaluate vaccines and antimicrobials in adults and pediatric subjects. She has served as the Principal Investigator for numerous phase I and phase II clinical trials. Dr. Durbin received a National Institutes of Health Merit Award in 2005 and a National Institutes of Health Director's Award in 2011. She has published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers.
Christopher Nicodemus, Ph.D., Senior Advisor, Chief Executive, Quest Pharmatech
Christopher F. Nicodemus MD FACP Principal, AIT Strategies & Senior Advisor to Quest Pharmatech Edmonton, Alberta Dr. Nicodemus is the Principal of AIT Strategies, a consulting firm specializing in preclinical and clinical development of immunotherapies, and a Senior Advisor to Quest Pharmatech. A Harvard trained physician, with academic roots in the Department of Rheumatology and Immunology at the Brigham and Womens' Hospital, Boston, he has held multiple senior R&D positions including Pfizer, ImmuLogic, and United Therapeutics, with multiple successful drug registrations recorded. A member of Alpha Omega Alpha, for the past 13 years, he has focused on innovative approaches to unleashing immunity to control cancer, and has multiple patents and publications reflecting this effort.
Patrick Duffy, M.D., Chief, Laboratory of Malaria Immunology and Vaccinology, NIAID NIH
Dr. Patrick Duffy has been appointed chief of the newly established Laboratory of Malaria Immunology and Vaccinology (LMIV) in NIAID's Division of Intramural Research. He is former director of the malaria program at Seattle Biomedical Research Institute (SBRI) and affiliate professor of pathobiology at the University of Washington. His research accomplishments include describing how malaria develops during pregnancy, defining the benefits of antibodies that protect pregnant women and their fetuses from malaria and pioneering the use of functional genomics tools to study malaria parasites in the field.
As chief of LMIV, Duffy leads a team studying the immunology of populations at risk of malaria infection to develop more effective strategies for vaccination. He also oversees LMIV's pilot vaccine production and testing initiatives, which enable multiple vaccine candidates to move from concept to clinical trials.
Prior to working at SBRI, Duffy was director of preclinical vaccine development in the malaria program at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and he served as chief of field research operations at the WRAIR station in Kisumu, Kenya, for 4 years. He received his postdoctoral training in malaria research at NIAID after earning his medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine.
Ashley Birkett, Ph.D., Director, Pre-Clinical Research & Development, PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative
Ashley Birkett directs the identification of promising malaria vaccine technologies and implementation of development partnerships with for-profit and non-profit partners in alignment with MVI's R&D strategy. In addition to leading the R&D unit, he heads MVI's transmission-blocking vaccine (TBV) program focused on the development of malaria vaccines that reduce malaria transmission to support future elimination efforts. He serves on MVI's Leadership Team and is the primary liaison with MVI's Vaccine Science Portfolio Advisory Council, an advisory body comprised of world leaders in malaria research, vaccine development, and global health.
He has more than 15 years of vaccine development experience, primarily with biotechnology companies where he successfully advanced novel influenza and malaria vaccine candidates from research through early clinical studies. Prior to joining PATH in 2008, he was senior director of preclinical research at Acambis (now Sanofi Pasteur Biologics Co.).
Ashley sits on several advisory boards, including the US Military Malaria Vaccine Program and PATH's Influenza Vaccine Program. He serves as a grant reviewer for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, NIH, and the US Military Infectious Diseases Research Program (MIDRP). Ashley holds a PhD in biochemistry and molecular biophysics from Virginia Commonwealth University and a BS (Honors) in applied biological sciences from the University of the West of England in the United Kingdom.
Simon Draper, Ph.D., Fellow, Jenner Institute, University of Oxford
Dr. Draper is a UK MRC Research Fellow and University Research Lecturer at the Jenner Institute, Universityof Oxford, UK. His research interests include studies of vaccine-induced malaria immunity as well as the optimisation of antibody induction by subunit vaccines against blood-stage, and more recently the mosquito-stage, of malaria infection.
In recent years, his group has developed simian adenovirus (ChAd63) and MVA viral vectored vaccines targeting candidate blood-stage antigens from the human malaria parasite P. falciparum. These vaccines have demonstrated potent and effective T cell and antibody immunogenicity in pre-clinical models, and these findings have subsequently been translated into Phase I/IIa clinical vaccine trials. The aims of this work are to assess the safety, immunogenicity and protective efficacy of these new vaccines in human volunteers.His group are also undertaking studies to look at the utility of deploying protein-in-adjuvant and viral vectored vaccines in combination immunisation regimes, alongside research focusing on novel vaccine adjuvants.
His group is also utilising the viral vectored vaccine delivery platform to screen blood- and mosquito-stage antigens for effective antibody induction. In 2002, the genome of P. falciparum was reported, highlighting the existence of over 5,000 genes. However, despite this genomic success, little in road has been made into this wealth of information. His group is now working to define new target antigen combinations that may prove to be more successful in inducing protective efficacy against malaria by subunit vaccination in humans.
LeeAnn Blalock, Ph.D., Scientist, Malaria, Genocea Biosciences
Dr. Blalock has been the Lead Scientist on the Malaria program at Genocea Biosciences for the last 2 years. Prior to joining Genocea Biosciences, she worked on development of a dendritic cell melanoma vaccine with Dr. Lisa Butterfield at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Hillman Cancer Center. Dr. Blalock performed her post-doctoral work in the laboratory of Dr. Dennis Kasper at Harvard Medical School and identified novel T cell antigens from Francisella tularensis. She holds a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Florida and has multiple peer reviewed publications and is an inventor on a patent.
Bette Korber, Ph.D., Laboratory Fellow, Los Alamos National Laboratory
Bette Korber is a Laboratory Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory and an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute. She obtained a Ph.D. in Immunology from Caltech in 1988, and was a postdoctoral fellow in retrovirology at Harvard before joining the Theoretical Biology group at Los Alamos in 1990. She hasreceived an E. O. Lawrence award from the DOE in 2004, was an Elizabeth Glaser Scientist of the Pediatric AIDS Foundation. She has been the PI on the HIV sequence and immunology database project since 1996. She studies the impact of the human immune response on HIV evolution and HIV transmission and the biology of acute infection, with the motivating purpose of developing rational vaccine designs for variable pathogens. She works with an interdisciplinary team providing bioinformatics, theoretical, and statistical support, in collaborative efforts with researchers from around the globe. She has co-authored over 215 scientific papers.
Ivan Stratov, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne
Dr. Stratov is a physician-scientist with 10 years experience in HIV vaccine research. He has been the recipient of more than a dozen awards and grants for his work in HIV vaccine research. Dr Stratov has pioneered research into techniques for detecting and mapping HIV-specific ADCC responses and has established a research group dedicated to translating his discoveries into a vaccine modality against HIV.
Adriano Boasso, Ph.D., Wellcome Trust Research Fellow, Department of Medicine, Imperial College, London; Division of Infectious Diseases, Immunology Section, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
I obtained a BSc/MSc in Medical Biotechnology and a PhD in Molecular Medicine and Immunology from the University of Milan. I then completed five years of post-doctoral training at the National Institutes of Health. I moved to Imperial College London in January 2008, initially under a Wellcome Trust VIP award and subsequently as a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellow. Since the beginning of my scientific career I have studied the interaction between the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the immune system.
By interfering with physiological mechanisms of immune defence, HIV renders infected individuals highly susceptible to potentially fatal opportunistic infections. A state of chronic and uncontrolled activation of the immune system, often described as pan-immune activation, develops during HIV infection and eventually drives the immune system to exhaustion, thus leading to the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). In this context, certain mechanisms of immune defence, which normally contribute to control and clear viral infections, are diverted from their physiologic function by HIV and play a key role in promoting pathogenic pan-immune activation. The aim of my research program is to provide a comprehensive model of the pathogenic mechanisms which characterize HIV infection and identify the specific features that render HIV pathogenic for the immune system.
Antu Dey, Ph.D., Investigator II, Viral Vaccines, Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics, Inc.
Dr. Antu Dey is the Associate Project Leader for HIV vaccine research at Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics, Cambridge, MA. He leads the discovery arm of vaccine research that designs and screens novel immunogen for HIV vaccine. Presently, his team is involved in a private-public partnership aimed towards evaluation and production of HIV proteins for boost in a Phase I/II proof-of-concept clinical trial in Republic of South Africa and a Phase III trial in Thailand. He also leads effort on NIH-funded 'HIV Rationale Antigen Design (HIVRAD)' contract aimed towards rationale design of HIV immunogens and their evaluations in pre-clinical setting.
Dr. Dey obtained his DPhil. (or PhD) in Biochemistry from University of Oxford in UK. After 3 years of post-doctoral research at Prof. John Moore's laboratory in Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, Dr. Dey joined Novartis Vaccines (at Cambridge) in 2008 and since then has been working in roles with increasing responsibilities. Dr. Dey has been an inventor on multiple patents on HIV immunogen design and adjuvants and has published several peer-reviewed publications and reviews.
Thomas Evans, M.D., CSO, Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation
Dr. Evans received his MD from the University of Virginia and trained in Internal Medicine at UCSF, and in Infectious Diseases back at Virginia. He was on faculty at the University of Utah and the University of Rochester before becoming Infectious Diseases Division Chief and full Professor at the University of California, Davis. His academic research centered on leishmania and vaccine development and led to him joining Vical, a DNA vaccine developer as Chief Medical Officer in 2002. In 2005 he joined the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research as Head of Infectious Diseases Translational Medicine and Research. In September 2008 he moved to CNIBR to help in setting up the Translational Science group in China. He has over 100 authored publications. He joined Aeras as Chief Scientific Officer in September 2010.
Philana Lin, M.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
Dr. Lin is an assistant professor at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh's College of Medicine. She received her medical degree at the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine. She is a board certified pediatric infectious disease physician having completed her pediatric residency and fellowship at the University of Chicago Children's Hospital and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, respectively. She recently completed a career award from the National Institutes of Health focusing on the role of tumor necrosis factor during M. tuberculosis infection. The focus of her current research is on the immunologic mechanisms of latent infection and reactivation as a strategy for vaccine protection against tuberculosis. She has extensive expertise in the non-human primate model of tuberculosis and the use of modern imaging techniques such as PET-CT in understanding infectious disease modalities. She is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Infectious Disease Society of America and the Society of Pediatric Research. Funding sources for past and current research include: the National Institutes of Health, American Lung Association, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Infectious Disease Society of America and the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation. Her most recently work has been published in journals such as Nature Genetics, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Arthritis and Immunity and Infection and Immunity.
Rhea N. Coler, Ph.D., Vice President, Pre-Clinical Biology, Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI)
Rhea Coler is the Vice President of Preclinical Biology at IDRI. Rhea is an Affiliate Associate Professor in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. Her work focuses on the characterization of candidate vaccines for tuberculosis, leishmaniasis, pneumococcus, malaria and chlamydia. Uncovering the roles that innate and adaptive immunity play during these infectious processes are key research questions in the Coler lab. Elucidating the mechanisms of protection against these diseases could lead to the development of novel prophylactic and therapeutic interventions.
Bali Pulendran, Ph.D., Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
Bali Pulendran, PhD, received his undergraduate degree from Cambridge University, and his doctorate from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, in Melbourne Australia, under the supervision of Sir Gustav Nossal. He completed his postdoctoral work at Immunex Corporation in Seattle.
Dr. Pulendran's work focuses on understanding the mechanisms by which the innate immune system regulates adaptive immunity and harnessing such mechanisms in the design of novel vaccines against global pandemics. More recently, he has begun to apply systems biological approaches to predicting the efficacy of vaccines, and deciphering new correlates of protection against infectious diseases.
Dr. Pulendran was recently awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish a Center for Systems Vaccinology, with investigators from Emory, as well as from other institutions. The goal of this center will be uncover molecular signatures of vaccine efficacy in humans, which will guide the design and rapid evaluation of new vaccines.
Dr. Pulendran's research is published in front line journals such as Nature, Science, Cell, Nature Immunology, and The Journal of Experimental Medicine. Furthermore, Dr. Pulendran is the recipient of numerous grants from the NIH and from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He serves on the editorial boards of The Journal of Clinical Investigation and The Journal of Immunology, serves on the AIDS Vaccine Research Subcommittee, and is frequently invited to speak in the plenary sessions of many national and international conferences.
Inna G. Ovsyannikova, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Medicine, Mayo Vaccine Research Group, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
Dr. Ovsyannikova, Associate Professor of Medicine, received her Ph.D. from the Mechnikov Research Institute for Vaccines and Sera in Moscow, Russia, and came to the United States as a visiting scientist through a Fogarty/NIH scholarship program in 1990. Shecompleted Mayo Clinic's formal Allergy-Immunology and Vaccinology-Clinical Pharmacology training programs in 1996 and 2000, respectively.She joined the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group in 2000 (Dr. Gregory A. Poland, P.I.).In recognition of her scientific accomplishments, Dr. Ovsyannikova was the recipient of the "Outstanding Research Associate Award" from the Department of Internal Medicine at Mayo Clinic in 2002.She is a Director of laboratory-based studies for the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group. Dr. Ovsyannikovahas published over 120 scientific publications, 12 book chapters, and 150 abstracts. She has participated in 80 scientific exhibits and presentations at national and international societies.Dr. Ovsyannikova's research areas of great interest include: 1) studies of the genetics of immune responses to viral and bacterial vaccines, including vaccinia, measles, mumps, rubella, influenza and anthrax; 2) areas of vaccine-preventable infectious diseases, particularly the application of mass spectrometry used to develop peptide-based and personalized vaccines against measles, influenza and agents of bioterrorism; 3) vaccinomics and gene polymorphisms and predictors of vaccine immune response, viral antigen processing and HLA presentation.
Fabio Bagnoli, Ph.D., Project Leader, Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics
Fabio Bagnoli received a Master of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Siena and holds a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Microbiology from the University of Padova (research in the area of host-pathogen interactions, with a focus on the Type IV secretion apparatus and the CagA protein of Helicobacter pylori). He joined Novartis in 2006 as associate project leader, first for Streptococcus pneumoniae and later for Staphylococcus aureus, after his post doctoral training at the University of Stanford on the role of the CagA protein in altering host cell polarity, motility and invasiveness. In 2010 he was appointed as project leader for the vaccine research on S. aureus.
Andrew J. Bett, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow, Vaccine Research, Merck & Co., Inc.
Andrew Bett, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Vaccine Basic Research at Merck Research Labs located in West Point, Pennsylvania, USA. He received his doctoral degree (Molecular Biology and Virology) from McMaster University, located in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and began post-graduate work (human gene therapy) at Merck before becoming a permanent employee. During his 17 year career at Merck, Dr. Bett has contributed to a number of Vaccine and Biologics programs including the HIV, CMV and more recently the Dengue vaccine program.
Rebecca Sheets, Ph.D., Vaccine Scientific and Regulatory Specialist, USPHS, NIH/NIAID
Rebecca Sheets serves as the Vaccine Scientific and Regulatory Specialist in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. In this role, she formulates regulatory strategy for the Division of AIDS and the Vaccine Research Center on pre-clinical development translating research concepts into HIV and other vaccine candidates suitable for human clinical trials. She also serves as a subject matter expert on vaccine cell substrates and vaccine pre-clinical safety assessment, including toxicology.
Rebecca Sheets obtained her B.S. degree in Biology from the California Institute of Technology; M.S. degree in Cellular, Viral, and Molecular Biology from the University of Utah School of Medicine, and Ph.D. in Pathology from the University of Southern California School of Medicine.
Dr. Sheets served for 9 years (1993-2002) as a Scientific Reviewer in the Viral Vaccines Branch of the Division of Vaccines and Related Products Applications, Office of Vaccines Research and Review, CBER/FDA. In 1994, to foster her commitment to public health, she became a Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Public Health Service (Scientist Category), in which she has been promoted to the rank of Captain (CAPT). She transferred to NIH in 2002.
Both at FDA and at NIH, she has striven to advance policy regarding vaccine cell substrates. Because of her virology background, a strong focus of this effort has been in regard to the adventitious agent tests. Since 2006, she has served as the Co-chair of the World Health Organization's Study Group on Cell Substrates, as the Chair of the Adventitious Agents Sub-committee, and on the Drafting Group, a sub-set of the Study Group consisting of the Chairs, Rapportuer, and WHO Secretariat. This Study Group was tasked with providing technical advice to revise the WHO's guidance on the subject, which was adopted by their Expert Committee on Biological Standardization in Oct. 2010.
Further, NIH policy mandates that researchers reduce, refine, or replace animals used for product safety testing. In this spirit, CAPT Sheets has ongoing research projects to determine how to achieve this goal with animals used in adventitious agent testing. In addition, she has considered means to streamline or more rationally assure preclinical safety of vaccine candidates than the standard toxicology ("drug-screening") studies currently required.
Andrew Geall, Ph.D., RNA Vaccine Platform Leader, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics
Andrew J. Geall, Ph.D. is the RNA Vaccine Platform Leader at Novartis Vaccine and Diagnostics (Cambridge, USA). He has undergraduate degrees in Chemical Engineering and Pharmacy and completed his Ph.D. in gene therapy at the University of Bath U.K. in 1999. Before joining Novartis in 2006, Dr. Geall was manager of the Pharmaceutics department at Vical (San Diego). He led the formulation development of the company's DNA vaccine program and was responsible for production of the gene delivery systems for clinical trials. He joined Novartis Pharma to lead siRNA delivery efforts and in 2008 moved to the Vaccines Research division to establish the RNA Vaccine Platform and has made a major contribution to the patent estate for this novel technology.
Nicholas M. Valiante, Ph.D., Head, Immunology, Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics, Inc.
Dr. Nicholas Valiante is the Head of Immunology Research for Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics (NVD) and the founder of the Small Molecule Immune Potentiator (SMIP) platform. The platform is a Novartis-wide effort employing modern drug discovery in the identification of immune modulators for development as vaccine adjuvants and immuno-therapeutics. After receiving a B.A. from Boston University in Evolutionary Biology, a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in Immunology and a Cancer Research Institute fellowship at Stanford University, Dr. Valiante joined NVD (formerly Chiron Vaccines) in Siena, Italy as a senior scientist in 1998. Here he championed the strategy of targeting innate immunity for more effective vaccination. After 4 years in Siena, Dr. Valiante transferred to the United States to become leader of the vaccine adjuvants platform where he developed drug discovery approaches for the identification of SMIPs targeting innate immune pathways and receptors. Dr. Valiante has authored/co-authored >50 scientific publications and is an inventor on >20 issued or pending patents.
Ross Kedl, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Associate Graduate Program Director, Department of Immunology, University of Colorado Denver
Dr. Kedl received his PhD in 1997 in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Before joining the Faculty at the University of Colorado, Dr. Kedl was at 3M Pharmaceuticals working in their small molecule immune response modifier program. In his three years there, he spearheaded efforts at developing novel vaccine adjuvants, resulting in numerous publications and patents in the area of vaccine technology. Dr. Kedl returned to the academic sector in 2004 by joining the faculty in the Integrated Department of Immunology at the University of Colorado at Denver and National Jewish Health where he continues to pursue the discovery and development of novel and clinically applicable vaccine technology. He is also the founder of a start-up vaccine company, ImmuRx Inc., which focuses on developing therapeutic vaccines against chronic infectious diseases, such as HIV and cancer.
Sudhir Agrawal, D.Phil., CEO, Idera Pharmaceuticals
Dr. Sudhir Agrawal is the CEO and scientific co-founder of Idera Pharmaceuticals. He received his D. Phil. in Chemistry in 1980 and carried out his post-doctoral research at the MRC's Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, U.K. While working with Paul Zamecnik, MD, he carried out pioneering work in antisense technology, and based on this technology, Idera Pharmaceuticals was founded. In the last 10 years, his work has focused on creating synthetic DNA/RNA-based compounds targeting Toll-like receptors and the use of these compounds for therapeutic applications. Dr. Agrawal has published over 300 research papers/reviews and has edited two volumes on oligonucleotide chemistry and one on antisense therapeutics. He is named as an inventor on over 400 patents and patent applications in countries around the world.
Ofer Levy, M.D., Ph.D., Principal Investigator, Medicine/Infectious Diseases, Children's Hospital Boston
Dr. Ofer Levy was born and raised in New York City where he graduated from the Bronx HighSchool of Science. After graduating from Yale College (B.S., Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry), Dr. Levy entered the Medical Scientist (MD/PhD) Training Program at New York University School of Medicine where he studied neutrophil-derived antimicrobial proteins and peptides under the mentorship of Drs. Peter Elsbach and Jerrold Weiss. Inspired by his wife Sharon's example, he chose Pediatrics and completed both residency and fellowship (InfectiousDiseases) at Boston Children's Hospital. He is currently a principal investigator and staff physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases, Boston Children's Hospital and Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Levy's laboratory is focused on translational development of novel in vitro platforms to model age-specific vaccine safety and efficacy and in the development of novel pediatric vaccine formulations.
Murali Bilikallahalli, Ph.D., Vaccines Formulation and Development, MedImmune LLC
Murali has a PhD in Biophysical Chemistry and is currently a Senior Scientist & Group Leader at MedImmune leading Vaccines Formulations and Adjuvant Systems. He is an SME in the biophysical area over 17 years, and has been developing variety of biologic modalities such a mAbs, conjugated proteins, VLPs, sub-unit vaccines, live attenuated viral vaccines, CPGs, SiRNA, and DNA plasmids in to therapeutic drugs. Two approved products in the market (Elilyso & Xiapex). He has won three young investigator awards (ASBMB-USA, ASPET-USA & JSPS- Japan) and published over 40 original research papers, expert reviews and book chapters. Currently, he serves on the Editorial boards of Drug Discovery Today and mAbs.
Andrew Bacon, Principal Scientist and Head, Liposome-Based Vaccines Group, R&D Laboratories, Xenetic Biosciences plc
Andrew Bacon joined Xenetic in 2001 and is currently a Principal Scientist and Head of the liposome-based vaccines group. Previously he was with Evans Medical (subsequently Medeva and now Celltech) for seven years where he worked on the research and development of novel vaccines, including a novel influenza vaccine candidate first into man. Mr Bacon graduated with a biophysics degree and holds a course diploma in immunology for clinicians and scientists from the Faculty of Medicine of Imperial College, London. He has published 19 papers on vaccinology in peer-reviewed science journals, is a named inventor on 6 patents and a regular speaker on Liposomal vaccines at the The International Liposome Society (ILS) biennial society meeting at the School of Pharmacy (London).
David E. Anderson, Ph.D., Vice President, Research, VBI Vaccines
A dynamic and well-published immunologist with broad expertise in the areas of vaccine development, autoimmunity and tumor immunology, Dr. Anderson joined VBI full time in 2009 from Harvard Medical School, where he held a position as Assistant Professor. As a co-founder of VBI and VP of Research, Dr. Anderson is an inventor of much of the Company's intellectual property and actively manages its on-going expansion.
Ramadevi Raghunandan, Ph.D., Manager, Pre-Clinical Immunology, Novavax
Rama currently heads the preclinical program at Novavax. Her expertise is in conducting studies to understand immunological mechanisms involved in vaccine function. She evaluates vaccine candidates such as pandemic Flu VLP and other VLP based recombinant vaccines through preclinical and clinical models. Prior to Novavax Rama worked as a senior scientist at Cytimmune sciences. She led the project in developing an in vitro culture system that can generate human monoclonal antibodies. She obtained her graduate degree from Indian Institute of science Bangalore, India and moved to United States to gain research experience from premier institutions in this country. Since then moved to biotech industry and has been leading the projects on in vitro and in vivo systems for developing and evaluating immuno-therapeutics.
Takashi Kishimoto, Ph.D., CSO, Selecta Biosciences
Dr. Takashi Kei Kishimoto is the Chief Scientific Officer of Selecta Biosciences. Prior to joining Selecta Dr. Kishimoto was Vice President of Research at Momenta Pharmaceuticals where he led a multidisciplinary team in advancing both novel and complex generic products for inflammation, oncology, and cardiovascular disease. Previously he was Senior Director of Inflammation Research at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, where he provided the scientific leadership for four programs in clinical development, and an Associate Director of Research at Boehringer Ingelheim. Dr. Kishimoto has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals, including Nature, Science, Cell, and the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Kishimoto received his doctoral degree in Immunology from Harvard University.
Bjarne Bogen, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine, Immunology, University of Oslo
Bjarne Bogen is Professor of Medicine (Immunology) at the University of Oslo, Norway. His main research interests have been: (i) a novel type of T-B collaboration associated with autoimmunity and development of B cell lymphomas (ii) tumor immunology and (iii) vaccine research. As concerns the latter, he and co-workers developed Troy-bodies which are recombinant Ab equipped with V-regions specific for antigen presenting cells (APC), and that have T cell epitopes inserted in their C-regions (e.g. Nat Biotechnol -99, PNAS 01). Later, he and co-workers have focussed on Vaccibodies that can target large antigens to APC in a bivalent fashion (e.g. Mol Ther 2006, Blood 2007). Vaccibodies are delivered as DNA with an electrical pulse, inspired by the finding that injection i.m. of immunoglobulin-encoding plasmids, combined with electroporation, induce transfected muscle cells to secrete Ig (Mol Ther 2004).
Bogen's research group is part of the CoE "Centre for Immune Regulation" sponsored by the Research Council of Norway. He has been member of the Basel Institute for Immunology (1985-86) and visiting professor at Stanford University School of Medicine (1996-97) and Dana Farber Cancer Institute/ Harvard University (2004-05).
Ali Fattom, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Vaccine Research & Development, NanoBio Corp.
Dr. Fattom is the Senior Vice President of Vaccine Research and Development at NanoBio Corporation in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is responsible for applying the Nanostat™ technology platform, licensed from the University of Michigan, to established as well as new vaccine candidates to induce mucosal immunity and balanced Th1/Th2 systemic immune responses.
Dr. Fattom received his PhD in Microbial Ecology from the Life Science Institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. During the period of 1982 to 1986, he was an Assistant Professor in microbiology at Beir-Zeit University, West Bank , and in 1986 he joined the NIH and worked on a conjugate vaccine against bacterial infectious diseases focusing on pneumococcal and staphylococcal vaccines, under Dr. John Robbins of NICHD. In1991, Dr Fattom joined Nabi Biopharmaceuticals and became Vice President for Research and Development in 2007. He was responsible for advancing vaccine programs from discovery to advanced clinical stages including Staphylococcal pentavalent vaccine and NicVAX, a vaccine to treat nicotine addiction and aid in smoking cessation
In 2010, Dr Fattom left Nabi to join NanoBio Corporation. His work is focused on developing new vaccines using the Nanostat™ technology with Respiratory Syncytial Virus as one of several main targets. Dr Fattom is an author of over 60 peer reviewed publications and over 20 patents in the field of vaccinology.