PepTalk 2017
PepTalk 2017
2014 Archived Content



Yan-ping Yang, Ph.D., Director,  Downstream Purification, Bioprocess Research & Development, sanofi pasteur  

Dr. Yan-ping Yang received her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Missouri-Columbia, USA, and has over 24 years of experiences in vaccine research and development with Sanofi Pasteur. She joined the Research department of Sanofi Pasteur in 1989, involved in various bacterial and viral vaccine development projects with numerous patents and publications. She became the Director of Downstream Processing in 2001, leading a group that is responsible for new vaccine purification process development,  scale up, and technology transfer.

André Dumetz, Ph.D., Investigator, GlaxoSmithKline 

André C. Dumetz was born and raised in France, where he earned a Dipôle d’Ingenieur and Master in chemistry and chemical engineering from the ESCPE (Ecole Supérieure de Chimie, Physique, Electronique de Lyon).  After receiving Master and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware, he joined GlaxoSmithKline in 2007.  His work has been focused on developing purification processes for both early and late phase biopharmaceutical drugs. During the last few years, he actively presented on such diverse topics as membrane equilibrium, protein phase behavior, chromatographic resin characterization, DNA-protein precipitation and drug substance freezing scale down.  His work underlines the fundamental concepts behind different phenomena or unit operations and the implications for the design of robust protein purification processes.

Gareth Butland, Ph.D., Staff Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory  

I am a Staff Scientist and principal investigator at LBNL. My background and interests are in microbial genetics, bioenergetics, metallproteins and functional genomics. My research career began investigating structure-function relationships in the Nitric Oxide Reductase, a key enzyme of the bacterial nitrogen cycle. My postdoctoral research then branched out into functional genomics and I was involved in the development and application of two high throughput projects to screen for protein-protein interactions and genetic interactions in E. coli. My groups’ current research is centered on combining high throughput functional genomics data and classical low throughput experimental approaches to characterize microbes and specific microbial processes of national importance.

A major focus of my groups work is characterization of novel factors that have been implicated in iron sulfur cluster (FeS) cofactor biosynthesis based on functional genomics data. FeS cofactors are ancient cofactors, built for an anaerobic environment, but which are present in all kindgoms of life and essential for viability. FeS clusters can be targets of molecular oxygen and reactive oxygen species depending on redox potential and solvent accessibility. The isolation of FeS cluster containing proteins in a biologically relevant and homogeneous form can therefore be challenging. I will present some of the strategies we utilize to produce and isolate FeS proteins in a bioactive form.

Ellen Brune, Ph.D., CSO, Boston Mountain Biotech  

Dr. Brune is co-founder of Boston Mountain Biotech and co-inventor of the Lotus(TM) technology and suite of cell lines.  Dr. Brune holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Arkansas.  In order to further her understanding of business, she completed the graduate entrepreneurship certificate program in the Walton College of Business, as well as completed lean-startup training as part of a National Science Foundation I-Corps grant.

Barry Holwerda, Ph.D., President, Molecular Throughput, Inc.Prior to founding Molecular Throughput, Barry Holwerda held a number of positions with increasing responsibility in both pharmaceutical and academic research areas.  After completing an MRC postdoctoral fellowship at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, he accepted a position as a scientist at Searle/Monsanto, St. Louis, where he initiated and successfully led a number of drug discovery research projects.  This led to consecutive faculty appointments at the University of Missouri, Columbia, and the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, where he was the principal investigator on NIH- and CDC-funded research grants.  Barry was recruited to Pharmacia in 2001 where he led an infectious diseases effort and, following acquisition by Pfizer in 2003, became Head and Director of Molecular Biology at Pfizer, La Jolla.  As department head, he was responsible for molecular biology and protein science activities over multiple therapeutic areas and created a throughput protein expression group.  Later, he initiated biopharmaceutical discovery efforts at Amylin Pharmaceuticals, La Jolla, by designing and constructing a throughput protein sciences facility.  Currently he is the President of mtibio | Molecular Throughput, a contract research organization that specializes in the expression and purification of protein reagents for pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical discovery (

Shannon Ryan, Ph.D., Process Development Scientist, EMD Millipore Corporation 

Shannon Ryan is a Process Development Scientist within the Biomanufacturing Sciences Network at EMD Millipore. The Biomanufacturing Sciences Network is closely aligned with industry partners and provides technical expertise and hands on assistance in studies ranging from small-scale process development to clinical manufacturing. Shannon holds a BA in Chemistry and Biology from Central College, Pella, Iowa and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Colorado State University.

Vinodh Kurella, Ph.D., Visiting Research Fellow, C3 Bioinformatics, Harvard Medical School  

Vinodh Kurella is a protein/antibody engineer with focus on humanization and Vaccine design. Uses computational modeling based approach to design, engineer and experimentally validate those models for antibodies and antigens. Before completing post-doctoral training at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Dr. Wayne Marasco laboratory, received PhD from Dept. of Biochemistry at LSU Health Sciences Center in protein X-ray crystallography in Dr. David Worthylake laboratory.

Jennifer Nemeth, Ph.D., Principal Research Scientist and Head, Biologics Mass Spectrometry & Allied Technologies, Janssen R&D LLC  

Dr. Nemeth obtained a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Scranton in 1995 followed by a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from Emory University in 1999.  After graduation, she worked under Dr. Richard Caprioli at Vanderbilt University as a post-doctoral research follow focusing on applied bioanalytical mass spectrometry.  Leaving academia in 2000, Dr. Nemeth entered the biopharmaceutical industry where she was employed as a bioanalytical mass spectrometrist at Genetics Institute (now WyethBioPharma).  In 2004, Dr. Nemeth joined Centocor’s Discovery Research departmentto initiate and head a new mass spectrometry group focusing on the characterization of molecules from inception through pre-clinical.  The principal role of the group is structural characterization of biopharmaceuticals, and the antigens and receptors used during drug development.  In July 2012, Dr. Nemeth took on a newly created role within the Biologic Research Department in Janssen R&D (formerly Centocor R&D) as a Biologics Discovery Program Leader.  In this role, she is responsible for the therapeutic development of multiple programs between pre-portfolio and New Molecular Entity declaration.  Her publications include detailed protein characterizations, as well as new methods for protein analysis using mass spectrometry.

Guy de Roo, Ph.D., Project Leader, Downstream Processing, Biopharmaceuticals, Synthon   

1991-1997 Msc: Bioprocess technology(Wageningen University, Netherlands); 1997-2001 Ph.D. on polyhydroxyalkanoates(ETH Zurich, Switzerland); 2001-2006 Scientist at CatchMabs BV, a company specialized in industrial affinity chromatography (Wageningen, Netherlands); 2006-2008 Scientist at Synco Biopartners (Amsterdam, The Netherlands); 2008- current: project leader at synthon BV(Nijmegen, the Netherlands).

Steven P. Allen, Ph.D., Manager, Biologics Process Design R&D, Diagnostics R&D, Abbott 

I received my Ph.D. in 1990 from the University of Illinois in Urban , IL in Microbiology developing genetic transfer systems in Clostridium.  Following completion of my PH.D., I held a Post-Doctoral Associate position at Monsanto in their Corporate Research facility in St. Louis, MO, working in their Cellular and Molecular Biochemistry Department studying novel heat shock genes expressed in response to heterologous target protein expression in Escherichia coli.  Following Monsanto, I joined Abbott Laboratories in 1993 and have held positions in their Diagnostics division in Technical Product Support, Process Validation, Global Manufacturing Operations, and currently serve as Manager and Senior Principle Research Scientist of the Biologics Process Design team were I am responsible for process research, process design, development and characterization, technology transfer and post-launch support of Biologic mammalian cell culture, prokaryotic fermentation, protein purification and fragmentation processes for native and recombinant antigens, and polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies.

Jiansheng Wu, Ph.D., Scientist, Protein Chemistry, Genentech, Inc. 

Dr. Wu leads a group to purify proteins for HTS, fragment screening and assay development for all small molecule drug development projects at Genentech in disease areas such as oncology, immunology and neurodegeneration. He leads the protein purification efforts in more than 50 drug development projects since he joined Genentech in 2006.
Prior to working at Genentech, Dr. Wu worked at Celera Genomics at San Francisco for four years, where he purified kinases, phosphatases and HDACs for oncology drug development.
Dr. Wu received his Ph.D. from the Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry in 1996 and did his postdoc in UCLA under Dr. Michael Grunstein.
Dr. Wu’s group is specialized in automated high throughput protein purification and developing new technologies for protein expression, characterization and purification.  His research is focused on developing innovative ways to express and purify challenging proteins in E.coli, BEVS, and especially mammalian expression systems.

Alexei Degterev, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Biochemistry, Tufts University  

Dr. Alexei Degterev earned M.S. in Chemistry from Moscow State University, Russia and Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Boston University School of Medicine, MA.  Upon graduation, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Junying Yuan in the Department of Biology of Harvard Medical School as a post-doctoral fellow and, subsequently, as Instructor in Cell Biology. Since 2005, Dr. Degterev is an Assistant and, currently, an Associate Professor of Biochemistry at Tufts University.  His research interests focus on the analyses of the molecular mechanisms and the functional role of regulated cell death pathways. Dr. Degterev pursues multidisciplinary studies combining cell and chemical biology, and animal pharmacology. Dr. Degterev is a recipient of the Mentored Career Development Award from the National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer’s Research Pilot Award from the American Health Assistance Foundation and Smith Family Award for Excellence in Biomedical Research from the Massachusetts Medical Foundation.

Silvia Locatelli-Hoops, Ph.D., Scientist, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), Natinal Institutes of Health (NIH)   

Dr. Locatelli-Hoops is a scientist at the Laboratory of Membrane Biochemistry & Biophysics at the NIAAA, NIH. She received her degree in Biochemistry from the National University of La Plata, Argentina in 1999 and completed her Diploma and Ph.D. studies at the University of Bonn, Germany in 2006. There she worked in the field of lysosomal storage diseases, specializing in understanding the mode of action of lipid-transfer proteins essential for the metabolism of glycosphingolipids in the lysosome. She then joined the NIH as a post doctoral visiting fellow in 2007, performing research first at the National Eye Institute on structure-function relationship of an integral membrane receptor of the retina and its extracellular ligand. Afterwards, in 2010 she moved to her current laboratory, focusing on expression, purification, functional and structural characterization of the G-protein-coupled cannabinoid receptor type II. Dr. Locatelli-Hoops has a wide experience in recombinant expression of proteins in heterologous systems, in purification of soluble and membrane proteins and in the application of surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy to the characterization of biological interactions at interphases.

Qinghai Zhang, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Integral Structural and Computational Biology, The Scripps Research Institute  

Qinghai Zhang obtained his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry in 2001, and did postdoctoral research on protein amyloids with Prof. Jeff Kelly at The Scripps Research Institute from 2001 to 2004. He was subsequently promoted to assistant professor and is now an associate professor in the Department of Integral Structural and Computational Biology at Scripps.  His current research interests center on the development of chemical tools, ligands, and methodologies enabling the structural and functional characterization of membrane-associated proteins.


Ian Hunt, Ph.D., Group Leader, Protein Sciences, Novartis   

Ian Hunt is the head of Protein Sciences for the Center of Proteomic Chemistry at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR) campus in Cambridge, MA, USA. His group is responsible for generating tool proteins to support biochemical assays, structural biology, NMR, & biophysics efforts in drug discovery projects across the various therapeutic research areas located in Cambridge.  He has held this position since 2011, having previously been head of the protein group in the structural biology unit of CPC, Cambridge.
Prior to working at NIBR, Cambridge Dr. Hunt worked at Novartis Horsham Research Center, UK where he oversaw protein supply for the respiratory disease therapeutic area. Dr Hunt has worked for Novartis since 2000.
His group has a strong interest in developing new and enabling technologies in protein science, in particular in the field of HT and multi-parallel protein expression strategies.
Dr. Hunt received his Ph.D. from the University of York, UK and has also worked at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the University of Leeds, UK. He has presented at numerous scientific conferences and is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Protein Expression and Purification.

Guy de Roo, Ph.D., Project Leader, Downstream Processing, Biopharmaceuticals, Synthon   

1991-1997 Msc: Bioprocess technology(Wageningen University, Netherlands); 1997-2001 Ph.D. on polyhydroxyalkanoates(ETH Zurich, Switzerland); 2001-2006 Scientist at CatchMabs BV, a company specialized in industrial affinity chromatography (Wageningen, Netherlands); 2006-2008 Scientist at Synco Biopartners (Amsterdam, The Netherlands); 2008- current: project leader at synthon BV(Nijmegen, the Netherlands)

Ronald Gillespie, Ph.D., Scientist, Purification Process Development, Amgen, Inc.  

Ron Gillespie is a Senior Scientist at Amgen in the Process Development organization.  Ron leads a team focused on developing downstream processes for early and late stage programs, as well as developing novel technologies for next generation processes.  Ron joined Amgen in 1994 and has experience in large-scale manufacturing, process development, scale-up, technology transfer, and commercial support.  Ron also leads a team focused on developing and implementing HTS methods to improve process understanding and accelerate downstream process development.

William Gillette, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Protein Expression Lab, SAIC-Frederick, Inc.  

Bill Gillette is currently focusing on high-throughput micro-scale purification as a means to identify positive constructs, optimization of chromatography and supporting analysis techniques to evaluate protein expression constructs and the success of the micro scale chromatography experiments. His work is in the context of the Protein Expression Laboratory that provides protein expression/purification core service to the laboratories of the NCI, NIH and USAMRIID. He received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from NC State University, Raleigh, NC.

Brian Gerwe, Ph.D., Product Manager, PerkinElmer 

Dr. Gerwe is a Product Manager for Automation and Liquid Handling at PerkinElmer. He has over ten years of experience encompassing a wide range of genetic, biochemical, and developmental techniques (e.g., high-throughput cloning, protein expression and purification, in addition to stem cell research). Prior to leaving the academic realm, he held a position at Albert Einstein College of Medicine within the Macromolecular Therapeutics Development Facility. He was responsible for the establishment and coordination of eukaryotic expression (e.g., insect and mammalian platforms) efforts. Dr. Gerwe received his Ph.D from the University of Georgia in Biochemistry.

Junfen Ma, Ph.D., Principal Scientist, Amgen 

Junfen Ma is a Principal Scientist at Amgen in the Process & Product Development organization.  She received her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from M.I.T. in 2003.  At Amgen, Junfen is leading a group of scientists and engineers to be responsible for early and late stage biologics downstream process development, process transfer and scale up and development of novel downstream technologies.

Abraham M. Lenhoff, Ph.D., Chair & AP Colburn Professor, Chemical & Biomolecular EngineeringDelaware Biotechnology Institute, University of Delaware  

Abraham Lenhoff is the Allan P. Colburn Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware, where he has been on the faculty since 1984.  He earned a Bachelor's degree from the University of Cape Town and Master's and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin, all in chemical engineering. At Delaware he is also director of the NIH-funded Center for Membrane Protein Production and Characterization at University of Delaware. His research is primarily on application of principles of thermodynamics, transport phenomena, biophysics and colloid science to protein separations and phase behavior, especially chromatography and crystallization.  

Andrew Stephen, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Protein Expression Lab, Cancer Research Technology Program, Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc., Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research 

Andy Stephen received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Liverpool, UK for purifying and characterizing a series of novel plant cysteine proteases. He did postdoctoral training at Washington University in St. Louis at the School of Medicine with Dr. Alan Schwartz on the role of the Ubiquitin activating enzyme in the degradation of proteins within the nucleus. At the UCLA Department of Biological Chemistry he worked with Dr. Lenny Rome characterizing vaults; large ribonucleoprotein particles with unknown function but whose expression is up-regulated in many drug resistant cancer cells. In 2000 he moved to the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Maryland as a staff scientist in the Protein Chemistry Laboratory (PCL). The PCL provides supports to NCI investigators by using a variety of biophysical methods to characterize molecular interactions. The laboratory offers expertise in Surface Plasmon Resonance Spectroscopy and solution based fluorescence approaches. Andy is currently developing methods to understand how ligand binding can change the aggregation profile and thermal stability of proteins. 

Julia Spitz, Ph.D., Associate Director, Protein Science, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG   

Julia Spitz studied Biology at the University of Erlangen and the University of Wuerzburg, Germany. After performing her doctoral thesis at the Max-Planck-Institute of Biophysics in Frankfurt, Germany, she joined the Protein Science, Process Science, Boehringer-Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG in Biberach, Germany, as a Post-Doc and is now leading a group in the Protein Science Department.

Ray Owens, Ph.D., NDM Senior Research Fellow, Division of Structural Biology, Oxford Protein Production Facility, University of Oxford  

Ray Owens has extensive experience of the production of recombinant proteins for structural biology both in industry and academia. He obtained his PhD in biochemistry at the University of Cambridge, UK and has a long- standing interest in protein structure and function.

He is currently a Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine Research Fellow at the University of Oxford and Head of the Oxford Protein Production Facility-UK. This is a National Resource Centre for protein production and crystallization, based at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, near Oxford.

Michael Taussig, Ph.D., Head, Technology Research Group, Babraham Bioscience Technologies  

Mike Taussig graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge with a BA in Biochemistry and Ph.D in Immunology. After post-doc periods at the Weizmann Institute and the Basel Institute for Immunology, he joined the Babraham Institute in Cambridge where he is head of the Technology Research Group.

Mike Taussig is currently head of the Technology Research Group at the Babraham Institute, Cambridge, UK. His research experience and interests include structure and genetics of antibodies, protein display libraries and selection, protein array design, cell free protein expression systems and X-ray crystallography. He is a co-inventor of ribosome display technology for selection of binding proteins, and protein array methods, where he has developed systems for producing protein arrays in situ from DNA. He is a board member of the European Federation of Biotechnology and chariman of the EFB section on Applied Functional Genomics. He is the coordinator of ProteomeBinders, an EU FP6 research infrastructure action aiming to establish a European resource of affinity binding reagents for detection of the human proteome. He has implemented and chaired two functional genomics programmes for the European Science Foundation, firstly Integrated Approaches to Functional Genomics (2000-2005) and currently Frontiers of Functional Genomics (2006-2011), which receives funding from research councils in 17 European countries. Thus he brings expertise both in research activity areas related to binding molecules, as well as in project management at the European level. He is a Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge, where he teaches General Pathology.

Susan Callahan, Ph.D., Senior Associate Scientist, Amgen  

Susan is a Senior Associate Scientist at Amgen Inc. and has over 20 years of industry experience working on protein therapeutics. She currently works in the Analytical Core Services group where she develops and utilizes various high-throughput and miniaturized assays. The focus of her current work is the use of various automation platforms for the characterization of protein therapeutics.

David W. Galbraith, Ph.D., Professor, Plant Sciences & Bio5 Institute, University of Arizona 

David Galbraith obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees in Biochemistry from the University of Cambridge, and postdoctoral training as a NATO Fellow at Stanford University. His first academic appointment was at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, and he became Professor of Plant Sciences at the University of Arizona in 1989. His research has focused on the development of instrumentation and methods for the analysis of biological cells, organs, and systems. He pioneered the use of flow cytometry and sorting in plants, developing widely‐used methods for the analysis of genome size and cell cycle status, and for the production of somatic hybrids. He also was amongst the first to develop methods for the analysis of gene expression within specific cell types, using markers based on Fluorescent Protein expression for flow sorting these cells, and microarray platforms for analysis of their transcriptional activities and protein complements. Current interests include applications of highly parallel platforms for transcript and protein profiling of minimal sample sizes, and for analysis of genetic and epigenetic mechanisms that regulate gene expression during normal development and in diseased states. He has published more than 160 scholarly research articles, holds several patents, and was elected a Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science in 2002.