PepTalk 2017
PepTalk 2017
2014 Archived Content

Speaker Biographies

Engineering Genes, Vectors, Constructs and Clones 

Sriram Kosuri, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles 

Dr. Kosuri received his B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 2001, where he conducted research on bacterial systems biology with Dr. Adam Arkin. In 2007, he received his Sc.D. in Biological Engineering at MIT working with Dr. Drew Endy. His research focused on developing simulations and models of bacteriophage T7 gene expression, and testing these models by redesign and synthesis of the T7 genome. During this time he co-founded OpenWetWare, and helped the initial development of the MIT Synthetic Biology Working Group and iGEM. After graduate school, he helped start Joule Unlimited, which is focused on developing fuels from light and CO2 using engineered cyanobacteria. In 2009, he joined Dr. George Church’s lab and the newly created Wyss Institute conducting research on next-generation technologies in DNA synthesis and multiplexed assays of gene expression. He will be joining the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department at UCLA in January 2014.

Marcin Paduch, Ph.D., Technical Director, Recombinant Antibody Network, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The University of Chicago 

Dr. Paduch is a Technical Director of Synthetic Antibody & Crystallography Core Facility at The University of Chicago and manages an antibody generation pipeline serving the NIGMS PSI:Biology program, Membrane Protein Structural Dynamics Consortium, Chicago Biochemical Consortium and NIH Common Fund Protein Capture Reagents Program under the umbrella of the Recombinant Antibody Network (RAN). His work is focusing on expression, purification and biophysical characterization of proteins followed by antibody engineering and validation. Since joining the RAN consortium he has been instrumental in developing high-throughput phage display methodologies and automation systems supporting recombinant antibody generation projects.

Yongping Crawford, Ph.D., Scientist, Early Stage Cell Culture, Genentech, Inc. 

Yongping Crawford is a Scientist in the Department of Early Stage Cell Culture at Genentech. Her primary responsibilities are to lead research associates in developing Phase I/II and III cell lines for supporting the pipeline; to develop/apply new technologies for cell line development (CLD); and to engineer host cells aimed at improving and simplifying the CLD process. She was trained as a cancer biologist. Crawford received her Ph.D. from UCSF and continued her training as a postdoctoral fellow at Genentech Research organization.

Wei Chen, Ph.D., Managing Director, BioPharmaneer, Inc. 

Dr. Wei Chen has over 25 years of biopharmaceutical industry experience in managing multiple biologic product development and cGMP manufacturing operations for both clinical and commercialization. Based on an integrated technology approach combining biology, process, engineering and regulatory principles, he has led and design-built a number of the most cost-effective cGMP biologic manufacturing facilities and operations with successful regulatory inspections for multi-products. His responsibilities and expertise include technical team building/training, vector-cell lines development, process/analytical development/scale up, quality assurance, quality control, validation, facility engineering and CMC regulatory submissions. Types of products include monoclonal antibodies, scFv, Fab, ADC, recombinant protein therapeutics, vaccines, viral and DNA vectors, gene/cell therapies, cytokines, hormones, immunomodulators, enzymes, antibiotics, cancer therapeutics, etc. Dr. Chen has held positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Centocor/J&J, Immunomedics, BioReliance, Corautus/Baxter, Symbigene and Phage. Dr. Chen has a Ph.D. in Bioreaction Engineering and did postdoc research at Yale University, University of British Columbia and UCLA.

Roland Weis, Ph.D., Head, Operations, VTU Technology GmbH
Roland Weis, Head of Operations, completed his M.Sc. in microbiology at Karl-Franzens-University Graz and holds a Ph.D. in molecular biotechnology from Graz University of Technology. After his engagement in a bilateral project with Pasadena-based BioCatalytics, Inc., he was appointed authorized representative and scientific director of BioCatalytics Europe GmbH in Grambach, Austria. In 2007, he joined VTU Technology to head the operational team for high throughput protein production with Pichia pastoris.

James L. Hartley, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Protein Expression Laboratory, Advanced Technology Program, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research 

Jim Hartley worked at Life Technologies, Inc. / Invitrogen, where he helped develop the Gateway cloning technology. Since 2001 he has been in the Protein Expression Laboratory of the Advanced Technology Program at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research.

Joseph Kittle, Jr., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Ohio University and CSO, Molecular Technologies Laboratories, LLC 

Joseph Kittle, Jr. is Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Ohio University and CSO of Molecular Technology Labs, an established contract research organization that has top-tier pharma and biotech clients. Dr. Kittle was formerly SVP, Research and Technology at Coda Genomics (now Verdezyne) and Senior Director, Research at Lark Technologies. He did his graduate work at Harvard University with Nancy Kleckner and a postdoctoral fellowship with Alan Lambowitz at The Ohio State University.

John Cashman, Ph.D., President and Founder, Human BioMolecular Research Institute 

Dr. John Cashman is the President and Founder of the Human BioMolecular Research Institute (HBRI) in San Diego, CA. He has more than 30 years experience in biomedical research as a researcher, consultant, entrepreneur and administrator. Dr. Cashman has extensive experience in medicinal chemistry, drug metabolism, drug development, drug stability evaluation, pharmacokinetics, toxicology and preclinical in vitro and in vivo drug candidate evaluation. He has a successful history of moving compounds from basic chemistry and drug discovery through development and subsequent commercialization of small molecule-based drug candidates. Dr. Cashman has been affiliated with 5 NDAs that have been successfully steered through the FDA process and several of these drug candidates have emerged as drugs and are on the market today. He has established or been a founder of 11 corporations (both for-profits and non-profits). He is the author of over 200 research articles or book chapters, and is an inventor or co-inventor on 16 patents in the area of drug discovery and evaluation. In 1997, he founded HBRI, a non-profit research institute dedicated to performing fundamental and applied research to address important human diseases of the central nervous system. He completed a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemistry at Harvard University with Professor E.J. Corey (1982-1984). Dr. Cashman received his master’s and doctorate degrees in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Kansas, Lawrence (1982). He obtained bachelor degrees in chemistry and biology at the College of Creative Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara (1977).

Curtis Knox, Vice President, Marketing & Sales, Lucigen Corp.
Curtis Knox is currently the Vice President of Marketing & Sales for Lucigen, where he has been since 2011.  He has 20 years of experience as a scientist and product development specialist in the areas of molecular biology, forensics, and molecular diagnostics, focusing primarily on sequencing and genotyping applications.  Mr. Knox holds a B.S. in Genetics from Iowa State University and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Partha Chowdhury, Ph.D., Principal Scientist, Antibody Discovery and Protein Engineering, MedImmune, Inc. 

Dr. Chowdhury is Principal Scientist in Medimmune, leading a group of 12 scientists in the area of antibody technology development and drug discovery. Dr. Chowdhury has 20 years of experience in the field of antibody drug discovery and development and is author and co-author of many peer-reviewed papers and patents.

James E. Galen, Ph.D., Professor, Medicine, Chief, Salmonella Live Vector Vaccine Section, University of Maryland School of Medicine 

I have been involved for over 15 years with the construction of attenuated bacterial vaccines, and their use as live vectors for delivery of foreign antigens to the human immune system. Over the last decade, I have focused on the development of plasmid-based expression systems for delivery of foreign antigens from both prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms, and have genetically engineered a novel antigen transport system for export of antigens out to the surface of attenuated S.Typhi. I have also engineered a novel plasmid stabilization and selection system which removes the need for plasmid selection using antibiotics and guarantees plasmid retention in vivo after introduction into live vector strains. I have applied these advances in expression technology to the development of biodefense vaccines targeting diseases caused by Bacillus anthracis and Yersinia pestis. I have recently begun to develop chromosomal expression technologies for delivery of multiple foreign antigens, which will be required in future efforts to develop multivalent live vector vaccines with the capacity to elicit protective immunity against one or more pathogens without the need for combining several strains into a single inoculum.

Mark Welch, Ph.D., Director, Gene Design, DNA2.0, Inc.
Dr. Welch received his Ph.D. in 1996 for work in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Yarus at the University of Colorado at Boulder where he studied of the role of 23S ribosomal RNA in translation.  From 1998 to 2002, Dr. Welch worked on development and application of directed protein evolution technologies at Maxygen. Subsequently, he held positions in protein engineering technology development at Kosan Biosciences and Applied Biosystems before joining DNA2.0 in 2007 as Director of Gene Design.

Lawrence J. Tartaglia, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Center for Structural Biology, University of Florida 

Lawrence Tartaglia received his undergraduate degree in biology from Rutgers University in 2003. In 2007, he obtained a master’s degree in molecular biology for research on the psychrophilic ice worm, Mesenchytraeus solifugus, under the supervision of Dr. Daniel H. Shain. In this study he used molecular and biochemical techniques to determine how ice worm microtubules remain functional at low physiological temperatures. In 2008, he joined Dr. Mavis Agbandje-McKenna’s lab at the University of Florida, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, for his Ph.D. thesis research project focused on the characterization of the interaction of Adeno-associated virus serotype 2 (a promising gene delivery vector) and its integrin co-receptors. His studies involved the development of constructs for the expression and purification of recombinant αVβ5 and α5β1 integrins in various expression systems. The interactions were characterized using multiple techniques including surface plasmon resonance and cryo-electron microscopy. He received his Ph.D. in the summer of 2013.

Domenico Maione, Ph.D., Unit Head, Cloning and Expression, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics 

Dr. Maione is Head of the Cloning and Expression Unit at Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Siena, Italy. He has longstanding experience in the vaccinology field. He is contributing to the development of vaccines against bacterial and viral pathogens, with particular focus on Group B Streptococcus. His main interests are antigen discovery and characterization, protein expression and structural studies. Dr. Maione received a Ph.D. in Genetics and Molecular Biology from University of Rome – La Sapienza.

Wassim Abdulrahman, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Mechanisms of Cancer, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research and CPC Novartis 

During more than seven years, I developed methods to simplify and improve the quality of protein samples production in insect cells. I specialized in designing construct-generation tools for the expression of multi-protein complexes, a bottleneck which academic and fundamental researchers must face to investigate new targets. The tools I established became widely used in the platform of genomics and structural biology at IGBMC institute in Strasbourg where I received my Ph.D. in 2009. Thanks to this success I was recruited at Friedrich Miescher Institute (part of Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research in Basel) to further develop these techniques and adapt them to high-throughput screening.

Christoph Freiberg, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Biologics Research, Bayer HealthCare 

Christoph Freiberg, Ph.D., is a biologist working since 2007 as senior scientist and project manager in Bayer HealthCare’s Biologics Research in Wuppertal, Germany. He is heading a laboratory responsible for protein expression and cell line development and is leading biologics data management as well as lead optimization projects. Before, Christoph worked as Professor for Applied Biochemistry and Bioinformatics in the Department of Chemistry at the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences in Krefeld, Germany, and as research scientist and project manager in Bayer’s Antiinfectives Research and non-clinical development. Christoph was educated at the Universities of Göttingen, Marburg and Jena, Germany (diploma in Biology, Ph.D. in Molecular Biology).


Recombinant Protein Expression and Production 

Lorenz M. Mayr, Ph.D., Vice President, Reagents & Assay Development, AstraZeneca, Inc. 

Lorenz has been working since September 2012 as Vice President, Reagents & Assay Development with global responsibility for generation of biological reagents and assay development activities at AstraZeneca. This includes generation of proteins and cell lines for hit finding, hit-to-lead and lead optimisation activities including structure and biophysics activities across all therapeutic areas, the generation of tool antibodies, transgenic animals, stem cells and primary cells as tools for target validation studies and lead optimisation programmes. His department in the U.K. and Sweden is responsible for assay development activities for biochemical, cell-based and phenotypic assays for all therapeutic areas at AstraZeneca. Before that, he has worked as Executive Director at Novartis Pharma in Basel, Switzerland, at Bayer Pharma Research in Wuppertal, Germany, at Bayer Central Research in Leverkusen, Germany and at the MIT/Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts (U.S.A.). He has published more than 50 papers in peer-reviewed journals and serves on several editorial and scientific advisory boards, including two terms on the Board of Directors for the Society of Biomolecular Sciences (2004-2011), and has worked as the Conference Chair of the MipTec Drug Discovery Conference, Europe’s largest drug discovery event, held in Basel, Switzerland.

Ki Jun Jeong, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, KAIST 

Prof. Ki Jun Jeong is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, KAIST. He obtained his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from KAIST in 2001 and he joined Dr. George Georgiou’s research group in University of Texas at Austin (USA) as a postdoctoral fellow. In 2008, he joined KAIST and currently, his research is focused on protein/antibody engineering, including (i) antibody engineering against various infectious diseases, (ii) development of new scaffold proteins as alternative antibodies and (iii) systems/synthetic biology for efficient production of antibody and antibody fragments in bacterial system, and mass production by high-cell-density cultivations.

Glenn F. King, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland 

Glenn did his Ph.D. at the University of Sydney (USYD) before postdoctoral studies at the University of Oxford. After academic stints at USYD and the University of Connecticut Health Center, he joined the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland in 2007, where he is currently a NHMRC Principal Research Fellow. The focus of Glenn’s research is venoms-based drug discovery, in particular the development of eco-friendly insecticides and analgesics. Glenn’s research on insecticidal spider-venom peptides led to his founding of Vestaron Corporation, an agricultural biotechnology company focused on development of eco-friendly insecticides. In recent years, his attention has turned to the development of novel anti-pain therapeutics (analgesics) based on venom peptides that modulate the activity of either ligand- or voltage-gated ion channels in primary sensory neurons. Several molecules discovered in his lab have already progressed to preclinical studies. Glenn has published 175 journal articles and book chapters and he currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of three companies and the Editorial Board of four journals. He is a former President of the Australian Society for Biophysics and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

James M. Rini, Ph.D., Professor, Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, University of Toronto 

James Rini obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Toronto where he studied protein-carbohydrate interactions using x-ray crystallography, NMR and other biophysical techniques. His postdoctoral work at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA, was aimed at understanding the structural and mechanistic basis for the specificity shown by anti-peptide antibodies. He is now a full professor at the University of Toronto where his research interests are focussed on: i) glycosyltransferases and ER quality control, ii) coronavirus-receptor interactions and iii) the role of IgG Fc glycosylation. In all cases, the work is cross-disciplinary in nature involving structural, biochemical and cell-based approaches.

Igor Fisch, Ph.D., CEO, Selexis SA Dr. Igor Fisch co-founded Selexis SA in March 2001 and has been the company’s Chairman and CEO since its inception. Igor brings the company his extensive network amongst key decision makers in the Biotech and Pharmaceutical industry and has a demonstrated track record for executing major licensing deals in the industry worldwide. Igor is a member of the Board of Directors of Affitech A/S.  He co-founded BioXpress SA and sits on its advisory board and is on the board of the Venture kick initiative. An accomplished protein chemist and molecular biologist, Igor previously was a professor at the Center for Biotechnology at the University of Lausanne and the EPFL. He obtained his PhD under the direction of Professor Robin Offord at the University of Geneva and pursued his post-doctoral studies in the laboratory of Prof. Sir Gregory Winter at the Medical Research Council (MRC) in Cambridge, UK. In parallel to his research and teaching activities, Igor obtained several awards including the De Vigier Prize and the NETS Best Prize.

John Proctor, Ph.D., Director, Corporate Development, ProteinSimple
John Proctor is currently the Director of Corporate Development at ProteinSimple leading Marketing efforts for both the Simple Western and Imaging product families. John earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience studying the role of integrins during vascular development of the brain and the University of California in San Francisco. Since then, he has been developing and marketing various novel and innovative technologies for cell-based drug screening, biomoleular interaction analysis, and protein analysis.

Karl E. Griswold, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College 

Karl Griswold is an Associate Professor at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth. His work in the field of combinatorial protein engineering has resulted in the development of novel strategies for gene library construction and new approaches to high-throughput screening of recombinant enzyme libraries. At the Thayer School, his research group is seeking to develop and utilize tools for evolutionary protein engineering while placing a priority on designing therapeutic enzymes with practical utility in treating human disease. His work on antibacterial biocatalysts has been recognized with the Coulter Foundation Early Career Translational Research Award in Biomedical Engineering, as well as numerous grants from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease.

Per Amstrup Pedersen, Ph.D., Professor, Biology, University of Copenhagen 

Per Amstrup Pedersen is Professor at the Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. His research focuses on high-yield production and purification of recombinant eukaryotic membrane proteins for biochemical and structural characterization. He is highly engaged in discovering the potentials of membrane proteins in industrial separation and sensing technologies through a 15 million dollar enterprise. In vivo protein mal-folding is a challenge faced in recombinant membrane protein production as well as in patients suffering from certain genetic diseases. Identification of chemical chaperones to circumvent this problem is another focus point of his research.

Alexei Yeliseev, Ph.D., Staff Scientist, Protein Biochemistry, LMBB, National Institutes of Health 

Alexei Yeliseev received his Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1987 from the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow and did his postdoctoral research in enzymology of methanogenesis with Rolf Thauer at Philipps-University in Marburg, Germany and on molecular biology and biochemistry of vitamin B12 biosynthesis with Sir Alan Battersby at Cambridge, UK. From 1993-1999 he worked as a Senior Research Fellow on regulation of microbial photosynthesis at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston before moving to a position of Senior Scientist at Hoffmann-La Roche and later, Senior Scientist at Kosan Biosciences, Inc. He joined the NIH in 2003 and currently heads the protein biochemistry group with responsibility for developing technologies for expression, purification and analysis of recombinant G protein-coupled receptors. In addition to his research work he serves as a member of the editorial board of Protein Expression and Purification and Journal of Receptor, Ligand and Channel Research.

Michael D. Burkart, Ph.D., Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, San Diego 

Mike Burkart received a B.A. in chemistry from Rice University in 1994 and Ph.D. from Scripps Research Institute in 1999. Following postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School, he started his lab in 2002 at University of California, San Diego, where he is currently a Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Associate Director of the California Center for Algae Biotechnology. He is the recipient of the Ellison New Scholar Award, the NSF CAREER Award, an American Cancer Society Research Scholarship, the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship and is an NIH Eureka recipient. His research interests include natural product synthesis, biosynthesis and metabolic engineering.

Russell Coleman, Senior Scientist, Pfenex Inc.
Senior Scientist in Molecular Biology supporting projects within Pfenex’s Product Development and Strain Engineering-based businesses. Contributed to the development of the Pfenex Expression technology platform for over 11 years.

Zhimei Du, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Cell Sciences & Technology, Amgen, Inc. 

Zhimei Du earned a Ph.D. from Cornell University Medical College, Immunology Program, studying the regulation of Jak/Stat signaling pathways during innate immune response. After graduation, she joined Robert G. Roeder’s laboratory at Rockefeller University, studying transcriptional regulation mechanism and epigenetic effects during early B cell development. After three years, she was recruited by Regeneron’s antibody engineering group, focusing on bi-specific Ab development. Later, she joined Amgen’s Cell Sciences &Technology department, focusing on cell line development.

Mark Tié, Associate Scientist, Cell Culture Development, Biogen Idec 

Mark Tié received a BS from the University of Vermont. He is in the process of completing coursework for his Master’s degree.

Inci Ozdemir, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Culture Process Development, Pfizer, Inc. 

Inci Ozdemir received her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Biology in 2006 from the Middle East Technical University, Turkey. She wanted to be more intellectually engaged in the biotechnology track of chemical engineering and to live abroad. These two dreams took her to the United States. She enrolled in a Ph.D. program in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering with a minor in Biotechnology at NC State University. Inci Ozdemir has conducted research using extremely thermophilic species in the graduate school; she got experienced in molecular biology, fermentation technology and downstream processing. After finishing her doctorate degree in 2012, she joined Pfizer, St. Louis, MO. Currently, she is working as a Senior Scientist at Bioprocess R&D Biotherapeutics Pharmaceutical Sciences, Culture Process Development, Pfizer, Inc.

Kristin DeFife, Ph.D., Director, Biologics, Ajinomoto Althea
Dr. DeFife is the Director of Biologics at Ajinomoto Althea and has over fifteen years of successful leadership and biologics development and manufacturing experience in the biotechnology industry. Most recently, she served as VP of Operations at PacificGMP, a biologics contract manufacturing organization. Prior to her tenure at PacificGMP, she held the position of VP of Research and Development at MediVas, LLC as well as scientific positions at Immusol Inc. and CyThera and was engaged in the development of therapeutic recombinant biologics. Dr. DeFife received her Ph.D in Pathology from Case Western Reserve University and a B.S. in Biological Sciences, Magna Cum Laude, from Quincy College.

R. Mark Jones, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology
Mark Jones is Head of the Protein Biochemistry Group at Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology (FhCMB). His group is responsible for small- and large-scale downstream process development, bioanalytical/biophysical characterization, formulation and process/method transfer to the Center’s GMP Bioprocess Facility. He received his Ph.D. from Tulane University with postdoctoral training at Thomas Jefferson University. FhCMB is a not-for-profit research organization focused on the development of plant-expressed vaccines, therapeutics and reagents and has advanced lead target molecules into clinical trials.

Miller Tran, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Triton Algae Innovations 

Miller Tran received his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego and is a co-founder of Triton Algae Innovations. Dr. Tran has spent his career focusing on the development of the algal chloroplast recombinant protein expression platform. In numerous publications, Dr. Tran has demonstrated the versatility of algal chloroplast in folding and assembling complex mammalian proteins such as full-length human antibodies. Additionally, he has demonstrated the unique ability of chloroplasts to assemble and accumulate complex immunotoxin proteins. As a scientist in Triton, Dr. Tran continues to pursue the development of immunotoxin therapy using algae as an expression host.


Transient Protein Production 

Sabine Geisse, Ph.D., Director/NLS, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research 

Sabine Geisse’s major focus of expertise is in eukaryotic cell biology with 25 years of experience. She holds Ph.D.s in Nutrition and Human Biology awarded by the Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen and Philipps-University in Marburg, respectively. Following a postdoc period at the University of Essen, Germany, she joined Sandoz/Novartis in 1988 within the Discovery Technologies department. In 2004, she received the Novartis Leading Scientist award. As a group leader, her team is responsible for the recombinant production of biomolecules such as antigens and antibodies.

Jong-Mook Kim, Ph.D., Director, Cell Science Team, R&D Division, Celltrion Inc. 

I am a head of Cell Science Team at R&D Division, Celltrion Inc. Currently, I am focused on development of mammalian cell line expressing recombinant protein.

Athena Wong, Ph.D., Scientist, Early Stage Cell Culture, Genentech, Inc. 

Athena Wong is a Scientist in the Department of Early Stage Cell Culture at Genentech where she has worked in the field of transient transfections for over eight years. She leads a group which supports material generation for discovery and preclinical studies through the use of transient transfections and stable pools. Her group’s efforts in transfection optimization include the evaluation of new HEK293 and CHO host cell lines as well as the development of automated, small-scale transfection systems. Athena holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and B.S. from the University of California at Davis.

James Brady, Ph.D., Director, Technical Applications, MaxCyte, Inc.
Dr. Brady received a B.S. in Biology from the College of William and Mary and a Ph.D. in Genetics from Indiana University.  Following a postdoctoral fellowship in the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Brady worked for four years at MetaMorphix, Inc. as a Senior Scientist and as a Group Leader in the Company’s Transgenic Livestock program, where he managed internal and external projects focused on improving livestock by modifying the activity of growth and differentiation factors.  Later, Dr, Brady was a Senior Scientist at Genetic Therapy, Inc., a Novartis subsidiary, where he worked on lentiviral-based gene therapy treatments for ocular disorders. Since 2004, has been with MaxCyte, Inc., where he serves as Director of Technical Applications.

Hao Chen, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Protein Technologies, Amgen, Inc. 

Dr. Hao Chen is a Sr. Scientist at the Department of Protein Technologies, Amgen Inc. He is currently working on cloning, protein expression and engineering using multiple platforms for drug discovery. Before joining Amgen, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Gerald Fink at Whitehead Institute/MIT after obtaining his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Rutgers University/HHMI, under the supervision of Dr. Richard Ebright.

Lars Kober, Ph.D., Scientist, Cellca GmbH 

Dr. Lars Kober is a bioengineer focused on Cell Line Development and Media Development. He has performed his doctoral thesis under the supervision of Prof. Jürgen Bode and received his degree with honors from the Technical University Braunschweig. As Head of Quality Management he was in charge of planning and implementation of a very effective quality management system at Cellca GmbH.

Yvonne J. Rosenberg, Ph.D., CEO, PlantVax, Inc. 

Dr. Rosenberg is Founder and CEO of PlantVax, Inc., a biotechnology company in Rockville, MD.  PlantVax is developing recombinant therapeutic proteins in plant and mammalian expression systems. The focus of the research is production of highly neutralizing HIV mAbs to use as passive immunotherapeutics to prevent HIV transmission or infections and the production of an organophosphate bioscavenger pretreatment to prevent neurotoxicity resulting from nerve agent or pesticide exposure. Dr. Rosenberg received her Ph.D. from the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia in immunology and completed her postgraduate studies at the NIH and NIMR, London.

R. Mark Jones, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology
Mark Jones is Head of the Protein Biochemistry Group at Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology (FhCMB). His group is responsible for small- and large-scale downstream process development, bioanalytical/biophysical characterization, formulation and process/method transfer to the Center’s GMP Bioprocess Facility. He received his Ph.D. from Tulane University with postdoctoral training at Thomas Jefferson University. FhCMB is a not-for-profit research organization focused on the development of plant-expressed vaccines, therapeutics and reagents and has advanced lead target molecules into clinical trials.

Rima Menassa, Ph.D., Research Scientist and Adjunct Professor, Biology, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Western University 

Dr. Rima Menassa has over 15 years of experience working on recombinant protein production in plants as a research scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. She has worked with pharmaceutical proteins, mainly focused on the treatment of autoimmune diseases, and industrial proteins, such as spidersilk proteins and cell wall degrading enzymes. She has established several plant expression systems, including transient Agro-infiltration in Nicotiana benthamiana and tobacco, nuclear and chloroplast transformation in tobacco and BY-2 cell suspensions. Dr. Menassa received her Ph.D. from McGill University in Montreal.

Joseph Shiloach, Ph.D., Head, Biotechnology Core Laboratory, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), NIH 

Joseph Shiloach is the head of the Biotechnology Core laboratory at the NIDDK/NIH; he has been involved in various biotechnological topics since 1980. The laboratory specializes in the large-scale production and purification of biological materials from various sources to advance research in fields such as vaccines, structural biology and drug development. To achieve this goal, the lab integrates two main functions: (1) production which is done in a multipurpose, state-of-the-art pilot production facility and (2) research and process development that is conducted by performing independent biotechnology research towards solving biological production issues through the utilizing of physiological, molecular biology and technical approaches.

Rüdiger Neef, Ph.D., Principal Scientist, USP Development, Amgen, Inc. 

Currently I am Principal Scientist at Amgen Research Munich and responsible for upstream development (cell line generation and fermentation) and technology transfer. I had the same function at Micromet and came to Amgen via the acquisition of Micromet by Amgen in 2012. After obtaining my master of biology with the focus on genetics, biochemistry and immunology from the University of Munich, Germany I was research assistant at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in NYC. Coming back to Munich, I did my Ph.D. at the Institute for Immunology of the University of Munich working on the molecular mechanism of metastasis of human melanoma. Before joining Micromet/Amgen I did a long year postdoc at the Max-Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried, Germany in the Department of Cell Biology, studying cell cycle regulation by mitotic kinases and motor proteins.

Susan Sharfstein, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Nanobioscience, Nanoscale Science and Engineering, University at Albany, State University of New York 

Susan Sharfstein received her B.S. in chemical engineering with honors from Caltech in 1987 and her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from UC Berkeley in 1993, receiving graduate fellowships from the university and the National Science Foundation. She received a National Institutes of Health Individual Research Service Award to pursue postdoctoral studies, initially at UC Berkeley and subsequently at the UCLA Medical School. Dr. Sharfstein joined the faculty at the University of Toledo in Bioengineering in 1996. In 2000, she received a National Science Foundation POWRE award to study glycobiology at the New York State Department of Health Wadsworth Laboratories. In 2001, she joined the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and in 2007 she received a dual appointment in Biology. In 2010, she joined the faculty at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University at Albany as an Associate Professor of Nanobioscience. Professor Sharfstein received an NSF CAREER grant in 2000 for her work on hyperosmotic stress responses of hybridoma cells and the School of Engineering Education Excellence Award and the Class of 1951 Outstanding Teaching Award in 2007. She is the author of over 40 papers and book chapters in the field of mammalian cell biotechnology.

Henry C. Chiou, Ph.D., Senior Product Manager, Life Technologies 

Dr. Chiou has over 15 years of experience working on development of mammalian protein expression systems and transfection reagents. For the past nine years he has worked as a principal scientist and now in product development and portfolio management for Life Technologies. He has led the development efforts on a number of products, including the FreeStyle™ transient expression systems, Lipofectamine™ LTX and Lipofectamine™ RNAiMAX. Prior to Life Technologies, he worked for several biotech companies on biotherapeutic gene delivery systems. Dr. Chiou received his doctorate from Harvard University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania.

Jianming Liu, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Discovery Sciences, AstraZeneca, Inc. 

Dr. Jianming Liu is currently a Senior Scientist in the Reagents & Assay Development Department of Discovery Sciences at AstraZeneca R&D, Sweden. He has the responsibility of biochemical assay development for drug discovery projects at various phases. Dr. Liu obtained his Ph.D. in 2000 from Umeå University, Sweden. He received his postdoctoral training in The Scripps Research Institute in California with Dr. Paul Schimmel, with his research focus on the canonical and non-canonical functions of tRNA synthetase enzymes in protein translation and signal transduction. In 2004, Dr. Liu joined AstraZeneca R&D, Sweden. Since then he has worked with various early drug discovery projects in the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease area.

Robin Butler, Senior R&D Manager, Protein Sciences, Antibody Discovery and Protein Engineering, MedImmune 

Before joining Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT) as a Research Scientist in 2001, I worked in research groups in Oxford investigating a broad range of diseases, including ovarian cancer, autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) and the genetics of schizophrenia. I then joined Bayer Pharmaceuticals working in a team developing small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of COPD and asthma. As a Senior Scientist at CAT, I have been involved in supporting key therapeutic programs during their Lead Generation phase, in the Respiratory Inflammation and Autoimmunity (RIA) therapy area. Initially, this was through the generation of recombinant proteins and stably transfected cell lines for use as “antigens” and tools to develop high-throughput screens. From 2007 to date and as part of MedImmune within the Antibody Discovery and Protein Engineering department, I have managed two teams. The Protein Sciences RIA-aligned team supporting all projects at the Cambridge site generating recombinant proteins, transfected cell lines and performing affinity determination, protein biophysical analysis and chemical modification. Also the Biologics Expression Team delivering antibodies, antibody fragments, bispecifics and other drug modalities including Tn3 and peptides-fusions.

Katharine Cain, Ph.D., Principal Scientist, Protein Expression and Purification Group, UCB 

Katharine Cain currently works within the Protein Expression and Purification (PEP) group at UCB in the area of mammalian cell technology and bioprocessing. Within this group she focuses on the identification and implementation of enhancements to both the transient mammalian expression system and early stage cell line manufacturing. Katharine also supervises and coordinates a number of collaborations within this area of research between UCB and academia. Prior to working in PEP she was a member of UCB’s proprietary antibody identification team. Katharine joined UCB nine years ago after completing a the University of Leeds, U.K. on epigenetic gene regulation.

Peter Gray, Ph.D., Director, Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, University of Queensland 

Professor Peter Gray was appointed the inaugural director of the Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) at the University of Queensland in 2003. Previously he was Professor and Head of Biotechnology at UNSW and Director of the Bioengineering Centre, and a Senior Principal Research Fellow at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney. Professor Gray has had commercial experience in the USA working for Eli Lilly and Co. and for the Cetus Corporation and has previously held academic positions at University College London and at the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests are focused on engineering mammalian cells to produce the complex proteins called biologics which are gaining rapid acceptance as human therapeutics, and on developing human stem cells bioprocesses suitable for clinical application. Professor Gray was one of the founders and is a past President of the Australian Biotechnology Association, AusBiotech. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) and of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and has been named one of Australia’s 100 Most Influential Engineers. Awarded the Centenary Medal by the Australian Government in 2001, he is a Vice President of ATSE and serves on the boards of Biopharmaceuticals Australia Pty Ltd, ACYTE Biotechnology Pty Ltd, Stem Cells Ltd, ECI Inc., New York, and a number of state and federal government councils and committees.