PEGS-The Chain Episode 37

The Chain looks back to earlier this year when researchers virtually convened on the one-year anniversary of the first documented case of COVID-19 in the United States. This episode brings you a panel discussion from PepTalk Protein Science and Production Week, moderated by Karla Satchell, PhD, Professor of Microbiology and Co-Director of the Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases at Northwestern University. The panel discusses the role of data integration for the rapid R&D of therapeutics and vaccines, the immediate challenges in the new year – as the Delta variant spreads this summer in the United States -- and how we can transform nearsighted lessons learned into a farsighted vision of pandemic preparedness.



Karla Satchell, PhD, Professor, Microbiology; Principal Investigator and Co-Director, Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases, Northwestern University - Linkedin
Dr. Karla Satchell is a Professor of Microbiology-Immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine since 2000. She is also the Principal Investigator for the NIAID-funded Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases, a multi-site center in high-throughput structure determination for microbial pathogens. In 2020, the Center dedicated significant resources to structural biology of SARS-CoV-2, including efforts to provide structural biology data to support development of novel drugs, vaccines, and therapeutics. Across all areas of research, she has published more than 100 research articles. She has also been elected as a Fellow for the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


William Gillette, PhD, Principal Scientist, Protein Expression Laboratory, Leidos Biomedical Research - Linkedin
William Gillette currently leads the recombinant protein production efforts of the RAS Initiative at the Frederick National Laboratory in Frederick, MD.

Arvind Ramanathan, PhD, Computational Biologist, Argonne National Laboratory - Linkedin
Arvind Ramanathan is a computational biologist in the Data Science and Learning Division at Argonne National Laboratory and a senior scientist at the University of Chicago Consortium for Advanced Science and Engineering (CASE). His research interests are at the intersection of data science, high performance computing and biological/biomedical sciences. His research focuses on three areas focusing on scalable statistical inference techniques: (1) for analysis and development of adaptive multi-scale molecular simulations for studying complex biological phenomena (such as how intrinsically disordered proteins self-assemble, or how small molecules modulate disordered protein ensembles), (2) to integrate complex data for public health dynamics, and (3) for guiding design of CRISPR-Cas9 probes to modify microbial function(s). He has published over 30 papers, and his work has been highlighted in the popular media, including NPR and NBC News. He obtained his Ph.D. in computational biology from Carnegie Mellon University, and was the team lead for integrative systems biology team within the Computational Science, Engineering and Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  More information about his group and research interests can be found at

Erica Ollmann Saphire, PhD, Professor, La Jolla Institute for Immunology - Linkedin
Erica Ollmann Saphire, PhD is a Professor of the La Jolla Institute for Immunology. Her research explains, at the molecular level, how and why viruses like Ebola and Lassa are pathogenic and provides the roadmap for medical defense. Her team has solved the structures of the Ebola, Sudan, Marburg, Bundibugyo and Lassa virus glycoproteins, explained how they remodel these structures as they drive themselves into cells, how their proteins suppress immune function and where human antibodies can defeat these viruses. A recent discovery revealed why neutralizing antibodies had been so difficult to elicit against Lassa virus, and provided not only the templates for the needed vaccine, but the molecule itself: a Lassa surface glycoprotein engineered to remain in the right conformation to inspire the needed antibody response. This molecule is the basis for international vaccine efforts against Lassa. Dr. Saphire was also the galvanizing force behind the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Immunotherapeutic Consortium and is the Director of this organization. This consortium, an NIH-funded Center of Excellence in Translational Research, unites 44 previously competing academic, industrial and government labs across five continents to understand and provide antibody therapeutics against Ebola, Marburg, Lassa and other viruses. Dr. Saphire’s work has been recognized at the White House with the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering, with young investigator awards from the International Congress of Antiviral Research, the American Society for Microbiology, and the MRC Centre for Virus Research in the United Kingdom. She has been awarded a Fulbright Global Scholar fellowship from the United States Department of State and a Mercator Fellowship from Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, to develop international collaborations using cryoelectron microscopy to further global health.

Anupam Singhal, PhD, Senior Product Manager, Antibody Discovery, Marketing, Berkeley Lights, Inc. - Linkedin
Anupam Singhal earned his PhD from the University of British Columbia and has over 15 years of experience in nanotechnology and microfluidics at UBC, the University of Toronto and Stanford University.  His work has been cited over 600 times and resulted in several patents for molecular disease diagnosis, antibody discovery, and development of production cell-lines for biologics. At Berkeley Lights, Anupam leads the development of next-generation platforms for the discovery and development of antibody therapeutics.


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