Howard Fillit, MD
Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation
Dr. Howard Fillit is an internationally recognized physician-scientist (a geriatrician and neuroscientist) and non-profit executive. He is a leading expert in Alzheimer’s disease with extensive experience in academia, philanthropy and industry. Dr. Fillit is the founding Executive Director and member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for the Study of Aging (ISOA), a private foundation established by Leonard and Ronald Lauder in 1998.
Since 2004, he has also been the Founding Executive Director and Chief Science Officer of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), a public charity and affiliate of ISOA. ISOA and ADDF are dedicated to accelerating drug discovery and development for Alzheimer’s disease. Since 1998, these organizations have provided over $80MM to over 450 academic and biotechnology drug discovery and development programs in 19 countries.
Dr. Fillit currently holds the title of clinical professor of geriatrics and palliative medicine, medicine, and neuroscience at The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (NY). He is also a Physician at The Rockefeller University Hospital. He received his BA in neurobiology cum laude from Cornell University, and his MD from the SUNY-Upstate Medical University.
From 1995-1998, Dr. Fillit was the Corporate Medical Director for Medicare at NYLCare Health Plans (one of the largest national managed care organizations in the US at the time, a division of New York Life acquired by Aetna), providing leadership for program and policy in the provision of managed care to over 125,000 elderly individuals in several regional US markets. Dr. Fillit has served as a member of the Board of Directors for several biotechnology companies, and has been a consultant to, member, or Chair of Scientific and Clinical Advisory Boards for numerous pharmaceutical, biotechnology and health care companies.
InterVivo Solutions, Inc.
Joseph Araujo is InterVivo Solution’s President and CEO. He is focused on optimizing the translational value of InterVivo’s services to facilitate the development and approval of novel drugs.
Mr. Araujo continues to be closely involved in projects utilizing, characterizing and developing the aged dog as a natural model of age-related human diseases. Joseph is a strong proponent for the use of validated natural and/or translational animal models in drug discovery.
His scientific background includes graduate training in pharmacology at the University of Toronto, more than 25 refereed publications and several invited presentations, which exemplifies his continued passion for scientific innovation and expertise in natural aged canine models of human disease.
Mr. Araujo directly supports developing of local biotech talent and companies and has co-founded and held executive level positions in several Ontario-based Contract Research and Life Science companies helping to build their global presence and success.
Ruben Boado, PhD
Dr. Ruben Boado co-founded ArmaGen in 2004, following more than 25 years of academic experience in fields of molecular and cell biology of the BBB, and drug delivery to the brain.
His leadership and expertise have been instrumental in the development of ArmaGen’s extensive product pipeline, including potential biotherapeutic treatments for mucopolysaccharidosis, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Boado was the principal investigator in a number of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs granted by the National Institutes of Health to ArmaGen.
Dr. Boado is also a co-inventor of the intellectual property that supports ArmaGen’s pipeline. He was previously professor of Medicine at UCLA, and has published over 195 scientific peer-reviewed publications and book chapters related to the BBB.
Dr. Boado received his PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Buenos Aires.
Douglas Bonhaus, PhD
Dr. Douglas Bonhaus is a well-established and recognized leader in the pharmaceutical industry with more than twenty five years of experience building and leading drug discovery organizations dedicated to the discovery and development of new therapeutics for neurological and psychiatric disorders. Dr. Bonhaus has served as the Chief Operating Officer of Neuropore Therapies, Inc. since 2011.
His academic training and experience include receiving his PhD in pharmacology and toxicology from the University of Arizona and completing postdoctoral training in the Department of Medicine at Duke University. He was subsequently appointed to a research assistant professor position in the Division of Neurology at Duke University.
Dr. Bonhaus also taught pharmacology and drug discovery through an extension service at the University of California Berkeley. Before joining Neuropore Therapies, Dr. Bonhaus has held industry positions at Syntex, Roche and ACADIA pharmaceuticals; where he served as the Vice President of Biosciences.
Dr. Bonhaus was also co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer for Denysias Bioscience, a start-up company focused on developing a novel therapeutic for a psychiatric indication in Parkinson’s disease. Key scientific and leadership contributions in these positions have resulted in number of novel therapeutic agents being advanced to market or clinical development. Doug Bonhaus has been awarded a number of NIH and private foundation research grants. He is an inventor on several patents and is a principal author on over a hundred peer-reviewed publications.
Kurt Brunden, PhD
University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Kurt Brunden is Director of Drug Discovery and a Research Professor in the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR) at the University of Pennsylvania, where he oversees drug discovery programs in the areas of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), frontotemporal lobar degeneration and Parkinson’s disease.
Prior to joining CNDR in 2007, Dr. Brunden was an executive in the biotechnology sector, where he served as VP of Research at Gliatech, Inc. and later as Sr. VP of Drug Discovery at Athersys, Inc. In these positions, he initiated and managed drug discovery programs in AD, cognitive enhancement, schizophrenia, inflammation, metabolic disease and cancer. Prior to his time in industry, Dr. Brunden was an NIH-funded faculty member within the Biochemistry Department at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, with a research focus on the regulation of myelination.
He obtained his B.S. degree (magna cum laude) from Western Michigan University, with dual majors of Biology and Health Chemistry, and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Purdue University, with a post-doctoral fellowship at the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Brunden has over 100 scientific publications, and multiple issued and pending U.S. and PCT patents.
Dario Doller, PhD
Dr. Dario Doller is currently Senior Director, Deuterium Platform, at Concert Pharmaceuticals, exploiting the potential of deuteration in drug discovery. In his spare time, Dario follows new developments in the areas of allosterism and systems chemistry, aiming to gain a better understanding of drug action at the molecular level, in particular for membrane-bound receptors.
Dario was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he earned a doctorate in Chemistry at the Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Universidad de Buenos Aires. He then conducted postdoctoral work in Bio-organic chemistry with Sir Derek Barton at the Chemistry Department, Texas A&M University. Dario has held industrial positions of increasing responsibility at Rohm & Haas, Schering-Plough Research Institute, 3-Dimensional Pharmaceuticals, Gliatech, Neurogen, Lundbeck Research USA. He consults through Alcyoneus/ScienceWorks.
During his career, Dario has uncovered reaction mechanisms, invented novel chemical reactions, contributed as medicinal chemist to the discovery of the FDA-approved PAR-1 antagonist Vorapaxar, and helped deliver clinical compounds working at GPCRs, most notably the MCHR1 antagonist NGD-4715 and the mGluR5 NAM Lu AF09535. In addition, he has contributed to the design of radioligands and PET ligands, as well as a number of novel probe compounds for chemical biology and target validation studies. Over the last decade, Dario lead global pre-competitive efforts to study potential therapeutic use of allosteric and orthosteric mGluR ligands. Dario has co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, patents and book chapters. He recently edited the book Allosterism in Drug Discovery for RSC’s Drug Discovery Series.
Daniel Erlanson, PhD
Carmot Therapeutics, Inc.
Dr. Daniel Erlanson is the co-founder and president of Carmot Therapeutics, Inc. (http://www.carmot.us). Using a proprietary technology called Chemotype Evolution, Carmot is addressing unmet chemical needs in drug discovery to tackle challenging therapeutic targets.
Prior to Carmot, Dr. Erlanson spent a decade developing technologies and leading medicinal chemistry efforts in oncology and in metabolic and inflammatory diseases at Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, which he joined at the company’s inception.
Before Sunesis, he was an NIH postdoctoral fellow with James A. Wells at Genentech. Dr. Erlanson earned his PhD in chemistry from Harvard University in the laboratory of Gregory L. Verdine and his BA in chemistry from Carleton College.
As well as co-editing two books on fragment-based drug discovery, Dr. Erlanson is an inventor or author on more than forty patents and scientific publications. He is also editor of a blog devoted to fragment-based drug discovery, Practical Fragments (http://practicalfragments.blogspot.com/).
Steven Finkbeiner, MD, PhD
Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease
Dr. Steven Finkbeiner was one of the first investigators to join the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease in 1999. He is is best known for his pioneering work on neurodegenerative diseases. He invented robotic microscopy, a new form of imaging that has helped unravel cause-and-effect relationships in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease), Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Dr. Finkbeiner used his robotic microscope to resolve a long-standing puzzle in Huntington’s disease. A study based on results from the microscope became the most-cited paper in the field of neuroscience in the last decade.
Dr. Finkbeiner studies the molecular mechanisms that are responsible for learning, memory, and neurodegeneration. He aims to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms that control memory formation in neurons to discover crucial insights into the development and progression of neurodegenerative diseases—and the memory disorders that often characterize them. With the help of Bay Area philanthropists, Dr. Finkbeiner established the Taube-Koret Center in 2009 to accelerate the development of drug therapies for patients suffering from conditions such as Huntington’s disease. At Gladstone, he also directs the Hellman Family Foundation Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program.
Dr. Finkbeiner is Associate Editor of Autophagy and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Huntington’s Disease and BioMed Central. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the Lieberman Award, the Taube/Koret Prize and the Award for Outstanding Research Achievement from Nature Biotechnology. He is a member of several scientific and professional societies, including the American Neurological Association, the Society for Neuroscience, the Society for Cell Biology and the Biophysical Society. He is active in graduate training and is a member of the Neuroscience, Biomedical Sciences and Medical Scientist Training Programs at UCSF.
In 1986, Dr. Finkbeiner earned a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College. He earned both an MD and a PhD in neuroscience from Yale University in 1991. He completed an internship in internal medicine and chief residency in neurology at UCSF, followed by a research fellowship at Harvard Medical School.
Marcie Glicksman, PhD
Dr. Marcie Glicksman, is the Vice President, Biology at Orig3n, Inc.; a new biotech start-up company focused on stem cell models and regenerative medicine. Previously, Dr. Glicksman was co-Director of the Laboratory for Drug Discovery in Neurodegeneration (LDDN), which is focused on accelerating the identification of new therapeutics. She has been in the field of drug discovery for more than 20 years, thirteen years in the pharmaceutical industry and then the most recent ten years at LDDN. Previously, she was at the company, Descartes Therapeutics focused on pain therapeutics and Cubist focused on anti-infectives. Prior to these positions, she was at DuPont-Merck and at Cephalon, Inc.
Dr. Glicksman has led multiple advanced programs for neurodegenerative diseases including co-inventorship of CEP1347, a drug candidate directed at a kinase that has been in Phase III clinical trials. She has also been part of the team to prepare an IND for a drug for neuropathic pain that has just completed Phase II clinical trials.
Dr. Glicksman was elected (2005-2009) to the Board of Directors and served as Chairman of the Board for the Society for Biomolecular Sciences (now Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening). She is on the science advisory board for the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), and reviews grants for NIH, Department of Defense, SBIR, the Michael J Fox, Alzheimer’s Association, the Canadian Cancer Society, and Rett Foundation.
Dr. Glicksman co-founded the Academic Drug Discovery Consortium with three colleagues as a way to build a collaborative network for the academic drug discovery community. She co-designed and developed an annual drug discovery course supported by NIH. She also regularly consults and this has included filing an Investigational New Drug application with the FDA, as well as projects involving the development of new technologies.
Dr. Glicksman received a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a PhD degree in Neuroscience from Washington University.
Violaine Harris, PhD
Tisch Multiple Sclerosis Research Center of New York
Dr. Violaine Harris joined the laboratory of the Tisch Multiple Sclerosis Research Center of New York in 2004, where she has been developing cell therapy strategies to promote repair and regeneration in multiple sclerosis. Her work has led to the groundbreaking stem cell clinical trial, the first ever to test bone marrow-derived neural progenitors in patients with MS. Dr. Harris and her team are actively investigating the mechanisms by which MSC-NPs promote repair and regeneration in MS. Research is focused on the identification of molecules involved in MSC-NP-mediated repair, which have therapeutic potential in future cell therapy strategies.
Dr. Harris’ research team is investigating the CSF of patients treated with stem cells in order to discover novel biomarkers of repair. Her recent research has also identified other CSF biomarkers of disease activity, including Fetuin-A. Fetuin-A was found to not only detect disease activity but was also a biomarker of clinical response to the drug natalizumab. Her current research is focused on understanding the mechanisms of action of Fetuin-A in MS pathogenesis. Through her expertise in studying biomarkers, Dr. Harris and her team are revealing a better understanding of disease mechanisms that lead directly to personalized treatments for patients.
Dr. Harris has had a longstanding interest in stem cell biology and in understanding the mechanisms of cell signaling and differentiation. She received her PhD in Pharmacology from Georgetown University, and her BA in Biochemistry/Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from the University of Colorado in Boulder. Her training also included a postdoctoral fellowship at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, where she studied mechanisms involved in the maintenance of cancer stem cells.
Samuel Hasson, PhD
Pfizer, Neuroscience Unit
Dr. Samuel Hasson is the project leader for the Pfizer CD33 program and is a lab head in the NSRU.
His lab is part of the neurodegenerative disease line in the research unit. Dr. Hasson’s main efforts center on uniting microglial and mitochondrial biology, human data, and pharmacology with the frontiers of CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing. He is utilizing a background in high throughput chemical genetics, assay design, and functional genomics to develop target space for diseases such as Alzheimer’s that complement the conventional amyloid-centric approaches. Another aim of Dr. Hasson’s lab is to explore the potential of mitochondrial-centric therapies for Parkinson’s disease in addition to other CNS-related disorders that are linked to mitochondrial dysfunction.
Prior to joining Pfizer, Dr. Hasson was a Pharmacology Research Associate Fellow (PRAT) at the NIH with co-mentors Richard Youle (NINDS) and Jim Inglese (NCATS).
Jacob Hooker, PhD
Harvard Medical School
Dr. Jacob Hooker career exemplifies the potential of discovery in chemistry to have profound impact on human health and wellbeing. Through the development of new tools and techniques, Prof. Hooker is advancing our fundamental understanding of diseases and disorders like Alzheimer’s and autism.
Dr. Hooker’s work has led to many landmark firsts—first human neuroepigenetic imaging technology, first linkage between glial activation and chronic low back pain, first demonstration of dynamic neurochemical imaging (fPET)—and catalyzes others to achieve advances of their own. He has dramatically expanded the capabilities of PET imaging by pioneering new radiotracer synthesis methods. He founded and directs a first-in-class imaging facility that merges functional MRI and positron emission tomography for neurochemical study.
Dr. Hooker’s dedication to advancing chemistry to understand and intervene in disease was demonstrated recently with the publication of the first images of epigenetic activity in the live human brain. In this innovation as in his many others, Dr. Hooker has invented—and applied—technologies that will improve medicine. Still early in his career, his peers and mentors recognize his ability to ask, and answer, compelling questions that will have lasting importance.
Jeffery Kelly, PhD
The Scripps Research Institute
Dr. Jeffery W. Kelly serves as Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate Studies of The Department of Chemistry of The Scripps Research Institute. He also serves as Professor of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute Lita Annenberg Hazen.
Dr. Kelly is a bioorganic and biophysical chemist who utilizes small molecules designed and synthesized in his laboratory to compensate for genetic defects in proteins that typically result in pathology. His laboratory has utilized genetic and molecular biology approaches, as well as biophysical and chemical approaches to both understand and develop therapeutic strategies for amyloid and lysosomal storage diseases.
Dr. Kelly serves as a Member of Scientific Advisory Board at Provid Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He has been a Director of Proteostasis Therapeutics, Inc. since December 2006. He received Searle Scholar Award in Biomedical Sciences, 1991 to 1994, Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher Scholar Award in 1994, Texas A&M University Teacher Scholar Award from 1994 to 1995, The Biophysical Society National Lecturer in 1999, The Protein Society-Dupont Young Investigator Award in 1999, State University of New York at Fredonia Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award in 2000, State University of New York at Fredonia Chemistry Department Alumni Award in 2000 and American Chemical Society Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award in 2001.
Dr. Kelly has co-authored over 100 papers. He completed a BS at SUNY Fredonia in 1982 and PhD at University of North Carolina in 1986.
Andrew Koemeter-Cox, PhD
Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation
Dr. Andrew Koemeter-Cox, works on the ADDF’s scientific initiatives, including the ACCESS program. In this capacity, he assists with reviews of funding proposals and manages the ACCESS website, which connects researchers with CROs and other drug discovery expertise.
Dr. Koemeter-Cox was most recently a postdoctoral fellow at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where he studied the epigenetics of axon regeneration in the context of spinal cord injury. From 2007 until 2009, he was a research technician with the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense (USAMRICD), assisting with studies on neuroprotection strategies.
Dr. Koemeter-Cox earned a doctorate in biomedical science from The Ohio State University College of Medicine and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Delaware. He is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences, where he serves as a mentor for several programs.
Albert La Spada, MD, PhD
UC San Diego School of Medicine
Dr. Albert La Spada is a founding faculty member of the UCSD Institute for Genomic Medicine and Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine and is a Professor and Division Head of Genetics in Pediatrics, Cellular & Molecular Medicine, and Neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego.
While an MD, PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Dr. La Spada identified the cause of spinal & bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) as an expansion of a trinucleotide repeat in the androgen receptor gene. As the first disorder shown to be caused by an expanded repeat tract, this discovery of a novel type of genetic mutation led to the emergence of new field of study. After completing training as a Clinical Genetics fellow and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Physician Postdoctoral Fellow, he joined the faculty at the University of Washington Medical Center in 1998, and became a Professor of Laboratory Medicine, Medicine (Medical Genetics), Pathology, and Neurology (Neurogenetics).
Dr. La Spada’s research is focused upon neurodegenerative disease, and he is seeking the molecular events that underlie neurodegeneration and neuron cell death in SBMA, Huntington’s Disease, spinocerebellar ataxia type 7, ALS, and Parkinson’s disease. He and his team have uncovered evidence for transcription dysregulation, perturbed bioenergetics, and altered protein quality control as contributing factors in neuron dysfunction. By reproducing molecular pathology in mice and in neurons derived from human patient stem cells, Dr. La Spada has begun to develop therapies to treat these disorders.
Dr. La Spada has been the recipient of grants and awards from the National Institutes of Health, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Hereditary Disease Foundation, CHDI, Coulter Foundation, American Federation for Aging Research, Packard Center for ALS Research, and Harrington Discovery Institute. Among his funding awards is the Paul Beeson Physician Faculty Scholar Aging Research Award. In 2006, Dr. La Spada was inducted into the American Society for Clinical Investigation, in 2007, he was bestowed with the Lieberman Award by the Hereditary Disease Foundation for excellence in Huntington’s Disease research, in 2011, he received the Molecular Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration Distinguished Research Award in Milan, Italy, in 2013, he was inducted into the Association of American Physicians, and in 2015, he was selected to be a Gund-Harrington Scholar for his translational research accomplishments.
Frank Longo, MD, PhD
Stanford University & PharmatrophiX
Dr. Frank Longo is Professor and Chairman, Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford University. Dr. Longo received his MD in 1981 and PhD in Neurosciences in 1983 from UC San Diego. He completed his neurology and fellowship training in the Department of Neurology at UC San Francisco where he was then recruited as an assistant professor and promoted to professor and vice chair. From 2001 to 2005 he was chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and since 2006 has served as chair of the Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford.
With support from the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, Alzheimer’s Association, and the NIH, Dr. Longo and his team have pioneered small molecule treatment strategies for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. In 2005, while at UNC, he founded PharmatrophiX, a company focused on the commercial development of these therapies.
In 2015, Dr. Longo was the recipient of the inaugural Melvin R. Goodes Prize for Excellence in Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery from the ADDF in recognition of his work creating Alzheimer’s disease therapies.
Laurie McNamara, JD, PhD
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Dr. Laurie McNamara is a registered patent attorney, and is an associate in the patents and innovations counseling group at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
She focuses her practice on various aspects of intellectual property law for clients in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. She has provided strategic counseling for clients related to patent prosecution, licensing, diligence, freedom to operate, patentability, invalidity and non-infringement analyses. She has managed global patent dockets and has knowledge of United States and international patent laws.
Dr. McNamara holds a PhD in biochemistry and drug discovery from Northwestern University in which her doctoral research focused on the structural biology of protein kinases involved in neurodegenerative diseases. During graduate school, she gained research experience in protein purification, enzymology, x-ray crystallography, structure-assisted inhibitor design and medicinal chemistry. Before graduate school, she worked at Merck Research Laboratories in Rahway, NJ, in the drug metabolism and basic chemistry departments.
Lorenzo Refolo, PhD
National Institute on Aging
Dr. Lorenzo Refolo is the Program Director for Alzheimer’s Disease Drug Discovery and Development at the National Institute on Aging (NIA).
Dr. Refolo received his PhD in Molecular Genetics from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. He received postdoctoral training in the Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the Laboratory of Neurobiology at Rockefeller University.
Immediately before coming to the NIA, Dr. Refolo was a Program Director at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, managing a portfolio of basic, clinical, and translational research that was focused on neurodegenerative disorders.
At the NIA, Dr. Refolo directs the Alzheimer’s Drug Development Program within the Dementias of Aging Branch. He has also been the Scientific Director at the Institute for the Study of Aging and a Research Scientist at the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research at New York University. He has held the position of Assistant Professor at the Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla., and at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. His own research career focused for the most part on the molecular-cell biology of Alzheimer’s disease.
Sharon Rosenzweig-Lipson, PhD
Dr. Sharon Rosenzweig-Lipson, is AgeneBio’s Vice President of Research and Development. She is also the President of IVS Pharma Consulting.
Her expertise focuses mainly on screening strategies, in vivo models, translation and early clinical development strategy to the neuroscience scientific community in pharma, biotech and academia.
She has over 20 years experience developing compounds for psychiatric and neurologic indications in the pharmaceutical industry. She has successfully led teams from the earliest exploratory studies through to Phase II Proof of Concept Trials. Prior to her current positions, Dr. Rosenzweig-Lipson held the roles of Head of Translational Neuroscience and In Vivo Head of Psychiatry at Wyeth Research.
Dr. Rosenzweig-Lipson received her BA in Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania and her PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience from Harvard University.
Diana Shineman, PhD
Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation
Dr. Diana Shineman is the Senior Director for Scientific Affairs at the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, where she develops and manages the Foundation’s drug discovery and development grant programs and strategic initiatives. Combining scientific and business expertise, the ADDF manages its research funding portfolio to balance risk, stage of development and drug target mechanism of action, ensuring that grants meet key milestones before securing follow-on funding. As a measure of success, projects funded by the ADDF have gone on to garner nearly $2 billion in follow-on funding. The ADDF also works strategically with foundations, government and industry partners to tackle unmet needs in the field. As an example of such an initiative, Dr. Shineman led an interdisciplinary effort to standardize animal model study design to improve research efficiency and translatability.
Dr. Shineman joined the ADDF in 2008. She earned a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania working in the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research led by Drs. Virginia Lee and John Trojanowski. She also worked as an Editorial Intern for the Journal of Clinical Investigation and was an active member of the Penn Biotechnology Group. Diana received a B.A. in Biology with a Nutrition concentration from Cornell University, where she was named a Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Scholar.
In addition to maintaining various professional memberships, Diana has also authored numerous articles and peer-reviewed publications.
Maya Skubatch, JD
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Maya Skubatch is a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, where she focuses on patents and innovations counseling. Her practice covers patent prosecution, strategic patent counseling, investor- and company-side due diligence, and license agreements for clients in the life sciences and clean technology industries.
Prior to joining Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Maya was an associate in the intellectual property litigation practice at Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich LLP (now DLA Piper) in Palo Alto. While at UC Berkeley, Maya participated in research in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Professor Randy Scheckman in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, where she studied Golgi protein transport in yeast cells. She also participated in research in the laboratory of Professor Sung-Hou Kim in the Department of Chemistry, where she studied various zinc-finger domains.
After completing her BA, Maya was a researcher at Genentech, where she helped clone and characterize APO2 ligand, a player in apoptosis signaling.
Edward Spack, PhD
Dr. Edward (Ted) Spack is Principal of Vector BioSolutions, a preclinical consulting and grant advising service, as well as an Innovation Partner for SRI International, advising academic and biotech start-ups around the world.
Dr. Spack has extensive translational experience, including preclinical development of drug candidates for multiple sclerosis, nosocomial infection, and botulism poisoning. At SRI International, Dr. Spack directed the PharmaSTART program, a consortium of SRI, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, and UC San Francisco, drafting preclinical development blueprints that led to several major grants and spin out companies. He has consulted with the NIH translational core services committee and several NIH institutes on preclinical development and serves on several study sections, including the NIA Alzheimer’s Disease Drug Development review panel, the NIH/CSR Drug Discovery for the Nervous System and Molecular Probes review panels, and the Falk Trust Catalyst and Transformational Award programs.Through the California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) FAST program and the SRI Innovation program he mentors SF Bay area and international academic and industry teams in biotech company formation and pitch decks.
Dr. Edward Spack received his doctoral degree from The Johns Hopkins University and his postdoctoral fellowship in cellular immunology at Stanford University. He has worked in San Francisco Bay area biotech companies and private research institutes for over 25 years focusing on the transition from discovery to clinical trial. . Edward Spack received his doctoral degree from The Johns Hopkins University and his postdoctoral fellowship in cellular immunology at Stanford University. He worked in San Francisco Bay area biotech companies and private research institutes for over 20 years developing therapies for neurodegenerative diseases, as well as for cancer and infectious diseases, focusing on the transition from discovery to clinical trial.
Amir Tamiz, PhD
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Dr. Amir Tamiz is a Program Director at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), Office of Translational Research (OTR) who oversees NIH Blueprint Neurotherapeutics network (BPN) and Innovation Grants to Nurture Initial Translational Efforts (IGNITE).
Prior to joining NIH in 2012, Dr. Tamiz had held scientific and management positions in research and development of therapeutic programs at Corvas International (acquired by Dendreon), CovX (now part of Pfizer), and Alba Therapeutics.
Dr. Tamiz received his PhD at University of Oregon and conducted postdoctoral research at the Department of Neuroscience at Georgetown University Medical Center.
D. Martin Watterson, PhD
Dr. Daniel Martin Watterson serves in an advisory role to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in the areas of process and risk analysis. In addition to industry consulting, Dr. Watterson serves on advisory boards for small business start-ups, biotechnology companies, and non-profit organizations in the area of CNS drug discovery and development. His personal CNS drug development experience includes the discovery and preclinical development of novel small molecule therapeutic candidates that attenuate disease related to synaptic dysfunction, as well as participation in development of protein replacement therapeutics.
Dr. Watterson’s academic affiliation is the G.D. Searle Endowed Chair Professorship at Northwestern University, where he is also Professor of Pharmacology in the Feinberg School of Medicine. Previous relevant activities at Northwestern include the founding of an academic drug discovery research and training program characterized by the generation of multiple CNS drug candidates taken into preclinical and clinical development through the leveraged use of Foundation and NIH funding. He also served in various administrative positions, including Department Chair, University Center Director, and Curriculum Co-Director. Prior to Northwestern, he held faculty positions at The Rockefeller University, where he was an Andrew Mellon Fellow, and at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he was Professor of Pharmacology and an Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Dr. Watterson is the recipient of the 2016 Melvin R. Goodes Prize recognizing researchers working in promising areas of drug discovery for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
Diana Wetmore, PhD
Harrington Discovery Institute
Dr. Diana Wetmore is Director of the Innovation Support Center, which brings pharma capability and expertise to help guide and accelerate the Harrington Scholar projects.
Dr. Wetmore is a business-oriented scientist with a successful history of pulling together complex multi-disciplinary drug discovery collaborations and project teams. She obtained her PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Calgary, Canada, and did her postdoctoral training at Dupont Merck Pharmaceutical Company. During her more than 20 years in the drug discovery field, she has been part of project teams that yielded multiple INDs and two approved drugs. She has a combination of experience in Pharma, Biotech, and not-for-profit settings acquired in the US and internationally.
Prior to joining Harrington Discovery Institute, Dr Wetmore served as VP Alliance Management and Operations for Beryllium Discovery, a structure based drug discovery organization, and as VP of Business Development and Alliance Management at Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics (CFFT). At CFFT she was an active member of the Vertex project team that led to the two first in class disease modifying therapies Kalydeco™ and Orkambi™.
Professional interests include protein structure/function relationships and ligand recognition, strategic planning and building collaborative drug discovery projects.
Hien Tran Zhao, PhD
Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Dr. Hien Tran Zhao is an assistant director in neuroscience drug discovery at Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a company pioneering in RNA therapeutics. She leads target discovery and validation efforts for neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.
Dr. Zhao received her PhD in Neuroscience from Washington University in St Louis, St Louis, Missouri, and her BS in Biochemistry from the University of Houston, Houston, Texas.
Dr. Zhao received her postdoctoral training in Dr. Virginia Lee’s lab, focusing on immunotherapeutic approaches to treat Parkinson’s Disease.