Mauro Mileni, PhD
Founder & CEO
Mauro is the founder of Abilita Bio, Inc. and inventor of the EMP™ technology it was formed around. He has gained significant experience over fourteen years of leading and contributing to membrane protein programs, especially with GPCRs, performing protein chemistry, protein engineering, crystallography and structure based drug design. Mauro has authored eighteen peer-reviewed scientific articles, including publications in Cell, Nature, PNAS, and JACS. He received his Ph.D. from the Max Planck Institute under Nobel laureate Prof. Hartmut Michel and carried out his postdoctoral studies as a Pfizer fellow in the Stevens lab at the Scripps Institute (TSRI), widely regarded as the world’s top lab for GPCR structural studies. Mauro also worked as a Scientist at Receptos, Inc. and has consulted for Eli Lilly & Company.
Rosario Billetta, DSc
Chief Technology Officer
Rosario brings his broad knowledge of life sciences and a deep understanding of bio-therapeutics drug discovery & development from early-stage to the clinic. He has recently held the position of CSO at Kai BioEnergy and CTO at Androclus Therapeutics. Previously he was an Associate Professor and Vice-Chairman of the Department of Immunology at the University of Chile School of Medicine and an Assistant Professor at the University of California, San Diego. His research experience includes immunology and protein engineering with vaccine development and immunotherapy of cancer, infectious and autoimmune diseases. He holds a D.Sc. from University of Palermo, Italy.
Christopher B. Roth, PhD
Vice President, Innovation
Chris brings more than ten years of innovation in membrane protein engineering, structural biology and drug discovery to Abilita Bio. He most recently served as a Research Scientist at Receptos, Inc. from 2009 to 2015, where he was a founding member of the scientific team and the lead inventor of critical GPCR protein engineering technologies that were patented and licensed to domestic and international industry partners. Prior to joining Receptos, Dr. Roth conducted postdoctoral research in GPCR structural biology in the laboratory of Dr. Raymond Stevens at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), where he also earned his PhD. Dr. Roth earned his B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Alexander Alexandrov, PhD
Among his many contributions to the field of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) drug discovery, Alexander’s most pivotal was the personal conception and development of a generic membrane protein stability assay known as the CPM assay, widely regarded by many in the field to be transformational for the measurement of thermostability. Prior to Abilita Bio, he served in Scientific positions of increasing responsibilities at Takeda San Diego and Heptares Therapeutics, and completed his postdoctoral studies in Ray Stevens’ lab at the Scripps Institute (TSRI), and David Bredt’s lab at University of California, San Francisco. Alexander received his PhD in Biophysics from the University of California, Berkeley.
Roberto Jappelli, PhD
Previous to Abilita Bio, Roberto worked in Prof. Rusty Gage’s Laboratory at the Salk Institute, where he contributed to several research projects and publications in the areas of Parkinson’s disease animal modeling, viral vectors development, and gene editing technologies (TALEN and CRISPR-Cas9) applied to human stem cells. Roberto also has experience with recombinant GPCR expression. After obtaining a Biology Master’s degree with a thesis in human genetics, Roberto earned a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, working in the lab of Prof. Cesareni on the folding-assembly process of human ferritin. Next he completed postdoctoral studies with Nobel laureate Prof. Sydney Brenner at The Scripps Research Institute, developing a novel genetic system to analyze the interaction of membrane proteins. Before joining the Salk Institute he held research scientist positions at Lynx Therapeutics and Acidophil.
Lynda Groocock, PhD
In addition to extensive training in cell culture and protein purification, Lynda is our molecular biology expert. Lynda’s diverse scientific background stems from post-doctoral research at TSRI with Professors’ Boddy and Lazzerini-Denchi, where she worked on a DNA repair-associated helicase and signaling pathways within the DNA damage response at mammalian telomeres. Lynda received a PhD in Cell Biology from the University of Edinburgh, UK, and has publications in Cell, Nature Communications, EMBO Reports, MBC and JCS.
Prior to joining Abilita Bio, Heather worked to develop new drugs for neurological disorders in the Molecular Neuropharmacology Section at the National Institutes of Health, by developing mutant dopamine receptor subtypes to investigate drug action sites of novel probe compounds through receptor signaling. Heather received her Master’s degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of New Haven in Connecticut, where she researched Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) signaling, and its role in the activation of cervical cancer through DNA hypermethylation.
Dario joined the Abilita Bio team after being involved with, and contributing to research projects involving innovative preclinical approaches and therapies, such as gene therapy and cellular therapy for prevention and treatment of mammary carcinoma at the University of Bologna, Italy, where he also received his Master’s degree in Life Science.
Louis J. Cantolupo
Business Development Consultant