Dr. Sandro Cosconati received his Masters Degree in Medicinal Chemistry and Technologies summa cum laude at the University of Naples “Federico II”. In December 2006 he received his PhD in Medicinal Chemistry. In 2007 he was Research Associate at The Scripps Research Institute in Prof. A. J. Olson’s Laboratory. In 2011 Dr. Cosconati moved to the Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Ambientali Biologiche e Farmaceutiche (DiSTABiF) of the Seconda Università degli Studi di Napoli-SUN, Caserta, Italy to become Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry. He was awarded “Best Young Researcher in Medicinal Chemistry” by the Italian Chemical Society (Farmindustria Prize) in September 2013 and is author of more than 60 research articles on top scientific journals in the drug discovery field.
Dr. Handel received her PhD in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1989 and did post-doctoral work in protein design/biophysics at E. I. Du Pont de Nemours with William DeGrado from 1989-1992. When Du Pont de Nemours became Du Pont Merck Pharmaceuticals, she was hired as a Principal Investigator and led an inflammatory disease group targeting the chemokine receptor CCR2, and initiated structural studies of its ligand MCP-1 (CCL2). In 1994 she joined the faculty of the Molecular and Cell Biology Department at the University of California Berkeley, where she continued to work on chemokines, particularly from a structural perspective focused on the ligands. After receiving tenure in 2000, Dr. Handel began pursuing structural studies of chemokine receptors, which was a daunting endeavor at the time. In 2005, she moved to the University of California San Diego (Skaggs School of Pharmacy and the Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine) and began collaborating with the GPCR Network on structural studies of chemokine receptors. Dr. Handel’s laboratory contributed to the first chemokine receptor structure to be determined: CXCR4 in complex with a small molecule inhibitor and a cyclic peptide antagonist. In 2015 her laboratory solved the first structure of a chemokine receptor in complex with a chemokine. Dr. Handel continues to pursue other complexes of chemokine receptors with both small molecules and natural ligands to support drug discovery efforts. Her laboratory is also conducting single molecule fluorescence studies of chemokine receptor dynamics, and cell biology, signaling and molecular modeling to leverage further information from our structural studies, and to better understand the complex behavior of these proteins in heath and in disease.
Dr. Liu received his B.S. degree in 2002, from the Department of Biological Pharmacology at Wuhan University in China. He then joined Dr. Martin Caffrey’s laboratory at the Ohio State University, where he earned his PhD in 2007,and began his studies on lipids, an essential molecular component of all cell membranes controlling the conformation as well as biological behavior of membrane proteins. Following his Graduate studies, Dr. Wei did his postdoctoral work in Dr. Raymond Steven’s and Dr. Vadim Cherezov’s laboratory at the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in La Jolla, California, where he made innovative contributions to the development of the lipid cubic phase (LCP) technology, and successfully applied this technology to resolving the crystal structures of several important human G protein-coupled-receptors (GPCR), including the human A2A adenosine receptor at 1.8 angstrom resolution. Combining LCP with x-ray free-electron laser technology he was also able to achieve high‐resolution structures of human serotonin receptors from sub-10‐micrometer microcrystals. At the beginning of 2015 Dr. Liu joined Arizona State University as an Assistant Professor, where he has established his own laboratory focusing on developing a high-throughput platform to study high‐resolution GPCR structures.
Fred Ramsdell, PhD: Immunology
Scientific Program Head at The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy
Dr. Ramsdell received his Ph.D. from UCLA and did post-doctoral work at the National Institutes of Health, then joined Immunex Research Corporation to characterize T cell activation and tolerance, including the cloning and characterization of a variety of TNFR family members and their respective ligands. In 1995, he joined Darwin Molecular Inc. (later acquired by Celltech R&D, Inc.) to establish and lead its immunology program. At Darwin Molecular, Dr. Ramsdell developed programs in immunology and genetics that led to the discovery of Foxp3 and determined this to be the defining gene for regulatory T cells, the absence of which leads to the fatal human autoimmune syndrome, IPEX. After moving to ZymoGenetics, Inc. in 2004, Dr. Ramsdell identified and characterized several novel proteins with regulatory activity in lymphoid cells. In 2008, he moved to Novo Nordisk to establish the Inflammation Research Center in Seattle, where he led the Discovery Immunology group. In 2014, he joined aTyr Pharma as VP of Immunology and in 2016 joined The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI).
Laura Solforosi, PhD: Antibodies & Vaccines
Senior Scientist at Janssen Infectious Disease and Vaccine