Academic Co-Chair: George O’Doherty, Professor of Chemistry, Northeastern University
George O’Doherty was born in Kilkenny Ireland in 1966 and received his undergraduate education from RPI with Professor Alan R. Cutler in 1987. After earning his Ph.D. with Professor Leo A. Paquette at OSU in 1993 he pursued postdoctoral studies with first Professor Barry M. Trost at Stanford and the Anthony G. M. Barrett. He began his independent career at University of Minnesota in 1996 and in 2002, he moved to West Virginia University. He moved again in 2010, to Northeastern University where he has risen to the rank of Professor. His laboratory is interested in the use of asymmetric catalysis for the synthesis and medicinal chemistry study of biological important carbohydrate and natural products. These stereodivergent asymmetric syntheses enable novel Stereochemical-Structure Activity Relationship (S-SAR) studies of natural structures that nature does not provide.
Industry Co-Chair: Mike Ellis, Executive Director, Chemistry, Celgene
Mike Ellis is Executive Director, Chemistry at Celgene, where he leads an interdisciplinary team of scientists at the Cambridge, MA and San Diego, CA sites. The group’s expertise in medicinal chemistry, chemical biology, and synthesis & enabling technologies is deployed across the Celgene portfolio supporting therapeutic opportunities within epigenetics, immunology & inflammation, immuno-oncology, neuroscience, and protein homeostasis. Prior to joining Celgene, Mike began his professional career at Merck Research Laboratories in Boston, MA as an individual contributor, people manager, and program lead within the areas of immunology, neuroscience, and oncology. Mike has contributed to the discovery of multiple enabling tools, development candidates, and clinical assets over the course of his career. Mike obtained a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with honors, magna cum laude, from Wake Forest University, and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill under the mentorship of Professor Michael T. Crimmins. Following a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship in the laboratory of Professor Larry E. Overman, Mike transitioned to the biopharmaceutical industry.
Academic Keynote Speaker: Laura Kiessling, Novartis Professor of Chemistry, MIT
Professor Kiessling earned a B.S. in Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Yale University. After two years at the California Institute of Technology as an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow, she joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1991. In 2017, she returned to MIT as the Novartis Professor of Chemistry. Her interdisciplinary research interests focus on elucidating and exploiting the mechanisms of cell surface recognition processes, especially those involving protein-glycan interactions. Another major research interest is multivalency and its role in recognition, signal transduction, and direction of cell fate.
Laura is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Member of the American Academy of Microbiology, the Wisconsin Academy of the Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and National Academy of Sciences. She has served as Editor–In-Chief of ACS Chemical Biology since 2005. She is a member of the Research Advisory Board of GlaxoSmithKline, the Yale University Council, and the Council of the National Academy of Sciences. Her honors and awards include a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the ACS Gibbs Medal, and the Tetrahedron Prize.
Industry Keynote Speaker: Phil Chamberlain, Senior Director, Structural and Chemical Biology, Celgene
Phil Chamberlain obtained his BA and D.Phil. degrees from the University of Oxford before traveling to the U.S. to perform his post-doctoral work at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF) in San Diego. Phil joined Celgene, San Diego in 2007 and leads the Structural and Chemical Biology department which provides structural, biochemical and cellular data in support of drug discovery projects. Phil is known for his work in understanding and extending the action of cereblon modulators, and has published work in this area in journals including Nature, Nature Structural and Molecular Biology and Nature Chemical Biology.
Career Development Speaker: Lauren Celano, CEO, Propel Careers
Lauren Celano is the Co-founder and CEO of Propel Careers, a life science search and career development firm based in Boston. Lauren is very passionate about working with individuals to help them find exciting growth opportunities in the life sciences and related industries. Lauren co-founded Propel Careers in 2009 and since then, has worked with thousands of students, postdocs, medical residents and professionals to help advance their careers. Before Propel, she spent about 10 years in the life sciences industry working with companies to advance drug molecules through SNBL USA, Aptuit, Quintiles, and Absorption Systems. She has a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Gettysburg College and an MBA with a focus in the health sector and entrepreneurship from Boston University. Lauren is on the Board of MassBioEd, the Advisory Board of the Boston University School of Public Health Pharmaceuticals Program, the Advisory Board of the Professional Science Masters Program at Framingham State University and the Advisory Board for NE GWISE. She has also been part of the selection committee for the Life Sciences Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year Award since 2014 with the Immigrant Learning Center.
Session Chair: Brian Liau, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University
Brian graduated from Harvard College in 2007, conducting undergraduate research with EJ Corey. He later received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Harvard in 2013 under the guidance of Matt Shair. There, he first worked on the total synthesis of complex natural products. Fascinated by their biological functions, the latter part of his Ph.D. work focused on the chemical biology associated with the natural product cortistatin A, a potent inhibitor of the Mediator kinases: CDK8 and CDK19. From 2013 to 2016, Brian was a post-doctoral fellow with Bradley Bernstein at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he studied epigenomic mechanisms of adaptation and drug resistance in brain cancer. Brian started as an assistant professor at the Harvard Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology in 2016, where his lab is focused on developing new chemical and molecular tools as well as investigating chromatin-mediated mechanisms in cancer biology using chemistry and genomics.
Session Chair: Rob Ziegler, Senior Scientist, AstraZeneca
Rob Ziegler is a medicinal chemist in the Oncology Chemistry group at AstraZeneca. He joined AZ in January 2018 and has worked on a small molecule immuno-oncology project as well as a protein degrader (PROTAC) program. Rob received his B.S. in Chemistry from the College of William & Mary in 2010 and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Boston University in 2016 under the direction of Prof. John Porco in the area of biomimetic natural product synthesis. After completing his Ph.D., Rob pursued postdoctoral studies with Prof. Tim Jamison at MIT focusing on the continuous flow synthesis of anti-HIV drugs where he was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.