Speaker Biographies

Scientific Development Manager

Gaurav earned his Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the Indian Institute of Science studying the activation mechanism of GPCRs. During his post-doc at the University of California San Diego, Gaurav discovered novel intracellular trafficking pathway essential for organelle biogenesis. At Eurofins DiscoverX, Gaurav is responsible for market development of the cell-based assays portfolio, and support method transfers to CROs for drug development programs for biologics and biosimilars.

President & CEO & CMO

Dr. Arlen has served as CEO of Precision Biologics since 2012. Prior to this, he spent 11 years at the National Cancer Institute, U.S., most recently as the Director of the Clinical Research Group for the Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Oncology. At the NCI, Dr. Arlen focused on the development of a programmatic approach to vaccine clinical trials conducted at the NCI, as well as at numerous other cancer centers throughout the U.S. During his tenure at the NCI, Dr. Arlen was the Principal Investigator and/or Associate Investigator on numerous clinical trials involving the use of cancer vaccines and other immunostimulatory molecules. Dr. Arlen remains on the clinical staff at both the NCI Clinical Center, as well as the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (formerly known as the National Naval Medical Center). Dr. Arlen has also served in the role of Chairman of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the National Cancer Institute and continues to serve as a Co-Chair for the NIH IRB. In addition, he has served on the Integration Panel for the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, Prostate Cancer Research Program from 2008 through 2018, chairing the committee in 2013. He has authored or co-authored over 100 peer reviewed manuscripts in internationally known scientific and medical journals. Dr. Arlen received an NIH Award of Merit for major contributions to the field of cancer immunotherapy in 2003. He is a board certified medical oncologist and received his B.A. from Emory University and his M.D. from Medical College of Georgia.

Triumvira Immunologics USA Inc


Dr. Andreas Bader is SVP of R&D at Triumvira and has more than 20 years’ experience in oncology drug discovery and development. Previously, Dr. Bader acted as Co-Founder and CEO of Orros Biotherapeutics LLC, and as a scientific Co-Founder of Mirna Therapeutics, Inc., where he held multiple leading positions in R&D and led research programs from discovery to the completion of a Phase 1 clinical trial. Prior to Mirna, Dr. Bader functioned as a Scientific Lead at Asuragen, Inc. Dr. Bader completed his post-doctoral training at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, and received his PhD in Biochemistry and his MSc degree in Biology from the University of Innsbruck, Austria.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Associate Professor

Justin M. Balko obtained his Ph.D. in Pharmacy from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2004. After completion of his Ph.D. in the Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics track of the Pharmaceutical Sciences program at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY, he joined the laboratory of Carlos L. Arteaga, M.D., in 2009 as a postdoctoral research fellow. Dr. Balko was appointed as Assistant Professor of Medicine in January of 2015 and promoted to Associate Professor of Medicine and Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology in February of 2020. He has published approximately 90 papers in the field of molecular oncology and translational oncology research, primarily in the breast cancer field. His laboratory focuses on identifying biomarkers and mechanisms of drug sensitivity or resistance in breast cancer and other tumor types, ways to enhance response rates to immunotherapy by targeting cancer-specific signals of immune suppression, and the biological mechanisms of immune-related adverse events to immunotherapies. His laboratory receives funding from the NIH/NCI, the Department of Defense, the IBC Network Foundation, the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research, the Mary Kay Foundation, Stand Up 2 Cancer/AACR, and Susan G. Komen. He is currently a correlative sciences Principal Investigator on several breast cancer trials employing combinations of molecularly targeted agents with immunotherapy.

Sr VP Global Clinical Dev

Roy Baynes is Senior Vice President and Head, Global Clinical Development and Chief Medical Officer at Merck Research Laboratories in Rahway, New Jersey. He was previously Senior Vice President of Oncology, Inflammation and Respiratory Therapeutics at Gilead Sciences and prior to that, was Vice President, Global Clinical Development and Therapeutic Area (TA) Head for Hematology/Oncology, at Amgen Inc. In the early years of his tenure at Amgen, he was TA Head for Hematology/Oncology in Global Medical Affairs. He graduated as a Medical Doctor and obtained a Masters of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. He has had a long and distinguished career in the haematology-oncology and stem cell transplantation fields, including drug development, basic research, clinical practice, clinical research, teaching, and administration. He is a member of many international societies, including the American Society of Hematology (ASH) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and has authored in some 150 publications. He has been recurrently named among America’s top physicians. Before joining Amgen in 2002, he was the Charles Martin Professor of Cancer Research at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.

Assistant Attending Physician

Allison Betof Warner, MD, PhD is an Assistant Attending Physician on the Melanoma Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Betof graduated with her MD/PhD from the Medical Scientist Training Program at Duke University. She completed her PhD under the supervision of Drs. Mark Dewhirst and Lee Jones, studying the effects of exercise on tumor angiogenesis and chemotherapeutic efficacy. Dr. Betof went on to Internal Medicine residency at Massachusetts General Hospital then Medical Oncology Fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Her research explores how modulations in tumor microenvironment affect tumor immunobiology and immunotherapy. Her clinical research focuses on duration of immunotherapy treatment in complete responders and novel therapies for PD-1 refractory disease.


Katharina Billian-Frey, PhD, joined the Drug Discovery Unit of Apogenix, Germany, in January 2018 as senior scientist and is currently Head of Protein Engineering. Apogenix’ main focus is the development of biotherapeutic agonistic drugs targeting the TNFR superfamily. She is an expert in antibody-based immuno-oncology drugs and protein engineering. Prior to Apogenix, she worked as a post-doc at HI-STEM, a spin-off company of the German Cancer Research Center, where she was responsible for the development and maintenance of a drug discovery pipeline for cancer stem cell derived targets, including antigen expression and selection of drug candidate antibodies by phage display. Katharina Billian-Frey received her PhD from the ETH Zurich (Switzerland) working on antibody-based immunocytokines for tumor vascular targeting strategies and studied Technical Biology at the University of Stuttgart (Germany) with a focus on antibody fusion proteins.

Massachusetts General Hospital

Dir of Melanoma Surgery Program

Genevieve M. Boland, MD, PhD, FACS is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Melanoma Surgery Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Her primary clinical focus is on melanoma and cutaneous oncology. She undertook combined MD/PhD training, completing a PhD at the National Institutes of Health. She graduated cum laude from Thomas Jefferson University as a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society and completed her general surgical training at Massachusetts General Hospital. Following this, she completed a clinical fellowship in Complex General Surgical Oncology and a combined research fellowship at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. She is board certified in General Surgery and Complex General Surgical Oncology. Dr. Boland has received many awards including the American Surgical Association Foundation Fellowship, the Association of Women Surgeons Research Fellowship, the Harvard Catalyst Medical Research Investigator Training Award, the Karin Grunebaum Cancer Foundation Fellowship, and the Society of Surgical Oncology Clinical Investigator Award. She is Director of the Surgical Oncology Research Laboratories and an Associate Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Her laboratory is currently focused on molecular profiling of melanoma, characterization of molecular and immunological changes that occur during immunotherapy, and the identification of circulating biomarkers of cancer.


Marcus Bosenberg MD, PhD, is a physician scientist who directs a leading melanoma research laboratory, is Co-Leader of the Genomics, Genetics and Epigenetics Program of the Yale Cancer Center, Co-Director of the Yale SPORE in Skin Cancer, and is a practicing dermatopathologist at Yale Dermatopathology through Yale Medicine. In his research, Dr. Bosenberg studies the genetics and cellular changes that result in melanoma, the leading cause of skin cancer deaths. His laboratory has developed several widely utilized mouse models in order to study how melanoma forms and progresses, to test new melanoma therapies, and how the immune system can be stimulated to fight melanoma. He works to translate basic scientific findings into improvements in melanoma diagnosis and therapy.

VP and Global Head

Adrian Bot, MD, Ph.D., is the Vice President of Translational Medicine at Kite, a Gilead Company, developing genetically engineered cell products for oncology indications. Dr. Bot has more than 20 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry with focus on discovery and development of immunotherapies. He obtained his M.D. in Romania in 1993 and his Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York in 1998. Subsequently, he was a Guest Scientist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Prior to his appointment as Chief Scientific Officer at Kite Pharma in 2011 and then Vice President of Translational Medicine, where he contributed to the development of a first-in-class cell therapy product, Dr. Bot served in various senior R&D leadership positions at MannKind Corp, and Alliance Pharmaceutical Corp. His prior activities include serving on editorial boards and leadership appointments in global professional societies.

Senior Scientific Director

Dr. Bottino received his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Tulane University in 1996. His academic work at Tulane, and subsequently at University of Utah and UC Berkeley, consisted of spatiotemporal simulations of eukaryotic cell motility and chemotaxis. Dr. Bottino then moved into industry, joining Physiome Sciences in 2001, co-founding the BioAnalytics Group LLC in 2003, then moving on to Novartis in 2005, Roche in 2011, and Takeda (Millennium) in 2013. He has specialized in preclinical and clinical modeling and simulation in oncology since 2005. His most recent contributions to the field include characterizing paradoxical behavior of RECIST progression-free survival (Johnson et al., EJC 2019), proposing novel dose optimization methodology for oncology combination therapy (Bottino et al., CCR 2019) and quantitative translation in immuno-oncology (Bottino et al., CPT 2020).

Assistant Professor

Tullia C. Bruno, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Immunology at the University of Pittsburgh and a faculty member in the Tumor Microenvironment Center and the Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. She obtained her Ph.D. in Immunology from Johns Hopkins University in 2010 and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Colorado in 2015—both with a focus in tumor immunology. While Dr. Bruno’s Ph.D. training focused on inhibitory receptors on intratumoral T cells, she became interested in the role of B cells in the tumor microenvironment (TME) during her postdoctoral fellowship and has built her independent research program around understanding intratumoral B cell function in multiple human cancers, in particular, lung and head and neck cancers. Dr. Bruno’s research lab has an overt focus on studying immunity within cancer patients, which makes her research highly translational with the potential for future clinical trials targeting B cells. Thus, Dr. Bruno’s overall research objective is to develop a B cell-specific immunotherapy in the next five to ten years.

VP and Head of Discovery and Translational Immunology

Saso Cemerski is a VP and Head of Discovery and Translational Immunology and leads the company’s Immuno-Oncology Discovery and Translational Immunology team. His focus is on early pipeline development, building preclinical packages for assets in the immuno-oncology pipeline and developing adequate translational biomarker strategies to test key hypotheses in the clinic. Prior to joining Cue Biopharma, Dr. Cemerski held positions at Xencor, BMS and most recently, Merck where he led the STING agonist programs and participated as a core-team member of the anti-LAG-3 program, both of which are currently in the clinic. Dr. Cemerski did his postdoctoral training at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri where he worked to elucidate how immune synapses control T cell activation.

CEO & Founder

Robert Coffin is Founder, President and Chief Research & Development Officer of Replimune. Previously he was Founder & CTO of BioVex Inc, a spin out from his research group at University College London in 1999. Rob was the inventor of all BioVex products including OncoVEXGM-CSF (talimogene laherparepvec; T-VEC; Imlygic) and oversaw all research and clinical development including bringing T-VEC through to two pivotal phase 3 studies in melanoma and head & neck cancer. BioVex was acquired by Amgen in 2011 where Rob was VP Global Development until 2013. T-VEC was approved by the FDA for use in advanced melanoma in October 2015, the first oncolytic therapy or gene therapy to be approved in the US. Rob was awarded a PhD in virology from Imperial College London prior to his move to University College London in 1991.

Sr Principal Scientist

Virna Cortez-Retamozo is a proficient scientist in the field of Immuno-Oncology, with a solid background in innate and adaptive host immune responses in cancer and other immune-related indications with 8 years of postdoctoral experience at the Center for Systems Biology, MGH/Harvard Medical School and over 6 years in the Pharma industry. She has broad experience in preclinical research: in vivo animal models (syngeneic, transgenic, and humanized) for testing and validating cancer and mucosal inflammation therapeutics. She has extensive experience in in vitro and in vivo validation of: 1) nanobodies (single-domain antibodies) and canonical formats for antibody-based diagnosis and immunotherapy of cancer with an emphasis in checkpoint inhibition; 2) combinatorial therapies using classical biologics/immunotherapy and chemotherapeutic agents for cancer therapeutics; 3) novel RNA therapeutic approaches for cancer and cardiovascular disease; 4) therapeutic modulation of progenitor cell trafficking during cancer progression; 5) cell-based approaches for immunotherapy of cancer; and 6) T Cell Engagers (TCE) for cancer therapeutics. She also has substantial experience in the use of nanoparticle-based technology for ex vivo and in vivo noninvasive applications in the detection of probe activation by flow cytometry, Fluorescence-Mediated Tomography (FMT), Gamma Camera Imaging, Intravital Microscopy (IVM), and Near-infrared Fluorescence Fiberoptic Bronchoscopy (NIRF Bronchoscopy).


A trained oncologist and immunologist, Dr. Coughlin joined Rubius from Tmunity Therapeutics, Inc., where she served as CMO and was responsible for the development of Tmunity’s CAR-T and TCR-T cellular therapy pipeline across preclinical, regulatory and clinical development activities. Prior to Tmunity, Ltd., she served as CMO at Immunocore, where she led the development of the preclinical and clinical pipeline of soluble T cell receptor product candidates recognizing multiple tumor targets, including advancing the lead program from Phase 1 to dual pivotal clinical trials. Earlier, she held leadership positions Novartis, Morphotek, Inc and in Pfizer’s Oncology Business Unit. Before entering the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Coughlin was a pediatric oncologist at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and completed her postdoctoral research in the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute under the direction of CAR-T cell therapy pioneer Carl June, MD. She holds an MD and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and a BS in mathematics and biology from Temple University.

Managing Dir

Dr. Stephen (Steve) Curtis oversees MPM’s investment collaboration with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and brings to his role experience in early-stage, start-up creation, and strategic deal structuring and negotiation in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. He is also responsible for investment identification, due diligence, and business development and supports MPM’s partnership with Gilead Sciences. Prior to joining MPM, Steve was Senior Director of Business Development – Emerging Technology and Innovation for Eli Lilly and Company, out of Lilly’s external research hub in Cambridge, MA. In that role, he focused on Lilly’s strategic limited partnerships in top-tier venture funds, direct equity investments in selected biotechnology companies, “build-to-buy” investments, and other “shared-risk” drug discovery and early development relationships. Prior to Lilly, Steve co-led the Bioscience Ventures group within 2M Companies, the Dallas-based family office of Morton H. Meyerson, focusing on Seed and Series A biotech investments and portfolio management. Before 2M, he worked at Reata Pharmaceuticals, entering through their Biotechnology Leadership Development program, and ultimately ran the Technology Evaluation and In-Licensing program. In that role, he led cross-functional efforts to identify and acquire novel therapeutic programs within a variety of disease areas. Steve also interned at Siemens Venture Capital in Boston while finishing his graduate studies. Steve completed the competitive, two-year venture capital Kauffman Fellows training program. He earned his Ph.D. in Biological and Biomedical Sciences at Harvard Medical School and a dual B.S. degree, summa cum laude, in Molecular Biology and Applied Economics and Management from Cornell University.

Univ of California San Francisco

Clinical Prof

I have extensive experience in translational research and clinical trial design, especially in melanoma. My post-doctoral fellowships were at Cleveland Clinic and Indiana University respectively working in basic science labs on fundamental biologic processes. At Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, I trained with Drs David Spriggs, Carol Aghajanian and Paul Chapman gaining a broad understanding of experimental therapeutics. Over the next 7 years, at the Moffitt Cancer Center, I designed and conducted numerous Phase I and II clinical trials collaborating with my colleagues Drs Richard Heller, Richard Jove, Hua Yu, Dmitry Gabrilovich, Timothy Yeatman, Pamela Munster and Daniel Sullivan, many with first in man or novel compounds and mostly in patients with melanoma. One of my collaborations with Dr Heller has resulted in intratumoral IL12 as a treatment for melanoma. At UCSF, I lead the melanoma program and several early phase and melanoma specific clinical trials as well as collaborating with my colleagues Michael Rosenblum, Max Krummel and Jeff Bluestone. One of our most interesting collaborations is with Meromot Singer at Harvard to analyse scRNA from melanoma patients progressing on immunotherapy to develop better understanding of immunotherapy response.

Sr Scientific Researcher

Josefa dela Cruz-Chuh is a Senior Scientific Researcher in the Biochemical and Cellular Pharmacology Department at Genentech. She currently supports the immune cell engager platform by developing cell based functional assays to quantitate in vitro activity and understand mechanism of action. Specifically, high throughput imaging-based screening assays have been established to quantitate kinetics of tumor killing by immune cells with cytokine kinetics profiling and immune cell marker phenotyping. Prior to supporting immune-oncology projects, she developed bioanalytical assays for antibody drug-conjugates, including PK, immunogenicity, in-vitro potency, intracellular processing and drug release and MOA. Prior to joining Genentech, Josefa worked in Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute studying infectious disease. Josefa attended UC Berkeley studying Molecular and Cell Biology with an emphasis on Biochemistry.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Associate Member/Lab Head

Dr. Liang Deng received her BS degree from the University of Rochester, and her PhD and MD degrees from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and Weill Cornell Medical College. She is currently an Associate Member and Associate Attending Physician at MSKCC. She is a board-certified dermatologist specializing in melanoma and viral-associated skin malignancies. Her laboratory research has been focused on studying virus-host interaction and the development of vaccinia-based cancer immunotherapeutics. Her previous work demonstrated that intratumoral injection of inactivated modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) turns “cold” tumors into “hot” tumors, which results in enhanced responsiveness to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) therapy. Based on these findings, her research program focuses on rational engineering of modified vaccinia virus Ankara to elicit strong antitumor effects either used alone or in combination with ICB. Her research has been supported by the NIH, the Dermatology Foundation, American Skin Association, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, Technology Development Award at MSKCC, and IMVAQ Therapeutics, a biotech company she and her colleagues at MSKCC co-founded.

Chief Business Officer

Erik Digman Wiklund is the CBO of Targovax, a Norwegian clinical-stage, immuno-oncology company developing oncolytic viruses to target hard-to-treat solid tumors. He has a Ph.D. in cancer research. Dr. Wiklund previously worked for the Norwegian cancer biotechnology company, Algeta ASA, and the nutraceutical company, Aker Biomarine Antarctic AS, where he held the position of Director of Product Innovation. He also has former management consulting experience from the Pharma & Health Care practice of McKinsey & Company. Dr. Wiklund holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Aarhus University, Denmark, and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia.

President & CEO

Dr. Dixit is an accomplished executive, inventor, and scientist with over 30 years of success with top biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, including Merck, Johnson & Johnson, and Medimmune-AstraZeneca. Dr. Dixit was selected by his biopharmaceutical peers as the 100 Most Inspiring People in Pharmaceutical Industry by PharmaVOICE in 2015. He is currently the President and CEO of the Bionavigen, LLC, a virtual advisory and drug-hunting company since the middle of 2019. From 2006 to 2019, Rakesh was a Global Vice President of Biologics R&D in AstraZeneca, where he was a key contributor to successful approval of Imfinzi (anti-PD-L1 mab) - lung and bladder cancer; Fasenra (anti-IL-5R afucsolytated mab) - ashthma; Brodalumab (anti-IL-17) in collaboration with Amgen - psoriasis; and Moxetumomab (anti-CD22-PEA immunotoxin) - hairy cell leukemia. At Merck & Co. Inc, (1992-2005), Dr. Dixit was a key contributor to the development of MAXALT (Anti-migraine), SINGULAIR (Anti-Asthma)-1998, CRIXIVAN (Anti-AIDS)-1998; VIOXX (COX-2 Inhibitor)-2000, and EMEND-2003. Dr. Dixit has published 80 peer-reviewed papers in renowned international journals. He has been invited for more than 150 lectures/presentations/workshops in national and international meetings worldwide, and is one of the topmost invited speakers in the biotechnology-biopharma industry. He has special expertise in the development of antibody drug conjugates and biologics of all therapeutic classes.

EVP Research, CTO

Dr. DuBridge received his BA in Biology from the University of California at San Diego and his PhD in Genetics from Stanford University. After completing his postdoctoral studies at Genentech, Dr. DuBridge was one of the founding scientists of Cell Genesys, Inc. where he was responsible for setting up systems to create genetic knockouts in primary human cells. He later became the Director of the Massively Parallel Signature Sequencing (MPSS) project at Lynx Therapeutics and his group was responsible for setting up the first next generation sequencing platform. Dr. DuBridge led the New Technologies and Antibody Engineering groups at Eos and then PDL Biopharma, during this time his group humanized numerous therapeutic antibodies and developed a new antibody engineering platform called PxP. In 2010 Dr. DuBridge founded Full Spectrum Genetics to develop a novel, high throughput mutation profiling system to create detailed structural maps of protein binding sites. In 2015 FSG developed the S4 system for rapidly creating affinity matured antibodies from selected single substitution CDR libraries. Later that year Harpoon Therapeutics licensed the S4 technology and Dr. DuBridge joined Harpoon to help engineer inherently active bispecific T cell engagers. Maverick was spun out of Harpoon to develop conditionally active bispecific T cell engagers in 2017 with funding from Takeda Pharmaceuticals. Currently Dr. DuBridge is CTO and EVP of Research at Maverick Therapeutics.

Univ of California San Francisco


Jacqueline Fabius obtained her undergraduate degree from Hamilton College in Comparative Literature and Spanish. She worked in media and management consulting for 11 years prior to joining the United Nations and later UCSF in the role of the Chief Operating Officer for the Quantitative Biosciences Institute, where she heads a number of initiatives including establishing relationships and collaborations as well as media and communication strategy for the institute. In alignment with QBI’s mission to bring young investigators and women scientists to the forefront at QBI, she started the Scholarship for Women from Developing Nations. Her focus is facilitating communication and networking across wide audiences ranging from scientists to lay audience.

Vice President, Head of Business Development

Mike has a PhD in medicinal chemistry and 20 years’ experience of life sciences business development and commercialisation, focusing on the biomarker & diagnostics industries for the past 10 years. As Head of Business Development with Oncimmune, Mike is responsible for driving companion diagnostics and partnering opportunities.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Ctr

Lab Director, Senior Staff Scientist

Steven Fling, Ph.D. has more than 23 years of research experience in T cell immunobiology, cancer vaccine and immunotherapeutic discovery, and 12 years of experience in the managing collaborative research networks and consortia. He currently serves as the Lab Director for Central Immune Monitoring Lab (CIML), overseeing correlative biomarker studies for the NCI-funded CITN (Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network) and the industry-funded ION (Immune Oncology Network). CITN/ION is housed at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and is conducting more than 20 early-stage, multi-center IO clinical trials for various cancers, with a focus on agents/combinations to potentiate effective immune responses, including IL-7, Flt3L, IL-15, IFNg, TGFb and IDO-1 inhibitors, and anti-PD-(L)1. Previously, he served as Project Director for the Neutralizing Antibody Consortium (NAC), an international consortium of scientists working to develop a vaccine for HIV, and in 2009, established lab operations at IAVI’s Neutralizing Antibody Center at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA.

Sr Dir Clinical Science

Roel Funke is Senior Director of clinical science at PACT Pharma, which is developing personalized adoptive cell therapies against solid tumors. Before joining PACT, Roel worked at Genentech on the PD-L1 inhibitor, atezolizumab, most recently on the IMpassion130 study which resulted in the first approval of an immunotherapy regimen for the treatment of breast cancer. Prior to that he was at Exelixis where he worked on the clinical development of small molecules and TKIs, including cabozantinib.


Shaan is a Principal at Northpond Ventures and leads Northpond’s Cambridge office. Prior to joining Northpond Ventures, he was a Principal at the Longwood Fund, where he created and invested in life science companies, including Pyxis Oncology, a cancer immunotherapy company focused on novel modulators of the tumor microenvironment, which he co-founded and served as President. Previously, he was an attending hospitalist at the Massachusetts General Hospital, where he also did his residency in internal medicine. He holds an M.D. from Harvard Medical School, an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, where he was a Baker Scholar, a D. Phil. in medical oncology from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and a B.S. with honors in biochemistry from Case Western Reserve University. He is the Vice President of the Suffolk District Medical Society, the professional medical society of Boston, and a trustee of the Boston Medical Library.

Chief Dev Officer

No bio available.


Hanspeter has over 20 years of research and development experience in oncology, including antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), redirected T-cell targeting compounds and adoptive T-cell therapies. He has been leading Pfizer’s Bioconjugates division as CSO, overseeing Pfizer’ s efforts in ADC sand, redirected T-cell targeting and nanoparticle development. He previously held senior leadership positions at Seattle Genetics and Genentech. Hanspeter is currently CSO and Senior Vice President at 3T Biosciences, where he is overseeing platform- and therapeutic program development of TCR-T and cancer vaccine therapeutics. He is a recognized leader in oncology drug development, spanning from target identification and validation, development of novel therapeutic modalities and companion diagnostics, regulatory filings and translational support for early clinical development. He has a proven track record in making initial contacts and to successfully execute external collaborations and licensing deals with academia and corporate partners. Hanspeter is an internationally recognized leader in Oncology drug discovery and development, with a strong record of accomplishments in the field of targeted therapeutics. His work has led to more than eight IND filings for ADCs and bi-specifics, and contributions to BLA submissions of therapeutic antibodies (Avastin) and two ADCs (Mylotarg, Besponsa) in Oncology. He is an author on over 100 peer-reviewed published papers and inventor on over 20 patents in the field of Oncology drug discovery. Dr. Gerber is also a member of the board at NBE Therapeutics, an early stage ADC company located in Basel, Switzerland, developing ADCs with a unique and novel mechanism of action. Hanspeter Gerber received an MS in Biochemistry and a PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Zurich, Switzerland.

VP Oncology

Cecile Geuijen joined Merus in 2009 and holds a PhD in Biology from the University of Utrecht. Before joining Merus she worked on the identification of new therapeutic targets in oncology at Crucell and evaluated new therapeutic targets in oncology at Genmab. She is responsible for the functional screenings of large Biclonics® antibody panels at Merus. She serves as project leader of several (pre) clinical bispecific candidate combinations including MCLA-128, MCLA-129 and MCLA-145 with a focus on mechanism of action studies.


Dr. Grandi is widely regarded as a scientific leader in the field of immuno-oncology. She earned a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Ferrara (Italy) in 2001, before moving to the U.S. to pursue her interests in oncolytic Herpes Simplex Virus-based vectors for the treatment of recurrent malignant glioblastoma. After four years of post-doctoral research at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Dr. Grandi joined the departments of Neurological Surgery and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where she developed the next-generation oncolytic HSV-based vectors armed with novel payload combinations that altered the tumor microenvironment (TME) to promote the development of anti-tumor immunity. As an NIH-funded Principal Investigator, she carried out pioneering work to combine the use of retargeted HSV vectors with cellular microRNA regulation of viral genes in non-tumor tissue to limit vector oncolytic activity to brain tumors. Her academic research has produced several key patents that provided the core technologies to establish a start-up oncolytic vector company, Oncorus, Inc. in Cambridge, MA, as the company's Co-Founder, Scientific Advisory Board Member, and early-stage Director of Company Research. Dr. Grandi is serving as a CSO at CG Oncology a clinical-stage Biotech company investigating CG0070 for treatment of NMIBC.

Medical Dir Global Dev ImmunoOncology R&D

Dr. Italia Grenga is a Medical Director in the immune-oncology global clinical development department at EMD Serono, an affiliate of Merck KGaA, Germany. Italia joined EMD Serono almost three years ago and she is currently the Lung Strategy Lead for bintrafusp alfa, a bifunctional fusion protein targeting TGF-ß and PD-L1. Italia received her medical degree in Italy from the University of Tor Vergata where she also completed her residency in Medical Oncology. Prior to EMD Serono, she spent five years at the National Cancer Institute, where she completed her PhD at the Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology. At the NCI, Italia applied her medical oncology expertise to translational cancer immunology and biomarker research, resulting in multiple clinically relevant publications in the field of checkpoint inhibitors.


Bonnie J. Hammer, PhD is the Vice President of Research and Development at Invenra, Inc. headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. Invenra is focused on discovery and development of multispecific antibodies for immuno-oncology and autoimmune disorders. Invenra’s proprietary B-Body™, SNIPER™, and ClustR™ technologies are used to develop novel antibodies that can bind to two or more specific therapeutic targets or epitopes to enable new mechanisms of action. Dr. Hammer holds a PhD from the University of Oregon in Biochemistry and has over 20 years’ experience in cell biology, disease modeling, and assay development for drug discovery. In her current role, she focuses on pre-clinical in vitro and in vivo functional assays for therapeutic antibodies.

William Dalton Family Assistant Professor of Medical Oncology

Brent Hanks, M.D., Ph.D. is the William Dalton Family Assistant Professor of Medical Oncology in the Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at Duke University with a dual appointment with the Duke Cancer Institute. Dr. Hanks completed his medical degree along with a Ph.D. in tumor immunology while in the Medical Scientist Training Program at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Hanks went on to complete his internal medicine residency training and his hematology and oncology fellowship training at Duke University. He now manages a basic and translational research lab focusing on understanding biochemical mechanisms of tumor-mediated immune evasion and immunotherapy resistance in cancer. More recently, his lab is exploring the underlying mechanisms associated with immunotherapy-associated toxicities. In addition to his research efforts, he is a medical oncologist and manages patients with advanced skin cancers, including melanoma and Merkel cell carcinoma. Using an array of experimental techniques, his lab's research goals are to develop novel strategies to enhance the efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors and vaccine immunotherapy, while also developing predictive biomarkers to better guide the management of cancer patients with immunotherapeutic agents. Website: www.thehankslab.com

Assistant Professor

My research interests include assessing intratumoral DC phenotypic states and identifying targets to activate these cells to improve responses to adoptive cell therapy and checkpoint blockade. In addition, my lab is actively involved in understanding responses to immunotherapy (both cellular and antibody-based) using standard immunology assays, as well as developing novel approaches for immune-monitoring of clinical trials.

Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Hofmeister joined TCR² in 2015 as the Senior Vice President of Research and Development. He brings nearly two decades of scientific leadership and a successful track record of drug discovery and early development. Previously, Dr. Hofmeister was the Vice President of Immuno-Oncology at EMD Serono where he was involved in the development of now approved Bavencio® (avelumab) and building the company’s immuno-oncology platform. He started his biotech career at Micromet AG, now Amgen Research Munich, where he helped shape the development of Blincyto®, the first FDA-approved bispecific antibody for the treatment of relapsed/refractory ALL. Dr. Hofmeister received his PhD from the University of Regensburg in Germany, where he studied the signaling of the cytokine interleukin-1. He continued to work in the cytokine field as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute.

Sr VP Dev & Regulatory

Dr. Iyer has over 20 years of experience in the biotech industry that spans drug discovery, translational research, regulatory interactions and clinical development. Prior to joining Teneobio in April 2017, Dr. Iyer was at Abbvie as Global Project Leader in Oncology Clinical Development where she led programs in early development. Prior to Abbvie, Dr. Iyer was at Genentech for 11 years during which she participated in and led preclinical and clinical development teams in immunology and oncology, resulting in key development milestones for several programs. She began her R&D career at Sangstat Medical Corp with over 9 years in discovery and early development research. She earned her PhD from University of California at Davis, is a co-author on over 40 publications, has presented at numerous national and international forums and is a co-inventor on 5 patents.

Senior Scientist

Thibaut holds a Master’s degree in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular biology from the University of Liège. He received his PhD (2012-2016) at the GIGA research center in Liège, where he acquired a strong experience in the immunology field, working on dendritic cells and T cells interactions. During this period, he also developed an in-depth knowledge of flow cytometry. He joined ImmunXperts as a Senior Scientist at the beginning of 2017.

Product Manager

Dr. Yinan Jiang is an expert on structural studies of protein complexes involved in virus-host interaction. His research focuses on elucidating the molecular mechanism of virus cell entry and viral immune evasion, including coronaviruses and influenza viruses. He has published research papers in high-profile journals such as Cell Research and Protein Cell. Dr. Jiang is currently working as product development manager at ACROBiosyterms. He is in charge of developing SARS-CoV-2 antigen proteins and kits for research use.



Steve is the Chief Scientific Officer of Caribou Biosciences responsible for R&D activities related to therapeutic discovery and development. Before joining Caribou, Steve served in positions of increasing responsibility in both oncology and immunology/inflammation drug discovery at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Agensys, and Astex Pharmaceuticals, and was most recently VP, Head of Biology at Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals, leading a department in discovery of RNAi therapeutics for oncology, genetic diseases, and other indications. Steve has authored numerous publications in both peer-reviewed journals and books, and is an inventor on multiple patents and patent applications. Steve earned his undergraduate degree in Genetics from the University of California, Berkeley, his Ph.D. in Immunology and Microbiology from the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, and did post-doctoral work in oncology at the University of Virginia.

University of California, San Francisco

Professor & Alvera L. Kan Endowed Chair

Noriyuki Kasahara is a Board-certified clinical pathologist and Principal Investigator at the Brain Tumor Center at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Previously he was a Professor of Cell Biology & Pathology at the University of Miami and served as Co-Leader of the Viral Oncology Program at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Past positions also include Professor of Medicine & Molecular Pharmacology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he was Director of the UCLA Vector Core & Shared Resource facility at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center for over a decade. Prior to this, he also established and directed Vector Core facilities as faculty at the University of Southern California (USC). Dr. Kasahara has more than 30 years of experience and has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed articles in the fields of gene therapy and genetic engineering. Current areas of research include cancer gene therapy and immunotherapy, transplantation, and regenerative medicine; in particular, Dr. Kasahara pioneered the development of tumor-selective retroviral replicating vectors (RRV) for gene therapy of cancer, which was translated to first-in-human clinical trials sponsored by Tocagen Inc. and has reached Phase III evaluation.


Dr. Howard L. Kaufman has been a leading authority on tumor immunotherapy and oncolytic viruses for the treatment of melanoma. He led the first successful phase III trial of an oncolytic herpes virus that demonstrated clinical benefit in patients with melanoma resulting in the first FDA approval of an oncolytic virus for the treatment of cancer. He also recently completed a positive clinical trial demonstrating therapeutic responses of a new PD-L1-directed monoclonal antibody in patients with Merkel cell carcinoma. Dr. Kaufman has maintained a funded laboratory in tumor immunology for nearly 20 years. He was born in Chicago, Illinois and received his MD degree from Loyola University, completed a residency in General Surgery at Boston University and fellowship training in Tumor Immunology and Surgical Oncology at the National Cancer Institute. He has previously held appointments as Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology and Associate Director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia University, inaugural Director of the Rush University Cancer Center, and Associate Director for Clinical Science of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Dr. Kaufman has published over 500 peer-reviewed scientific papers, books, review articles and abstracts and serves on the editorial board of the Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer, The Oncologist and Journal of Translational Medicine. He is a member of numerous professional societies and served as President of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer. Dr. Kaufman was the recipient of several awards including the Daland Prize, MRF Humanitarian Award and UIC Distinguished Alumnus Award. He has been appointed to the Board of Directors of several professional organizations, including the Melanoma Research Foundation, Melanoma Research Alliance, Commission on Cancer, American Cancer Society-Eastern Division and the University of Illinois Chicago College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He is a consultant to Replimune, Inc. and is currently the Head of Research and Development at Immuneering Corp., maintains an academic appointment at Harvard Medical School and is part of the melanoma service at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Prof & Vice Chair Research

Dr Kaur is an internationally recognized investigator with expertise in basic, and translational, Neuro-Oncology research involving many aspects of cancer biology, response and resistance to therapeutics. Following the completion of her PhD at Emory University in 1999 she subsequently pursued a research post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Dr Erwin Van Meir in understanding basic mechanisms of hypoxia-elicited changes in gene expression and function and implications for brain tumors. She joined the Ohio State University in 2005 as a tenure track Assistant professor and was promoted to Professor with tenure in 2013. In 2017, she was recruited to the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Senior Director, Innovation & Product Development

Dr. Keck is Senior Director for the Clinical Lab & In Vivo Pharmacology Services at The Jackson Laboratory. His expertise is in the areas of animal pharmacology, assay development, drug discovery, target identification, protein expression, and translational research. He oversees the operational development of the PDX resource which generates, banks, and distributes patient-derived xenograft mouse models of human cancers. 

Co Founder & VP Discovery Research

Michael Klichinsky obtained his Ph.D. while training with Carl June and Saar Gill at the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies at the University of Pennsylvania. While at Penn, Michael invented CAR macrophages and co-founded Carisma Therapeutics with Saar Gill. Currently, Michael is the Vice President of Discovery at Carisma Therapeutics, a biotech company developing engineered macrophage immunotherapies.


Dr. Keith L. Knutson is currently Professor in the Department of Immunology at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville and Director, Mayo Clinic Florida Cancer Research Program. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia in Physiology and Pharmacology in 1995 and completed two post-doctoral fellowships in immunology, one at the University of British Columbia and the other at the University of Washington. He was a 2004 recipient of a Howard Temin Award from the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Knutson’s current interests and research focuses on the immunology and immunotherapy of breast and ovarian cancers. Interests are in both the basic immunobiology and clinical translation, including clinical trials. The laboratory conducts research on cancer vaccines focuses on augmenting T cell immunity using peptide and virus-based vaccines. These vaccine strategies are primarily aimed at preventing the patients from relapsing after optimal conventional therapies. Dr. Knutson is currently (1) a member of the Integration Panel of Department of Defense’s Ovarian Cancer Research Program, and (2) a Susan G. Komen Scholar.

Product Manager Cell Separation

Kristina joined Miltenyi Biotec in 2017 as a Global Product Manager for Cell Separation. In this role, she manages the launch and marketing of reagents and cell separation instruments, focusing on applications in Biotech, Pharma and CROs. Prior to joining Miltenyi, Kristina worked as a Sales Consultant at jobvector, a specialized career board for science and engineering.

Univ of California San Francisco


Dr. Krogan is a Molecular Biologist, UC San Francisco Professor, and Director of the intensely interdisciplinary Quantitative Biosciences Institute (QBI) under the UCSF School of Pharmacy. He is also a Senior Investigator at the Gladstone Institutes. He led the work to create the SARS-CoV-2 interactome, and assembled the QBI Coronavirus Research Group (QCRG), which includes hundreds of scientists from around the world. His research focuses on developing and using unbiased, quantitative system approaches to study a wide variety of diseases with the ultimate goal of developing new therapeutics. He also serves as Director of The HARC Center, an NIH-funded collaborative group that focuses on the structural characterization of HIV-human protein complexes. Dr. Krogan is also the Co-Director of three Cell Mapping initiatives: the Cancer Cell Mapping Initiative (CCMI), the Host Pathogen Map Initiative (HPMI), and the Psychiatric Cell Map Initiative (PCMI). These initiatives map the gene and protein networks in healthy and diseased cells, with these maps being used to better understand disease and provide novel therapies to fight them. He has authored over 250 papers in the fields of genetics and molecular biology and has given over 250 lectures and seminars around the world. He is a Searle Scholar, a Keck Distinguished Scholar, and was recently awarded the Roddenberry Prize for Biomedical Research.

VP Molecular Biology

Lorena Lerner is the Vice President of Molecular Biology at Oncorus, where she is leading the efforts to engineer potent and safer armed oncolytic viral vectors for the treatment of solid tumors. Lorena previously served as Director of Biology at Quiet Therapeutics, where she was responsible for leading the development of proprietary nanotechnology IO platform. Prior to Quiet, she served as Director of Target Discovery at Scholar Rock. Lorena was at AVEO Oncology for twelve years, establishing the target identification pipeline and leading the development of AV-380, a cancer cachexia program targeting GDF15, from target identification, validation, antibody preclinical development, and out-licensing enterprises. Lorena received an MSc in Molecular Biology and a PhD in Biochemistry from University of Buenos Aires. She completed post-doctoral research fellowship at Rockefeller University.

Prof & Deputy Chairman

I am a tenured full professor in the Department of Systems Biology at MD Anderson Cancer Center. My lab has identified many key players in DNA damage response network and characterized their critical roles in tumor suppression (e.g., Cancer Cell, 2006; Nat Cell Biol. 2009). Moreover, by utilizing powerful systems biology approaches, we have developed effective and novel strategies to target cancers via their defects of DNA damage and stress responses, including developing signatures and targeting drugs against cancer with homologous recombination (HR) defects (Nat Commu, 2014), mismatch repair (MMR) defects (Cancer Cell, 2020) and replication stress response (RSR) defects (Cell Rep, 2018). I have been playing an integral role in bridging the basic research with preclinical and clinical studies. My research accomplishments in these areas have led to my being awarded several major grants (NIH R01 grants, an Era of Hope Scholar Award, an Innovator and Scholar Concept Award from the DOD, and a Research Scholar Award from the American Cancer Society).

Clinical Dir

Dr. Madan is the Clinical Director of the Genitourinary Malignancies Branch. His clinical research is focused on immune-stimulating therapies and prostate cancer. Specifically, Dr. Madan’s clinical trials are designed to develop a better understanding of how immune-stimulating therapies can improve clinical outcomes and be combined with other therapies, such as investigating emerging therapeutics in all stages of prostate cancer, as well as the early stage of biochemically recurrent prostate cancer.

Massachusetts General Hospital

Research Fellow

No bio available.

Co-Founder & CSO

Dr. Tatiana Novobrantseva is Co-Founder and CSO of Verseau Therapeutics. She previously served as Head of Research and Development. Before co-founding Verseau, she consulted for multiple companies on immunological aspects of drug development across different stages and therapeutic modalities in a variety of autoimmune, cancer and rare disease indications. At her prior position as Director of Tumor Immunology at Jounce Therapeutics, Tatiana defined research plans for several programs at the company’s inception, as well as led a portfolio of programs on (re)activating the immune system against cancer. Previously, Tatiana served as Associate Director at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Scientist II at Biogen. Tatiana’s scientific accomplishments include discovering the critical role for B cells in liver fibrosis, developing mechanistic insights for multiple therapeutic programs, pushing the envelope on siRNA delivery and championing a dendritic cell cancer vaccine clinical program. Tatiana is an inventor on more than 22 patents and an author on more than 37 peer-reviewed manuscripts. Tatiana completed her PhD with Dr. Klaus Rajewsky at the University of Cologne in Germany, focusing on B cell development and function. She holds a diploma of engineer-physicist and an MS in molecular biology from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.

Senior Vice President, Head of Translational Science

Dr. Shane Olwill has spent over 15 years in oncology focused drug discovery with a specific interest in the development of novel biologics. Shane leads the Pieris’ Translational Department where he is responsible for the development of a proprietary product pipeline of Next Generation Therapeutics across Immuno-Oncology and Respiratory Disease. This work includes the generation of tumor localized T cell agonists for oncology including PRS-343 a 4-1BB HER2 bispecific undergoing clinical evaluation and a panel of inhaled biologics for treatment of diseases such as Asthma and IPF. Prior to joining Pieris, Shane was Director of Research at Fusion Antibodies Ltd. He received his PhD in Molecular Hematology / Oncology from University of Ulster, UK.

VP Oncology Research

Bio to come

Technical Application Manager

No bio available.


Dr. Elizabeth Pham holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Toronto and performed post-doctoral research at Sunnybrook Research Institute prior to joining Amgen Inc. as a Scientist in Immuno-Oncology. She currently heads a research group at Amgen focused on target discovery and BiTE® molecule development for solid tumors.

Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Pierce is a physician scientist with more than two decades of scientific leadership and experience managing large teams dedicated to translation medicine platforms in academia and industry, particularly in the area of immunology and immuno-oncology. Prior to Sensei, he was the Scientific Director of the Immunopathology Lab in the Clinical Research Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Dr. Pierce is an Anatomic Pathologist with a strong academic and industry background in immuno-oncology. He was previously the Chief Scientific Officer of OncoSec Medical, a biotechnology company developing in-situ vaccination approaches using intratumoral gene delivery of IL-12. His longstanding research interest is on mechanisms of tumor- and pathogen-induced immune tolerance and has expertise in the development of biomarkers to predict responses to immuno-oncology treatments. While at Merck, Dr. Pierce led a team focused on the development of tissue-based biomarkers for Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapeutic antibody (pembrolizumab; KEYTRUDA®) and was the medical lead responsible for kicking off the clinical trials of pembrolizumab in Merkel cell carcinoma and cutaneous T cell lymphoma.

Massachusetts General Hospital

Thomas A Pappas Prof Neurosciences

Samuel D. Rabkin is the Thomas A. Pappas Professor in Neurosciences and Professor of Neurosurgery (Microbiology) at Harvard Medical School, and Virologist in Neurosurgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. After obtaining his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, he was an Assistant Member in Molecular Biology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, and an Associate Professor in Neurosurgery at Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C. Dr. Rabkin's research has focused on the development of oncolytic herpes simplex viruses (oHSVs) for cancer therapy for over 25 years.

Prof & Clinical Dir Neuro Oncology

David A. Reardon, MD, is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and currently serves as Clinical Director of the Center for Neuro-Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He previously served as the Associate Deputy Director of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University Medical Center for eleven years. He completed his residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland, and was awarded a fellowship at the University of Michigan. Dr. Reardon is an active researcher with special interests in the design and implementation of clinical trials for neuro-oncology and the preclinical evaluation of promising therapeutics for central nervous system tumors. His work includes using innovative clinical therapeutic agents to improve outcomes for patients with brain and spinal tumors, with a particular focus on immunotherapeutics. He has also led investigations of molecular-targeting agents, anti-angiogenic reagents, cytotoxins, and other biologically based therapies. Dr. Reardon has published over 270 peer-reviewed manuscripts. He received the R. Wayne Rundles Award for Excellence in Cancer Research, as well as the Award for Excellence in Adult Clinical Research by the Society for Neuro-Oncology in 2015 and 2016. He also served as the tenth president of the Society for Neuro-Oncology from 2013-2015.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Ctr

Asst Attending & Assoc Dir Genomics Operations

Dr. Riaz obtained his MD and a MSc in bioinformatics from Stanford University and completed clinical training in radiation oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). He subsequently stayed on staff at MSKCC as a Head and Neck Radiation Oncologist and also serves as the Associate Director for the Immuno-genomics and Precision Oncology Platform at MSKCC. His laboratory research has focused on the development of novel computational techniques to interrogate genomics data to predict outcomes after immuno-therapeutics in cancer. He focuses on how mutational processes and tumor clonality influence the production and immunogenicity of neo-antigens. His clinical research efforts have focused on personalizing radiotherapy for HPV-related oropharyngeal cancers.

Sr. Dir.

A chemist by (university) training, Dr. Roovers turned to antibody-based therapies of cancer during his Ph.D. with one of the pioneers of antibody engineering and phage display, Hennie Hoogenboom. Subsequently, Dr. Roovers has worked with several companies as a post-doc in academia before turning to biotech, when he started at Merus in 2011. Having contributed to the development of several bispecifics until phase I clinical trial, he joined LAVA Therapeutics in 2018 through an invitation by Paul Parren. It has been and still is a great pleasure for him to set up and develop the company.

Asst Prof & Scientific Dir Lymphoma Program

Marco Ruella, M.D., is Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology and the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies and Scientific Director of the Lymphoma Program at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the study of the mechanisms of relapse after chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR T) immunotherapies with the goal of rationally designing combined, innovative immunotherapies for relapsing/refractory leukemia and lymphoma. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed publications on targeted immunotherapies for hematological cancers and is an inventor in several patents on CAR T therapy. His work has been recognized through numerous awards, including the inaugural SITC EMD-Serono Cancer Immunotherapy Clinical Fellowship (2014), the AACR-BMS Oncology Fellowship in Clinical Cancer Research (2015), the ASH Scholar Award (2016), a NIH K99-R00 award (2017), the “Paola Campese” Award Leukemia Research (2017), the Cancer Support Community Award (2018), and most recently, the 2018 American Society of Hematology Joanne Levy, MD, Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement. Dr. Ruella obtained his medical degree with high honors and completed his specialization in clinical hematology at the University of Torino, Italy. After completing his fellowship, he was an attending physician in the Hematology and Cell Therapy Division of the Mauriziano Hospital and an Instructor at the Biotechnology School at the University of Torino. From 2012, he was a postdoctoral fellow, and then an instructor at the University of Pennsylvania in the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies, where he worked with Drs. June and Gill until appointment to his current position in 2018.


Dr. Russell is the CEO of Vyriad. He is also the Richard O Jacobson Professor of Molecular Medicine at Mayo Clinic and Vice President of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy. He obtained his MD from the University of Edinburgh in 1982 and since that time has relentlessly pursued the goal of effective oncolytic virotherapy. He specialized clinically in hematology, then undertook his PhD training at the Royal Marsden hospital where he was the first to engineer both retroviral and parvoviral vectors to deliver interleukin genes for cancer immunotherapy. He then moved to Cambridge, England where he led a research team in the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Biology, developed a novel method for antibody affinity maturation using phage display libraries, pioneered the display antibody domains on retroviral vector particles and on recombinant measles viruses, and founded Cambridge Genetics, a biotechnology/drug discovery company. In 1998 he moved to Mayo Clinic where he founded the Department of Molecular Medicine, built a comprehensive oncolytic virotherapy program, developed innovative engineering approaches for targeting, arming and noninvasively monitoring OV infections, and orchestrated the GMP manufacture, preclinical pharmacological/toxicological testing, IND filing and clinical translation of a number of oncolytic Measles and Vesicular stomatitis viruses for several different cancer indications. He cofounded two oncolytic virotherapy companies which merged in 2015, thereby establishing Vyriad as the first multi-platform OV company.

Site Head

Christoph Sachse is representing NMI TT Pharmaservices as their Site Head in Berlin, Germany. He studied biochemistry and completed his Ph.D. in the field of pharmacogenetics of drug-metabolizing enzymes at the University Clinic Charité Berlin in 1998, before starting his post-doctoral studies at the University of Dundee, Scotland. Afterwards, he worked for several years in research scientist, group leader and director positions for a biotech company in the functional genomics and cell-based screening area. Since 2015, he leads the new NMI subsidiary in Berlin.

Co-Founder, President & CEO

Dr. Sardesai founded Geneos to focus on personalized immunotherapies for cancer after building Inovio Pharmaceuticals into a Phase III cancer and infectious disease immunotherapy company serving as its Chief Operating Officer. At Inovio, he held positions of increasing responsibility, where he helped formulate the company’s product development and growth strategies and reorganized the company into a DNA vaccine and immunotherapies company. He led and served as the PI on multiple large multi-institutional program project grants from government and non-government funding agencies and private partnerships, and was responsible for raising and managing over $150M in non-dilutive funding via grants and partnerships. Dr. Sardesai drove multiple M&A and licensing transactions to consolidate key technologies, establish the corporate footprint, and develop its immunotherapies platform and product pipeline. He led the strategic out-licensing of Inovio’s pipeline products to secure major licensing deals totaling over $1B with pharma partners. Dr. Sardesai was previously the founder and President of NVision Consulting Inc., a firm providing strategic counsel to entrepreneurial life sciences companies. He served as Director of Research and Development at Fujirebio Diagnostics, Inc., where he oversaw the expansion of the company’s oncology portfolio. Products developed under his leadership include groundbreaking new tests for mesothelioma (MESOMARK™), bladder cancer and a multi-marker test for ovarian cancer (HE4). Dr. Sardesai received a PhD in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology and a MBA (entrepreneurship and finance) from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the recipient of the Shils-Zeidman Award in Entrepreneurship. He was awarded fellowships at the Scripps Research Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Dr. Sardesai received his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai. Dr. Sardesai has authored over 120 peer-reviewed manuscripts, has been granted multiple patents, and was recognized by PharmaVoice magazine as one of the top 100 most influential and inspirational leaders across the life sciences industry. He lives in Blue Bell, PA with his wife and their two sons they are raising to be responsible global citizens.

President & CTO

Volker Schellenberger is President and CTO of Amunix Pharmaceuticals, which he co-founded in 2006. He initially served as Amunix’ Chief Scientific Officer and is the lead inventor of the company’s XTEN as well as XPAT platforms of protease-activated T cell engagers. Volker has over 25 years of industry experience in protein engineering and drug discovery. Prior to co-founding Amunix he served as head of Genencor’s protein engineering department. Volker received his Ph.D. from Leipzig University (Germany) in 1986. He is author of over 40 scientific papers and inventor of more than 70 issued or pending patent applications. He is a recipient of the Karl Lohmann prize of the German Society of Biochemists.


Emmett received his undergraduate degree in Biology from Harvard College in 1974 and a simultaneous M.A. in Biology. He received MD and PhD degrees having attended medical school and graduate school at the Duke University School of Medicine from 1975 to 1981. He completed internship, residency and fellowship in Pediatrics and Infectious Diseases at Boston Children’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Emmett was at the Massachusetts General Hospital of the Harvard Medical School from 1998 until 2010. Starting as a founding member of the MGH Cancer Center, Emmett became a full professor in 2004 and served as the Associate Chief of the Department of Pediatrics from 2002 until 2010. Highlights of his research career include: the experimental demonstration that cyclin D1 can function as a driver oncogene in breast cancer; studies of the mechanisms by which cell growth drives cell division; initial demonstrations that c-Myc has a primary function in regulating cell growth; and development of a range of transgenic models of cancers (lymphoma, gastric, HCC, and breast). Clinical highlights of his time at MGH included running a small pediatric HIV unit, co-founding the Pediatric Hospitalist Group and directing the Pediatric Residency from 1996 until 2010. Along the way he was the PI or co-PI for the following: six RO1s, one UO1, and two SPORE projects from the NIH; an ACS RIG; a MacDonnell Scholar grant; as well as grants from the Brain Tumor Society, the Hood Foundation, Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals, and the Pfeiffer Research Foundation. He was elected a member of the two academic Pediatric leadership societies including the Society for Pediatric Research in 1997 and the American Pediatric Society in 2000. Emmett joined Merck in 2011. Initially recruited to Experimental Medicine, his early assignments included the First-in-Human study of MK-8353 (ERK inhibitor), and evaluation of a clinically-derived biomarker for MK-0646 (anti-IGFR) in colorectal cancer. Subsequent studies as part of the Oncology group included a broad portfolio of studies of MK-2206 (AKT inhibitor) encompassing four internal studies, 31 National Cancer Institute-sponsored studies and the I-SPY2 breast cancer collaboration. Subsequent assignments included clinical lead roles for the vintafolide program, and for the First-in-Human study of MK-4166, an inhibitor of the glucocorticoid-induced TNFR family related gene (GITR). In 2013 Emmett joined the pembrolizumab team taking on key responsibilities for developing phase 3 registration studies in adjuvant melanoma (053 and 054) as well as the first-line head and neck trial (048). Emmett has supported successful filing activities for pembrolizumab both within and outside of the United States. As part of the pembrolizumab melanoma team Emmett was the clinical lead for Keynotes 002, 027, 053, and 054. He has been part of the filing teams for 001, 002, and 006, as well as representing the Melanoma clinical team for global filing activities. He currently leads the External Collaborations PDT whose studies include over 120 partnered studies of clinical combinations of pembrolizumab and a broad portfolio of other cancer drugs.

Asst Prof

No bio available.

Senior Director

Donald Shaffer has worked in biologics drug discovery and development at Jounce Therapeutics since 2013. Prior to joining Jounce, Dr. Shaffer trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where he performed shRNA screening to find genes that limit T cell function within tumors. He obtained his Ph.D. at Baylor College of Medicine, where he developed a novel chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) for the treatment of cancer together with his mentors in the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy.

Dir mAb Discovery

I have over 13 years of experience in biological research. First, I successfully accomplished my Ph.D. at the University of Bern, focusing on biology of membrane transporters. Then, I continued my work on membrane transporters, being responsible of the drug-screening platform of the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at the University of Bern. Over four years, my team was developing functional assays in order to run screening campaigns aiming to identify small molecules modulating transporters function. Competencies acquired during this academic experience allowed me to join Numab in 2015 as a scientist, becoming the director of the monoclonal antibody discovery team.

Asst Prof

I have extensive experience with adenoviral gene therapy for genetic disorders and cancer, as well as a broad background in the development of gene therapy vectors, with specific training and expertise in key research areas relevant to cancer immunotherapy. Since local treatment of oncolytic adeno-immunotherapy remains insufficient to create complete responses to metastatic tumors, my group has been working on combination of oncolytic adenovirus with CAR T-cells, that home to both primary and metastatic tumors, overcoming the limited systemic anti-tumor effects of locally administered adenovirus-based cancer immunotherapies.

Dir Antibody Engineering

Laura von Schantz, Director of Antibody Engineering at Alligator Bioscience, works with projects in discovery and all the way to the clinic, ensuring the manufacturability of novel immuno-oncology drug candidates. Laura believes that companies in the competitive field of immuno-oncology must invest in establishing advantageous strategies to select drug candidates with a clear developability edge. Laura has established a platform at Alligator that ensures candidates are screened early for developability and only compounds with good properties in respect to manufacturability and stability are developed further. Laura is trained in protein chemistry, antibody engineering, and crystallography as well as project management and corporate strategy. Laura holds a PhD in immunotechnology from the University of Lund.

Founder & CEO & CSO

Dr. Wang is CEO/CSO for Replicate Bioscience, Inc. Dr. Wang received his Ph.D. from the Scripps Research Institute and is an immunologist with over 15+ years of experience in the immuno-oncology and infectious disease fields. He has led compound development teams in both pharmaceutical and biotech settings, including medicines based on large nucleic acid molecules. Dr. Wang has created, patented, and published on multiple technology platforms, including self-replicating RNAs. A pioneer in the field, assets developed by Dr. Wang are currently in development at major pharmaceutical companies.

Judy Ann Hartmann Endowed Chair

Dr. Weinberg moved to Oregon in 1990 to work at the US Veterans (VA) Hospital in Portland, OR on an autoimmune model for multiple sclerosis. During the course of his autoimmune work, he discovered that the TNF-receptor, OX40, was expressed on antigen-specific T cells at the site of autoimmune inflammation, and was, in part, responsible for their pathogenic properties. In 1995, Dr. Weinberg joined the Providence Cancer Institute to work as an independent scientist and changed his focus on tumor immunology. Together with his clinical colleagues at Providence, Dr. Weinberg launched a first-in-human Phase I clinical trial of an OX40 monoclonal antibody. Pharmaceutical companies quickly added anti-OX40 agents to their development pipelines in response to Dr. Weinberg’s research efforts. In 2017, he received the Judith Ann Hartmann Endowed Chair in recognition of his pioneering efforts in translational cancer immunotherapy. He leads the Basic Immunology Laboratory, which has extensive experience with T cell stimulators, vaccines, and adoptive immunotherapy.

Chief Technical Officer

No bio available.

UPMC and University of Pittsburgh


Dr. Whiteside received both her MA and PhD degrees in Microbiology from Columbia University, New York, NY. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Medical Laboratory Immunology (1979). She was as a Fogarty Senior International Fellow at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Lausanne, Switzerland (1984-85). At the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Whiteside rose through the faculty ranks to become Professor of Pathology with secondary appointments as Professor of Immunology and Otolaryngology (1989-present). She served as Director of the Immunologic Monitoring and Cellular Products Laboratory (IMCPL) at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center for 25 years and is now its Interim Director. Dr Whiteside’s research has been focused on mechanisms of tumor-induced immunosuppression, cytokine networks, development of anticancer vaccines, immunobiology of human tumors and the role of natural immunity in the control of cancer progression. She studies mechanisms of tumor escape from the host immune system and the development of therapies designed to eliminate tumor escape. Most recently, she has been investigating tumor-derived exosomes (TEX) and their role in cancer-induced immune suppression. She has authored 615 peer-reviewed papers and 175 chapters and review articles. She received a Honoris causa degree in Medicine from The Poznan Medical University in Poland in 2011 and was awarded a Richard V. Smalley Memorial Award by the Society of Immunotherapy of Cancer in 2012.

US Representative for Daicel Corporation Actranza lab.

Dr. Wanessa Wight, PhD, received her degree from Michigan State University in Cell and Molecular Biology. Since that time she has worked in several commercial roles in the Next Generation Sequencing Industry. She currently serves as the US Representative for Daicel Corporation Actranza lab. device in addition to her role as Product Manager for Daicel Arbor Biosciences serving NGS and Synthetic Biology applications. 



Head, Search & Evaluation, Immuno-Oncology

Michael Woo is Director, Search & Evaluation, Business Development & Licensing, at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. He is responsible for S&E for Immuno-Oncology, CART / cellular therapies, and Oncology Biologics. Michael has broad experiences in business development and drug development. Prior to re-joining Novartis, Michael was leading S&E in IO and also a member of the IO Leadership Team responsible for the IO strategy at EMD Serono. Before EMD Serono, Michael had increasing responsibilities in Business Development & Licensing in Novartis Oncology, leading Due Diligence and participating in S&E for oncology and IO opportunities. Prior to his initial engagement at Novartis, Michael was leading Due Diligence in a number of therapeutic areas including Oncology, Immunology, Infectious Diseases, and Neurosciences at Roche. Michael has also served on global program teams responsible for the development of small molecules and biologics in Oncology from Phase 1 through Regulatory filing at Bristol-Myers Squibb and at Roche. Michael received a BScPhm from the University of Toronto, an MSCI from Vanderbilt University, an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business, and a Doctor of Pharmacy from Wayne State University. Michael completed his residency at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and post-doctoral fellowships at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.


Dr. Wu’s research focuses on understanding how cancer cells disable the immune system with the ultimate goal of developing effective immunotherapy of cancer. Her work was the first to show that tumors shed NKG2D ligand sMIC to perturb the maintenance of tumor-killing NK cells and to facilitate tumor metastasis. Her research team has developed the first-in-class sMIC-targeting antibody that demonstrated remarkable efficacy in reducing tumor burden and eliminating metastasis as a single agent. Dr. Wu’s group also demonstrated the synergistic effect of co-targeting sMIC with immune checkpoint blockades. Her recent work focuses on how the NKG2D pathway modulates tumor microenvironment.

Global Head of Preclinical Pharmacology

Dr. Yu brings more than 15 years of research and technical leadership experience in drug discovery and development for immune/autoimmune diseases, oncology, neurological diseases, ocular diseases and metabolic diseases across various therapeutic modalities. Dr. Yu served as a pharmacology technical leader at Gemini Pharmaceuticals, Achillion Pharmaceuticals, and Alexion Pharmaceuticals.

Preliminary Agenda

Conference Programs