Scientific Advisory Board

Kim Arndt, PhD

Pfizer Inc.

James Barsoum, PhD

Biotech Industry R&D Leader

Rachel Green, PhD

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Amanda E. Hargrove, PhD

Duke University

Daniel Herschlag, PhD

Stanford University

Rachel Meyers, PhD

Scientific Biotech Entrepreneur

Adrian Whitty, PhD

Boston University

James R. Williamson, PhD

Scripps Research

Peter Worland, PhD

Bristol-Myers Squibb

Kim Arndt, PhD, Pfizer Inc.

Kim Arndt, PhD, is Vice President at Pfizer where he leads the Oncology Target Discovery group whose mission is to identify and validate novel targets for cancer. He got his PhD in 1981 from the University of Pennsylvania, where he used NMR to study protein/DNA interactions. He subsequently was a postdoctoral researcher in Gerry Fink’s laboratory at Whitehead Institute/MIT working on growth control using yeast as a model organism. After completing his postdoc, Dr. Arndt was a Senior Staff Investigator for 9 years at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where his group studied cell cycle control and identified novel regulators of cell cycle entry.  In 1996, Dr. Arndt moved to Wyeth Research, which was subsequently acquired by Pfizer. While employed by Wyeth, Dr. Arndt’s group discovered bosutinib, which is currently approved for CML.

Currently, Dr. Arndt’s group identifies and preclinically validates novel targets for oncology and immuno-oncology development for both small molecules and biologics.

James Barsoum, PhD, Biotech Industry R&D Leader

Jim is a PhD scientist and biopharmaceutical executive with thirty years of industry experience in drug discovery and development and nine years of academic research experience. Prior to retirement in 2021, Jim was the Senior Vice President of Research for Arrakis Therapeutics. Previously, he was the Chief Scientific Officer at RaNA Therapeutics, a biotechnology company using oligonucleotides to target noncoding RNA for the selective upregulation of gene expression to increase the levels of therapeutic proteins. Prior to that, he was Senior Vice President and Head of Research at Synta Pharmaceuticals, a company focused on small molecule drug discovery and development in oncology and inflammatory diseases. For many years, Jim held various leadership roles at Biogen, primarily focused on technology development and biological therapeutics (protein and gene therapies). Jim received a PhD in Biology from MIT and held postdoctoral fellowship positions at Stanford University and the Whitehead Institute at MIT.

Rachel Green, PhD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

An eminent microbiologist and geneticist, Dr. Rachel Green is a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor and Director of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where she has served on the faculty since 1998. Dr. Green’s work has been supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 2000.

Her laboratory focuses on examining the molecular mechanisms of translation and their implications for gene regulation in bacteria, yeast, and higher eukaryotic systems. Recent work has focused on mechanistic aspects of ribosome-mediated quality control and the intersection between ribosome function and cellular fate signaling pathways. These studies have direct relevance to cellular homeostasis in health and disease.

Dr. Green earned her PhD in biological chemistry at Harvard University before completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She also holds a B.S. with honors in chemistry from the University of Michigan. Dr. Green has published scores of journal articles and garnered numerous awards and honors, including being elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2012. She serves on the scientific advisory board and consults for numerous other biotech industries.

Amanda E. Hargrove, PhD, Duke University

Amanda E. Hargrove is Associate Professor of Chemistry at Duke University.

Dr. Hargrove joined the Duke faculty in 2013. Congruent with the interdisciplinary nature of her program, Dr. Hargrove holds a secondary appointment in the Biochemistry Department and membership in the Duke Cancer Institute, the Pharmaceutical Sciences Training Program, and the Center for Biological and Tissue Engineering. Dr. Hargrove earned her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin followed by an NIH postdoctoral fellowship at the California Institute of Technology. Dr. Hargrove currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Medicinal Research Reviews.

The Hargrove laboratory has focused on developing small molecule probes to investigate the structure and function of RNA molecules relevant to human disease. The lab works to understand the fundamental drivers of selective small molecule-to-RNA recognition and to use this knowledge to functionally modulate viral and oncogenic RNA structures.

Daniel Herschlag, PhD, Stanford University

Daniel Herschlag, PhD, is a biochemist known for deep and creative investigation of molecular and atomic behavior of RNA and proteins. He has served as Professor of Biochemistry at Stanford University since 1992. His research uses an interdisciplinary approach to advance our understanding of the fundamental behavior of RNA and proteins. He is well known for his application of rigorous kinetic and mechanistic approaches to RNA and protein systems.

Dr. Herschlag has defined how molecular properties define and delineate biological function and evolution. More specifically, he has identified new concepts in macromolecular folding, in RNA and protein catalysis, and in molecular evolution. He has also uncovered new principles of cellular RNA processing and organization, including the RNA chaperone hypothesis and the concept of ‘catalytic promiscuity’.

Dr. Herschlag has received numerous awards recognizing his contributions to the field of RNA, including the Biophysical Society Founders award (2020) and election to the National Academy of Sciences (2018), the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) William Rose award (2010), and the Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society (2000). Prior to joining the Stanford University faculty, Dr. Herschlag earned his PhD in biochemistry at Brandeis University and he conducted postdoctoral work at the University of Colorado. He received a BS in biochemistry from SUNY Binghamton.

Rachel Meyers, PhD, Scientific Biotech Entrepreneur

Rachel Meyers, PhD, is a scientific biotech entrepreneur with more than 20 years of drug discovery and development expertise. She is an expert in the innovative field of RNAi therapeutics, where she worked in drug R&D roles as this new field of RNA medicines emerged from 2003 to 2016.

Most recently, she served as the Chief Scientific Officer of Faze Medicines, a biotech startup seeking to develop small molecules to target biomolecular condensates. She was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Third Rock Ventures, where she evaluated multiple nascent startup concepts, and was the major driver in the creation of Faze Medicines. Previously, Dr. Meyers worked for more than 13 years at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals where she served as Senior Vice President of Research and RNAi Lead Development. Earlier in her career, she was a senior scientist at Millennium Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Meyers serves on several scientific advisory boards, consults on nucleic-acid drug development and entrepreneurship, is listed as an inventor on many patents and patent applications, and has numerous peer-reviewed publications. She received her PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and completed her postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School.

Adrian Whitty, PhD, Boston University

Adrian Whitty is Associate Professor of Chemistry and of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Boston University. Dr. Whitty earned his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Chicago and B.Sc. in Chemistry from King’s College, University of London. Prior to joining the Boston University faculty in 2008, Dr. Whitty worked for 14 years at Biogen. He rose from Scientist to the position of Director in the Drug Discovery Department and Head of Physical Biochemistry, leading a department that encompassed quantitative biochemistry, assay development and compound profiling, structural biology, and molecular modeling. During his tenure at Biogen, Dr. Whitty participated in or led multiple drug discovery project teams. He also maintained an active research program in the areas of receptor signaling and protein-ligand binding. In addition, he directed the Biogen Idec Postdoctoral Program, developing a highly regarded reputation as a post-doctoral mentor.

The Whitty Group studies protein-protein and protein-ligand recognition, with an emphasis on how binding energy from these intermolecular interactions can be utilized to achieve biological function or inhibition.

James R. Williamson, PhD, Scripps Research

James Williamson, PhD, is a Professor in the Departments of Integrative Structural & Computational Biology and Chemistry, and is a member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at Scripps Research in La Jolla, CA.

His research involves the study of RNA structure, RNA-protein interactions, and RNA-ligand interactions using biochemistry, biophysics, and structural biology approaches. The Williamson lab is focused on the study of the structure and function of ribonucleoprotein complexes using a wide variety of biophysical approaches.

Dr. Williamson received his PhD in chemistry from Stanford University, and following postdoctoral work at the University of Colorado, he joined the faculty in the Chemistry Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he attained the tenured rank of Associate Professor. He was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010, and as a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2022.

Dr. Williamson joined Scripps in 1998 as Professor, and in 2001 he became the Associate Dean for the Chemistry Program. In 2008, he accepted the role of Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for the Kellogg School of Science and Technology and in 2015 became the Vice President and in 2017 the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs until 2022.  He is currently Professor, engaged in full time research.

Peter Worland, PhD, Bristol-Myers Squibb

Peter is Senior Vice President, Integrative Sciences at Bristol-Myers Squibb. For approximately the last 10 years, Peter has been actively identifying and creating collaborations (academic and corporate) that extend the reach of the company’s internal Research & Development Programs and expanding into new therapeutic areas or new technologies. He has been integral to creating over 30 collaborations with biotechnology companies in that period, both within the US and abroad. He leads a group of senior and experienced scientists focused on continually working to maximize the value of existing partnerships and identify new potential that complements the company’s strategic plan. Prior to this, Peter had responsibility for Experimental Therapeutics at Celgene. Before Celgene, Peter held leadership positions at both large and small companies (Pharmacia, Mitotix, Millennium) and while at Pharmacia oversaw the academic collaboration with the European Institute of Oncology. After completing his PhD in the Clinical Pharmacology Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Australia, Peter worked as a Visiting Scientist at the NCI in Bethesda for several years before entering Industry. He has been a major contributor for a number of molecules, both small molecules and biologics entering clinical development.

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