Scientific Steering Committee

  • David Baker, Ph.D.
    Director, Institute for Protein Design (Rosetta Commons)
    University of Washington
  • Maharaj Kishan Bhan, M.B.B.S., M.D., D.Sc.
    Former Government Secretary, India
    Ministry of Science & Technology
  • Andrea Carfi, Ph.D.
    Head of Research, Infectious Disease
    Moderna
  • Nina Bhardwaj, M.D., Ph.D.
    Director of Immunotherapy
    Tisch Cancer Institute, Icahn School of Medicine
    Mount Sinai
  • Michel De Wilde, Ph.D.
    MDW Consultant LLC
  • Peter Doherty, Ph.D. (emeritus)
    Nobel Laureate, Peter Doherty Institute
    University of Melbourne
  • Barney Graham, M.D., Ph.D.
    Deputy Director
    Vaccine Research Center
    NIAID, NIH
  • Jeff Hammerbacher, Ph.D.
    Founder and Chief Scientist
    Cloudera
  • Kathrin Jansen, Ph.D.
    Senior Vice President, Head of Vaccine Research & Development
    Pfizer Inc.
  • Jason J. Paragas, Ph.D.
    Director for Innovation
    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • Bali Pulendran, Ph.D.
    Violetta L. Horton Professor
    Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Rino Rappuoli, Ph.D.
    Chief Scientist & Head External R&D
    GSK Vaccines
  • Harlan Robins, Ph.D.
    Co-Founder, Head of Innovation
    Adaptive Biotechnologies
  • Daniel Rotrosen, M.D. (Federal Liaison)
    Director, Division of Allergy, Immunology & Transplantation
    NIAID, NIH
  • Jonathon D. Sedgwick, Ph.D.
    Vice President and Global Head, Cancer Immunology & Immune Modulation
    Boehringer-Ingelheim
  • Joann Suzich, M.D.
    Vice President, Infectious Disease & Vaccine Research
    MedImmune
  • John S. Tsang, Ph.D.
    Co-Director, Center for Human Immunology (CHI)
    NIAID, NIH
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David Baker, Ph.D.
Director, Institute for Protein Design (Rosetta Commons)
University of Washington

David Baker, Ph.D. is a biochemist and computational biologist whose research focuses on the prediction of macromolecular structures and functions. He is the director of Rosetta Commons, a consortium of labs and researchers that develop the Rosetta biomolecular structure prediction and design program, which has been extended to the distributed computing project Rosetta@Home and the online computer game Foldit. He received his Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, and did postdoctoral work in biophysics at University of California, San Francisco. Baker has received numerous awards in recognition of his work including the AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize (American Association for the Advancement of Science), the Sackler International Prize in Biophysics, the Overton Prize from the International Society of Computational Biology, and the Feynman Prize from the Foresight Institute. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Sciences.

Maharaj Kishan Bhan, M.B.B.S., M.D., D.Sc.
Former Government Secretary, India
Ministry of Science & Technology

Maharaj Kishan Bhan, M.B.B.S., M.D., D.Sc., currently is National Science Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, Government of India; president of Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry; an advisor to the World Health Organization; and president of National Capital Region Biotech Cluster, Faridabad. He is a former secretary to the Government of India, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology; and founder chairman of Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), Ministry of Science and Technology (India).

Bhan is a fellow of the Indian National Science Academy, fellow of the Academy of Sciences, fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and fellow of the Third World Academy of Science.

Bhan has authored about 200 research publications, which have appeared in international, peer-reviewed journals. His research focuses on enteric infections, nutrition-infection crosstalk, and affordable technologies for prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal and nutritional problems in children. Bhan research contributions include development of a rotavirus vaccine now in use in India, development of low osmolality oral rehydration salts, and made advancements in the treatment of persistent childhood diarrhea, such as the administration of zinc, and integrated management of neonatal and childhood illness.

As Secretary of the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, for about a decade, Bhan established many new institutes, collaborations and innovation support agencies in order to transform the biotechnology sector in the country. In recognition of his services to India, he was conferred the Padma Bhushan Award by the Indian government in 2013.

Andrea Carfi, Ph.D.
Head of Research, Infectious Disease
Moderna

Andrea Carfi, Ph.D., is the head of research for infectious disease at Moderna, leading all research efforts for infectious disease targets. The infectious disease division focuses on discovery and development of vaccines as well as therapeutic and prophylactic approaches against infectious disease targets using Moderna proprietary mRNA technology.

Carfi has more than 15 years of experience in drug discovery and vaccine development at Moderna, GSK, Novartis Vaccines and IRBM/Merck. Over the years he has held roles of increasing responsibility with a focus on structural biology, antigen design, small molecule antivirals discovery and vaccines development. Carfi joined Moderna in 2017 as head of antigen design and selection and project leader for the CMV vaccine program now in a phase one clinical trial.

Prior to Moderna Carfi worked at GSK and Novartis Vaccines for seven years. During this time he led the U.S. based Protein Biochemistry team which was responsible for the design, selection, characterization and early development of novel vaccine targets against viral infectious disease. Some of these vaccine candidates are now in early and late stage clinical trials. Carfi also led the Novartis Vaccines Antigen Design platform across the research sites of Cambridge, Mass., (U.S.) and Siena, Italy.

Carfi holds a master of science in physics from University of Canterbury (U.K.), master of science in chemistry from Pavia University (Italy), and a Ph.D. in biophysics from Université Joseph Fourier (France). He also trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratories of Stephen Harrison and Don Wiley at Boston Children’s Hospital (Mass., U.S.).

Nina Bhardwaj, M.D., Ph.D.
Director of Immunotherapy
Tisch Cancer Institute, Icahn School of Medicine
Mount Sinai

Nina Bhardwaj, M.D., Ph.D., is an immunologist who has made seminal contributions to human dendritic cell biology, specifically with respect to their isolation, biology, antigen presenting function, and use as vaccine adjuvants in humans. She is the director of immunotherapy at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and holds the Ward Coleman Chair in Cancer Research. Bhardwaj brings expertise in human immunology and a variety of immune therapies, having developed toll-like receptor agonist based and dendritic cell based vaccines for the treatment of both cancer and infection in several investigator initiated studies.

Bhardwaj is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians, a recipient of the Doris Duke Distinguished Scientist Award, and was named one of Scientific American Magazine’s top 50 researchers, receiving the award for Medical Research in 2004. She received the Fred W. Alt Award for new discoveries in Immunology in 2015 from The Cancer Research Institute. Bhardwaj also is a senior editor of the American Association for Cancer Research’s Cancer Immunology Research journal, senior editor for Frontiers in Immunology and consulting editor for the Journal of Clinical Investigation. She has served on the National Institutes of Health’s Study Sections and multiple advisory councils. Bhardwaj was a previous chair of the Cancer Immunology Steering Committee of the American Association for Cancer Research. She has authored more than 180 publications.

Michel De Wilde, Ph.D.
MDW Consultant LLC

Michel De Wilde holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Free University of Brussels and has a long and successful career in vaccine research and development. He currently consults for the vaccine community. He is member of the Boards of VBI Vaccines, Inc., and of the Infectious Disease Research Institute.

From 2001-2013, De Wilde was senior vice president of research & development, at Sanofi Pasteur where he drove the development and licensure of a number of products. Also, Sanofi’s Dengue vaccine was developed under his supervision. De Wilde was also instrumental in driving the acquisition and integration of two biotech companies: Acambis and VaxDesign.

From 1978 till 2000, De Wilde was at SmithKline Beecham Biologicals (now GSK Vaccines), where he played a key role in the development of several new vaccines, most notably the recombinant Hepatitis B vaccine, as well as GSK’s Malaria vaccine candidate.

Peter Doherty, Ph.D. (emeritus)
Nobel Laureate, Peter Doherty Institute
University of Melbourne

Peter Doherty, Ph.D., shared the 1996 Nobel Medicine Prize with Swiss colleague Rolf Zinkernagel, for their discoveries about transplantation and “killer” T-cell mediated immunity, an understanding that is currently translating into new cancer treatments. Doherty was the first veterinarian to win a Nobel Prize; he also was Australian of the Year in 1997. Still active in research on many fronts from immunity to influenza, he works at both St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and the Peter Doherty Institute at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Apart from his scientific publications that can be found on PubMed, he is the author of several popular science books, including “A Light History of Hot Air,” “The Beginners Guide to Winning the Nobel Prize,” “Sentinel Chickens: What Birds Tell us About our Health,” and “Our World and Pandemics: What Everyone Needs to Know.”

Passionate about promoting an evidence-based view of reality, his most recent book “The Knowledge Wars” is a ‘warts and all’ view of science for non-scientists, especially those who do not like science. The book suggests ways any thoughtful citizen can bypass the oversimplifying propagandists and probe scientific evidence for and against some of the big issues such as climate change and genetically modified foods.

Barney Graham, M.D., Ph.D.
Deputy Director
Vaccine Research Center
NIAID, NIH

Barney Graham, M.D., Ph.D., is an immunologist, virologist and clinical trials physician whose primary interests are viral pathogenesis, immunity and vaccine development. His work is focused on respiratory syncytial virus (major cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in young children), influenza, coronaviruses, HIV and other emerging viral diseases.

After graduating from Rice University, he obtained his M.D. from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 1979. He then completed residency and two chief residencies in internal medicine, a fellowship in infectious diseases, and a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn. At Vanderbilt, he rose to the rank of professor of medicine with a joint appointment in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology.

In 2000, Graham became one of the founding investigators for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ (NIAID) Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he is now the deputy director and chief of the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory. He oversees the advanced development of VRC candidate vaccine products.

Graham serves as a consultant for organizations involved in vaccine development for HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, respiratory syncytial virus and emerging viral pathogens. His laboratory investigates basic mechanisms by which T-cells affect viral clearance and immunopathology, explores mechanisms of antibody-mediated viral neutralization, and develops vaccine approaches for respiratory virus infections and emerging viral diseases.

Jeff Hammerbacher, Ph.D.
Founder and Chief Scientist
Cloudera

Jeff Hammerbacher, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), and a founder and Chief Scientist of Cloudera. The Hammer Lab at MUSC uses non-animal model systems, genome perturbation, and probabilistic modeling to study T-cell development, diversity and dysfunction. The team is especially interested in deciphering how T-cells behave in the tumor microenvironment.

With his wife Halle Tecco, Hammerbacher is an angel investor of Techammer, and a board member of CIOX Health and Sage Bionetworks. Previously, Hammerbacher was an assistant professor at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York. Prior to founding Cloudera, Hammerbacker was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Accel Partners. Before Accel, he conceived, built, and led the Data team at Facebook after working as a quantitative analyst on Wall Street. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Harvard University.

Kathrin Jansen, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President, Head of Vaccine Research & Development
Pfizer Inc.

Kathrin Jansen, Ph.D., is a senior vice president, head of Vaccine Research and Development at Pfizer Inc., and a member of Pfizer’s worldwide research and development leadership team. Jansen oversees a fully integrated global vaccines research and development organization, with responsibilities ranging from discovery to registration and post-marketing commitments of first-in-class or best-in-class vaccines to prevent or treat diseases of significant unmet medical need.

Jansen’s recent accomplishments include the global licensures of Prev(e)nar13® to prevent pneumococcal diseases and the development and licensure of Trumenba®, the first vaccine licensed in the United States to prevent invasive disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B.

Before the Wyeth Pharmaceuticals acquisition by Pfizer in 2009, Jansen served as senior vice president at Wyeth and on the company’s R&D executive committee, responsible for vaccine discovery, early development, and clinical testing operations.

Jansen also briefly worked at Vaxgen as Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President for Research and Development with responsibility for the company’s late-stage development programs.

Prior to joining Vaxgen, Jansen spent 12 years at Merck Research Laboratories, where she directed or supported a number of vaccine efforts, including Merck’s novel bacterial vaccine programs and viral vaccine programs (rotavirus; herpes zoster/shingles; and mumps, measles and rubella). While at Merck, Jansen initiated and led the development of Gardasil®, the world’s first cervical cancer vaccine.

Jansen received her doctoral degree in microbiology, biochemistry and genetics from Phillips Universitaet, Germany, in 1984. Following completion of her formal training, she continued her postdoctoral training at Cornell University, working on the structure and function of the acetylcholine receptor. She then joined the Glaxo Institute for Molecular Biology in Switzerland, where she focused on basic studies of a potential drug target receptor to treat allergies. Jansen became an adjunct professor at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania in 2010.

Jason J. Paragas, Ph.D.
Director for Innovation
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Jason Paragas, Ph.D., is the director for innovation at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Paragas formerly served as the special assistant to the director in Joint Science and Technology Office-CBD at DTRA, leading the development of a delivery focused investment strategy. Paragas previously was the associate director for science at the Integrated Research Facility, NIAID, leading the innovation and operationalization of a scientific program for a state of the art translational medicine initiative to investigate high consequence pathogens.

Paragas serves as the focal point for the Biological Application for Advanced Strategic Computing initiative that will enable predictive biology for national and global security through multi-scale simulation of complex biology. He leads a multi-disciplinary team of experts from global security, computation, engineering, and physical and life sciences to develop a vision and implement a strategic plan for the initiative in collaboration with major academic medical centers, technology companies, and the pharmaceutical industry. He has served on multiple government advisory-panels for national security and is the author of peer-reviewed technical manuscripts.

Paragas received his Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, and his B.A. in biology from the University of Chicago, Illinois.

Bali Pulendran, Ph.D.
Violetta L. Horton Professor
Stanford University School of Medicine

Bali Pulendran, Ph.D., is a professor in the Departments of Pathology, and Microbiology and Immunology; the Violetta L. Horton Professor for the School of Medicine; a Chemistry, Engineering & Medicine for Human Health (ChEM-H) fellow; and a member of the Institute for Immunology, Transplantation and Infection (ITI) at Stanford University, Calif. He is also an adjunct professor, research collaborator, and lead author at the Yerkes National Primate Center and director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) U19 Center for Systems Vaccinology at Emory University.

Pulendran is a world leader on understanding the mechanisms by which the innate immune system regulates adaptive immunity, and harnessing such mechanisms in the design of novel vaccines. More recently, his laboratory pioneered the use of systems biology approaches to predicting the efficacy of vaccines, and deciphering new correlates of protection against infectious diseases.

Pulendran’s research is published in front line journals such as Nature, Science, Cell, Nature Medicine, and Nature Immunology. Furthermore, Pulendran is the recipient of numerous grants from the National Institutes of Health and from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, serves on many editorial boards, and is the recipient of two concurrent MERIT awards from NIH, as well as the 2011 Albert E. Levy Award and the 2011 Paper of the Year award by the International Society for Vaccines.

Pulendran received his undergraduate degree from Cambridge University (U.K.), and his Ph.D. from the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, Australia, under the supervision of Sir Gustav Nossal. He then completed his postdoctoral work at Immunex Corporation in Seattle.

Rino Rappuoli, Ph.D.
Chief Scientist & Head External R&D
GSK Vaccines

Rino Rappuoli, Ph.D., is chief scientist and head of external R&D at GSK Vaccines, based in Siena, Italy. He earned his Ph.D. in biological sciences at the University of Siena, Italy, and has served as visiting scientist at Rockefeller University in New York and Harvard Medical School in Boston. Prior to his present position, he was head of R&D at Sclavo, head of vaccine research and chief scientific officer at Chiron Corp., and global head of R&D at Novartis Vaccines.

His team developed CRM197 used in Haemophilus influenzae, Neisseria meningitidis and Streptococcus pneumoniae vaccines; an acellular vaccine against pertussis containing a genetically detoxified pertussis toxin; the first conjugate vaccines against meningococcus; the MF59 adjuvant for influenza; and the genome-derived vaccine against meningococcal serogroup B (MenB).

Rappuoli is an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the European Molecular Biology Organization. His awards include: Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize (1991), the Gold Medal by the Italian president (2005) and the Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal (2009). In 2013, he was nominated third most influential person worldwide in the field of vaccines (Terrapin). In 2015, he was awarded Fellowship of Imperial College Faculty of Medicine London and the Maurice Hilleman Award.

Rappuoli has introduced several novel scientific concepts such as genetic detoxification (1987), cellular microbiology (1996), reverse vaccinology (2000), and pan genome (2005). He has served on the Committee on Identifying and Prioritizing New Preventive Vaccines for Development of the Institute of Medicine.

Harlan Robins, Ph.D.
Co-Founder, Head of Innovation
Adaptive Biotechnologies

Harlan Robins, Ph.D., is a co-founder and head of innovation at Adaptive Biotechnologies headquartered in Seattle. He is also the Computational Biology Program Head at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC). Robins has a bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in theoretical string theory physics from the University of California Berkeley. He completed postdoctoral work at Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton in New Jersey. At Princeton, Robins worked with biologist Arnold Levine developing bioinformatic algorithms for microRNA targets and bacterial genome analysis.

Robins focuses on the quantitative analysis of the adaptive immune system. His approach takes advantage of new high-throughput sequencing technology he developed with his collaborators. His group is isolating and sequencing millions of adaptive immune receptor rearrangements to profile the adaptive immune system. With this new technology, he is working toward a comprehensive description of the T-cell repertoire and studying the dynamics of immune response. He is applying this technology in multiple clinical settings including hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT) and cancer immunotherapy.

Daniel Rotrosen, M.D. (Federal Liaison)
Director, Division of Allergy, Immunology & Transplantation
NIAID, NIH

Daniel Rotrosen, M.D., is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation (DAIT), one of the three extramural program divisions of the institute (NIAID). Under his leadership, DAIT has promoted basic and clinical research to understand the human immune system and test novel approaches to treat and prevent immune-mediated diseases.

For more than a decade, DAIT has established and provided direction for various grant and contract research programs that align well with the goals of the Human Vaccines Project. These include NIAID programs focused on epitope discovery and characterization, adjuvant discovery and early-stage development, and deconvolution of the innate and adaptive immune response to infectious agents and vaccines.

Jonathon D. Sedgwick, Ph.D.
Vice President and Global Head, Cancer Immunology & Immune Modulation
Boehringer-Ingelheim

Jonathon Sedgwick, Ph.D., is an Immunologist, educated at the University of Western, Australia, with postdoctoral education at the University of Oxford, U.K., with Don Mason, Neil Barclay, and Alan Williams. His subsequent career included 10 years in academic research at the University of Wurzburg, Germany, and the Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine, Sydney, Australia; six years as Group Director for Immunology at the DNAX Research Institute, Schering Plough/Merck’s biotech arm in Palo Alto, California; and 11 years with Eli Lilly and Company. At Eli Lilly, he held a number of roles including chief scientific officer, Cancer Inflammation Research; managing director and chief scientific officer of Lilly’s Singapore Research Center; chief scientific officer, Autoimmunity Discovery Research; and distinguished research fellow, Biotechnology and Autoimmunity.

In November 2015 Sedgwick joined the German biopharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim. Sedgwick was appointed to the new role of vice president and global head of Cancer Immunology and Immune Modulation in December 2016. In this role, he is responsible for the development of the immuno-oncology discovery and early clinical portfolio, and for immune-modulation research globally contributing immunology target concepts and discovery portfolio programs across all therapy areas.

Amongst his key contributions to the immunology field was the discovery with colleagues at DNAX of the dominant biological role of the interleukin-23 (IL-23) cytokine in autoimmune inflammation, subsequently identifying the IL-17-producing T-cell subset, Th17. This work was fundamental in reorienting the autoimmune therapy field towards a focus on therapeutics in the IL-23/Th17/IL-17 axis, with drugs directed to these pathway components now launched (IL-17A inhibitors including the mAb ixekizumab from Eli Lilly) and others including IL-23p19 inhibitors launched or in phase 2 and 3 clinical testing across multiple companies and indications (e.g., J&J’s guselkumab, Boehringer Ingelheim/Abbvie’s risankizumab). Sedgwick has authored or co-authored 120 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters.

Joann Suzich, M.D.
Vice President, Infectious Disease & Vaccine Research
MedImmune

Joann Suzich, M.D., currently serves as vice president of infectious disease and vaccines Research at MedImmune, responsible for overseeing research on antibodies and antibody-like molecules for the prophylaxis and treatment of infectious disease, as well as vaccines for infectious diseases and cancer.

Areas of interest include respiratory viruses (RSV, influenza), serious bacterial infections (S. aureus, P. aeruginosa, K. pneumoniae) and novel vaccines (RSV, influenza; therapeutic vaccines; and oncolytic viruses for destroying cancer tumors).

Previously, Suzich’s team was the first to demonstrate the efficacy of a systemically administered papillomavirus VLP-based vaccine for the prevention of mucosal papillomas in an animal model. They also developed technology for the scalable purification of human papillovirus (HPV), VLPs used to generate the HPV vaccine.

John S. Tsang, Ph.D.
Co-Director, Center for Human Immunology (CHI)
NIAID, NIH

John Tsang, Ph.D., leads a laboratory focusing on systems and quantitative immunology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH). He also co-directs the Trans-NIH Center for Human Immunology (CHI) and leads its research program in systems human immunology. Tsang trained in computer engineering and computer science at the University of Waterloo, Canada, and received his Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard University.

Before joining the NIH, Tsang worked as a software engineer in Silicon Valley; pursued genomics and proteomics at Rosetta Inpharmatics (Kirkland, Wash.) and Caprion Proteomics (Québec, Canada); and conducted systems biology and bioinformatics research on microRNAs and integrative genomics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Merck Research Laboratories (North Wales, Pa.).

Tsang received several awards for his research, including NIAID Merit Awards for the development of a data reuse and crowdsourcing platform OMiCC and for leading a systems biology study of human immune variability and influenza vaccination, which was selected as one of the top 20 NIAID Research Advances of 2014.

Tsang is a voting member of the Steering Committee of the Human Immunology Project Consortium and the Systems Biology Program in the Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (DMID) of NIAID. He has served as a scientific advisor on systems immunology and bioinformatics for a number of programs and organizations including ImmPort (the clinical and molecular data repository for NIAID), the Committee on Precision Medicine for the World Allergy Organization, the NIAID Modeling Immunity for Biodefense (MIB) program, the Allen Institute, and the Immuno-Epidemiology Program at the National Cancer Institute.

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