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Speakers

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Lisa Hazelwood
Principal Scientist Liver Disease and Fibrosis Discovery
Abbvie

John Atkinson
Senior Research Scientist Tissue Remodelling
UCB

John Atkinson is a Senior Research Scientist in the Tissue Remodelling department of UCB Pharma. He has 10 years fibrosis experience working in academia at the University of Sheffield (where he received his PhD) and in industry at UCB. His main role is as an in vivo lead pharmacologist for fibrosis programmes, a project leader for early stage fibrosis projects, and a lead contact point for multiple fibrosis collaborations. His interests include imaging, animal models, novel therapeutics and modalities, and novel targets for fibrosis.

Richard Stratton
Consultant Physician and Honorary Senior Lecturer
University College London

Glenn Rosen
Senior Vice President Preclinical Translational Sciences Small Molecule
Coherus Biosciences

Dr. Glenn Rosen has spent the bulk of his career engaged in basic and translational research in cancer and fibrosis. From 1993-2014, Dr. Rosen held a tenured faculty position in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Stanford University. He led a basic and translational research laboratory-his research focused on the study of dysregulated signaling in fibrosis and solid tumors. He also led the clinical Interstitial Lung Disease Program at Stanford. Dr. Rosen joined Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) in September 2014 as a Medical Director in the Early Clinical and Translational Research Group, where he led the Phase 2 program of a lysophosphatidic acid receptor antagonist for the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis. This was followed by appointment as Therapeutic Area Head of Fibrosis and Genetically Defined Diseases. As therapeutic area head, he was charged with leading translational and early clinical development strategy and execution. In 2016 he was selected as Head, Discovery Fibrosis Biology at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he led the early discovery and development, and translation of pre-clinical compounds, with a disease concentration in liver and lung fibrosis. Dr. Rosen joined Coherus Biosciences, Redwood City, CA, in 2019, where he leads the pre-clinical and translational sciences small molecule program.

Tim Johnson
Director Immunology Therapeutic Area
UCB

Ravi Kumar
Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer
Acceleron Pharma

Dr. Kumar joined  Acceleron in March 2004 as its first scientist and is currently Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer.  Previously, Dr. Kumar worked for 12 years at Genetics Institute and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.  At Genetics Institute, Dr. Kumar was a key member of the Small Molecule Drug Discovery group and was responsible for cell biology.  Following the integration of discovery functions from GI and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Kumar served as Senior Scientist in the Biological Chemistry group.  Dr. Kumar is the author of several key scientific manuscripts in the area of protein glycosylation and TGF superfamily and is named as an inventor of several patents. Dr. Kumar received his Ph.D. from University of New Brunswick, Canada and completed his post-doctoral fellowship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY

Pieter Muntendam
Chief Executive Officer and Founder
G3 Pharmaceuticals

Aftab Taiyab
Research Scientist
McMaster University

Masha Poyurovsky
Vice President Discover Biology
Kadmon Corporation LLC

Dr. Poyurovsky leads the Discovery Biology group at Kadmon, bridging early discovery studies and nonclinical development of small molecules and biologics, with emphasis on fibrosis and inflammation. She is the leading scientist on the ROCK inhibitor program and multiple other early stage discovery programs. Along with drug discovery efforts, Dr. Poyurovsky works closely with Kadmon’s Business Development team as a scientific liaison. She has authored numerous patents, papers and reviews, along with several book chapters on cellular metabolism and cancer. Prior to joining Kadmon 8 years ago, Dr. Poyurovsky spent more than ten years studying cellular and molecular mechanisms of cancer in an academic setting. Dr. Poyurovsky received her B.S. in biology from the University of Pittsburgh and her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Columbia University. Dr. Poyurovsky continued her postgraduate work at Columbia, first as a postdoctoral fellow and then independently, as a staff scientist.

Alexey Lugovskoy
Chief Development Officer
Morphic Therapeutics

Alexey A. Lugovskoy, PhD is Chief Development Officer of Morphic Therapeutic Inc. Previously Alex served as a Vice President of Therapeutics of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, where his efforts were instrumental to the discovery of five oncology drug candidates and the development of antibody and antibody-drug conjugate R&D capabilities. Also, he led the development of istiratumab from the design concept into the biomarker selected Phase 2 clinical trials. Before joining Merrimack, Alex served as Associate Director of Drug Discovery in Biogen. There, he co-discovered inhibitors of three integrins and was a member of natalizumab PML risk mitigation team. Alex is an Assistant Editor of mAbs and a member of the advisory council of RBV Capital. He is an author of over one hundred patents and publications. Alex has received an Advanced Certificate for Executives in Management, Innovation and Technology from MIT Sloan School of Management, a PhD in biophysics from Harvard University, and an MSc in molecular biophysics and BSc in math and physics from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.

Sten R. Sörensen
Chief Executive Officer
Cereno Scientific

Born 1959. CEO of Cereno Scientific since September 2015 after initially being a board member 2014-2015. Sörensen has extensive experience from the pharmaceutical, biotech and finance industries, as well as a board member. Sörensen was previously Head of International Marketing Operations, Monsanto (GD Searle) and Global Marketing Director for Secondary Prevention Products, Cardiovascular, AstraZeneca. Sörensen has previously initiated two groundbreaking preventive survival studies in heart failure: MERIT-HF and RALES, and led them to global commercial success.

Shervin Assassi
Professor of Medicine and Co-Director of the UTHealth Scleroderma Program
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Dr. Assassi has completed his Medical School training at Freiburg University in Germany. He subsequently completed his internal medicine and rheumatology post-graduate training at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. He currently co-directs the UTHealth Scleroderma Program.  His research focuses on correlating the genetic, gene expression and proteomic profile of systemic sclerosis with its clinical manifestations in order to better understand  pathogenesis and to develop clinically useful biomarkers.

Anie Philip
Professor Department of Surgery
Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center

Anie Philip is a full professor in the Department of Surgery, at McGill University and a Senior Scientist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center. She is also the Director of Plastic Surgery Research and Experimental Surgery Graduate Program at McGill University. She is currently the President of the Skin Research Group Canada and a past member of the Board of Directors of the American Wound Healing Society, and the Canadian Connective Tissue Society. The three major areas of her research focus are: (i) development of novel anti-fibrotic molecules based on cellular signaling pathway components, to decrease organ fibrosis, (ii) identifying novel regulators of TGF-beta and EGF pathways to block progression of high risk squamous cell carcinoma; and (iii) targeting distinct TGF-beta signaling pathway to enhance cartilage repair in osteoarthritis.

Yaron Ilan
Director Department of Medicine
Hebrew University Hadassah Medical Center

Dr. Yaron Ilan is the Director of the Department of Medicine at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical Center. Dr. Ilan served as the Vice Dean of the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, and was the President of the Israel Liver Association.  Dr. Ilan's main areas of research are bowel and liver immunology; Development of immunomodulatory drugs for fatty liver disease and diabetes; Development of therapies for inflammatory bowel diseases; Development of drugs for primary liver cancer. Dr. Ilan holds over 50 patents for discoveries based on his innovative research and has authored more than 280 articles. He is the inventor of a number of drugs and medical devices being developed by several pharmaceutical companies. Several of his innovations already reached the clinical market. Dr. Ilan is the founder of several startup companies and serves as a medical director and advisor for biotech companies.

Sydney Montesi
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Harvard University

Min Lu
Head of Fibrosis
Morphic Therapeutics

Min received his MD degree in China and his PhD in vascular biology at the University of California, Riverside. He then researched on insulin resistance and obesity in Jerrold Olefsky’s lab at the University of California, San Diego, during his post-doctoral training. In the meantime, Min passed all three steps of the United States Medical Licensing Examination to obtain his ECFMG certificate. Prior to joining Morphic Therapeutic, Min worked at Pfizer, Takeda, and Merck on target ID, target validation, and pharmacology for diabetes complications. Currently at Morphic, Min leads a discovery team and manages research activities on pre-clinical and translational research to target integrin proteins for a variety of fibrosis indications, including liver, kidney, and lung fibrosis.

Tim Pelura
Ph.D., President & CEO
OptiKira

Dr. Pelura is a serial life science entrepreneur with over 40 years of experience in the life science industry and has been pivotal in the development of several new therapies spanning numerous therapeutic areas. Dr. Pelura has enjoyed a long history of growing early/idea stage life science companies through various financing strategies to well-capitalized, successful companies.  He is currently the CEO of OptiKira, pursuing therapeutics targeting ER stress and the UPR (unfolded protein response) in several diseases.  His previous positions include CEO of Surpass, Inc., a preclinical CRO, Chairman, President & CEO of Immunome, an antibody platform company; founding CEO of Promedior, a product-focused biotech company developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of fibrotic disorders and diseases; Chief Scientific Officer for Kereos, a biopharma company focusing on oncology, cardiology, and molecular imaging; President and COO of Provasis Therapeutics, a developer of interventional neurosurgical devices; executive R&D positions at Neuron Therapeutics and Alliance Pharmaceutical Corp; and various positions at Pharmacia, a pharmaceutical and biotech company. Dr. Pelura is also pivotally involved in several non-profit, regional and national life science initiatives, sits on the boards of several biotech organizations, and holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Rutgers University.

Eliezer Zomer Ph.D.
Vice President Drug Discovery and Manufacturing
Galectin Therapeutics

Dr. Zomer has over 40 years of proven leadership in biotechnology research, biochemical engineering, and drug discovery in U.S., and international markets including extensive experience in pharmaceuticals and clinical diagnostics. He is co-author of over 40 U.S. patents in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Currently, Dr. Zomer is Vice President of Drug Discovery and Manufacturing at Galectin Therapeutics where he directs drug discovery, medicinal chemistry, overseeing the company portfolio of patents for cancer and fibrotic diseases. Previously, Dr. Zomer was the Executive Vice President of Drug Development and Manufacturing at Pro-Pharmaceuticals where he managed drug development, regulatory submissions, and clinical trials for colon and biliary cancer. He was Vice President of Research and Development at Charm Sciences, where he directed the development of diagnostic kits for agrochemical and veterinary drug residues. Dr. Zomer holds a doctorate in Biochemistry from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and has held academic and research positions at the National Institute of Health, Hebrew University, and Harvard School of Public Health.

Lee Borthwick
Fibrosis Biology Lecturer and Chief Operating Officer FibroFind
Newcastle University

Jean-Francois Thibodeau
Research Scientist
Prometic Biosciences

Dr. Jean-Francois Thibodeau completed his PhD work in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada within the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Medicine in the department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, mentored by Dr. Christopher Kennedy of the Kidney Research Center. Dr. Thibodeau's work focused on elucidating the contribution of the prostaglandin family of hormones in the pathogenesis of hypertension and diabetes-induced kidney disease. Dr. Thibodeau was recruited in 2015 by Prometic Biosciences Inc. as a postdoctoral research fellow and then promoted as a Research Scientist. Dr. Thibodeau leads a pre-clinical research program validating the efficacy and mechanisms of action of novel anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic compounds.

Gilles Tremblay
Director Preclinical Development
Forbius

Mehran Moghaddam
Chief Executive Officer
OROX Biosciences

Mehran F. Moghaddam, PhD, MBA, obtained his doctorate in medicinal chemistry at Oregon State University-School of Pharmacy and completed his postdoctoral training in lipid metabolism at University of California-Davis.  He completed his executive MBA program at University of Southern California-Marshall School of Business. Dr. Moghaddam’s R&D expertise was developed at DuPont, Pfizer, and Celgene.  He is experienced in discovery and development of small molecules and biologics for cardiovascular, inflammatory, fibrotic, and oncological indications.  Recently, Dr. Moghaddam founded OROX BioSciences, Inc., a biotechnology start-up dedicated to efficient discovery of small molecule drugs primarily for treatment of fibrotic ailments.

Scott Turner
Vice President Translational Sciences
Pliant Therapeutics

Nicolas Guisot
Project Leader and Lead Chemist
Redx Pharma

Dr. Nicolas Guisot is a Research Fellow at Redx Pharma where he acts as Project Leader and Lead Chemist on discovery and development programmes across fibrosis and oncology. Nicolas is an experienced medicinal chemist and project leader with more than 10 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and academia. He has a track record of delivering multiple projects from early exploratory science through to candidate selection with successful delivery of clinical development candidates including BTK inhibitor LOXO-305 that was divested to Loxo Oncology in 2017 (now owned by Eli Lilly) and currently in phase 1/2 clinical trials. Before joining RedX Pharma, Nicolas was a research chemist at Eli Lilly. Previously, he was a postdoctoral research fellow and worked as research scientist in organic, medicinal chemistry and chemical biology in various universities across Ireland and France. He holds a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Salford, Manchester UK.  

Rana Herro
Junior Faculty Instructor
La Jolla Institute for Immunology

I received a B.S. in Biochemistry, a  M.S. in Microbiology from University of Rennes I,  in France, and my PhD in Genetics and Molecular Microbiology from the Pasteur Institute and University of Paris XI in France. I worked initially on autoimmune diabetes at TSRI, before specializing on inflammation and fibrosis  at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology where I serve as a junior faculty. My research projects are focused on the roles of TNF family members linked to fibrotic disorders associated with scleroderma, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, atopic dermatitis, asthma, food allergy and NASH.

Resat Cinar
Staff Scientist
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Robert Edwards
Director and CVM Clinical Project Specialist
Johnson & Johnson

Robert Edwards, MPH, joined Janssen in early 2012 and is currently a Director, Clinical Project Scientist, supporting the Cardiovascular and Metabolism (CVM) therapeutic area. Robert’s tenure with CVM began with responsibilities on several late-stage clinical trials supporting the original submission packages leading to the approval of Invokana® (canagliflozin) and Invokamet® (fixed dose combination of canagliflozin and metformin) prior to being named the Study Responsible Scientist for CREDENCE when the trial was first conceived.  Today, Robert continues to support CREDENCE-related activities including regulatory interactions and publication initiatives.  After obtaining a BS in Biotechnology with a focus in Applied Microbiology from Rutgers University, Robert worked as a bench scientist at two biotechnology start-ups.  Robert next spent nearly 10 years at Merck, Inc., supporting the potency testing platforms for the M-M-R®II and Gardasil® vaccine programs prior to joining the clinical development program supporting Januvia® (sitagliptin) and several other late-stage compounds. Robert obtained his MPH from Drexel University in 2018.

Darcey Black PhD
Co-founder and Director, Translational
TherapeutAix

Simon Cruwys PhD
Co-founder and Director, Pharmacology
TherapeutAix

Dr John O’Neill
Chief Scientific Officer
XYLYX Bio