SBDD Scientific Advisory Group
Eugene Shakhnovich, Ph.D.Co-founder, Vitae Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Professor of Chemistry, Harvard University
Dr. Shakhnovich received his M.S. in 1981 in Theoretical Physics from Moscow University. In 1984, he received his Ph.D. in Theoretical Biophysics and Molecular Biology in from the Russian Academy of Sciences. He was a Research Fellow and Senior Research Fellow in the Institute of Protein Research of the then Soviet Academy of Sciences until his arrival to Harvard in 1990, where he held Assistant (1991) and Associate (1995) Professorships. He is now Full Professor of Chemistry, Chemical Biology and Biophysics (since 1997) at Harvard. His research interests include theoretical studies of Protein Folding, Evolution and Design, Rational Drug Design, theory of Complex systems, Bioinformatics and Theoretical Material Science. He is the author of more than 200 publications and a recipient of several awards and fellowships. In 1997, he founded Initio, a company based on SMoG technology. In 2001, Initio merged with Vitae Pharmaceuticals.
Bill Jorgensen is a graduate of Princeton and Harvard, spent 15 years on the faculty at Purdue, and in 1990 moved to Yale, where he is a Sterling Professor and Director of the Division of Physical Sciences and Engineering. Bill’s research has combined quantum, statistical, and molecular mechanics to study chemistry in solution. He has been a leader in computational studies of organic and enzymatic reactions in solution, molecular recognition, and protein-ligand binding. His OPLS force fields and TIPnP water models are widely used. Bill’s research group is also actively engaged in de novo drug design and synthesis, particularly for anti-infective, anti-proliferative, and anti-inflammatory agents. Among honors, Bill has received an ACS Cope Scholar Award, the ACS Award for Computers in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research, the ACS Hildebrand Award, AAAS and ACS Fellowships, the ISQBP Award in Computational Biology, the PSJ Sato International Award, and memberships in the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences. He is a founder of Rib-X Pharmaceuticals and Editor of two ACS journals, Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling and theJournal of Chemical Theory and Computation.
Dr. Milburn received his Ph.D. in Biophysical Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley and was a research fellow at Harvard Medical School for his post-doctoral work. Dr. Milburn has over 20 years of experience in biotech and pharmaceutical companies including over 10 years in senior biotechnology research positions. Dr. Milburn has published over 100 scientific articles on technology, research and development in the life sciences. Before joining Metabolon, Dr. Milburn was Senior Vice President of Research and Corporate Development at Sirtris Pharmaceuticals where he led the preclinical/clinical development of drugs in the areas of metabolic disease and neurodegeneration. Sirtris Pharmaceuticals pioneered the discovery of drug agents targeting the Sirtuin enzyme family involved in aging diseases and the company was acquired by GSK in 2007. Prior to Sirtris, Dr. Milburn was Senior Vice President of Research at Plexxikon and was responsible for the development of Plexxikon’s proprietary high-throughput scaffold-based chemical technology platform. While at Plexxikon, Dr. Milburn developed lead preclinical and clinical programs in the areas of metabolic disease and cancer. At Metabolon, Dr. Milburn is currently Chief Scientific Officer and is responsible for the global metabolomics technology development and research operations for its service business. Dr. Milburn’s group works with over 200 clients at Metabolon and has completed over 600 commercial studies since 2005. Metabolon’s research group has published over 30 peer-reviewed articles with many of Metabolon’s clients.
Brian Shoichet received his Ph.D. for work with Tack Kuntz on molecular docking in 1991 from UCSF. His postdoctoral research was experimental, focusing on protein structure and stability with Brian Matthews at the Institute of Molecular Biology in Eugene, Oregon, as a Damon Runyon Fellow. In 1996 he joined the faculty at Northwestern University in the Dept. of Molecular Pharmacology & Biological Chemistry, and was recruited back to UCSF in 2003, where he is now a Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry. Research in the Shoichet lab seeks to bring chemical reagents to biology, using a combination of computational simulation and experiment. Using a protein-centric approach, new ligands are sought to complement protein structures. This typically involves molecular docking and the development of model experimental systems to experimentally test new algorithms. A new direction adopts a ligand-centric approach that seeks new targets for known drugs and reagents. Whereas this lacks the physical foundation of the structure-based docking, it returns to an older, pharmacological view of biological relationships, bringing to it a quantitative model. A biological focus for both areas is the discovery of reagents to modulate GPCRs. The research is largely funded by the NIH.