Mike Ross, PhD, is an experienced venture capitalist with more than 20 years serving in senior operating executive roles for leading biotechnology companies.
Dr. Ross has been a managing partner at SV Health Investors since 2002 and also serves as an investment advisor for the Dementia Discovery Fund. Prior to SV, he spent over a decade at Genentech, where he was the tenth employee. Dr. Ross served various roles including Vice President of Development and Vice President of Medicinal and Biomolecular Chemistry, while leading multiple projects to commercial success. Dr. Ross started Genentech’s protein engineering and small molecule discovery effort. He was also the Founding Chief Executive Officer of Arris Pharmaceutical, MetaXen, ExSAR, and CyThera (now Viacyte). Additionally, Dr. Ross was managing partner in Didyma, LLC, a biotechnology management consulting firm. He has served on the boards of Carta Proteomics, Epimmune, Genencor, MetaXen, and Xenova.
Dr. Ross earned his Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth, his doctorate in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology, and focused his post-doctoral fellowship in molecular biology at Harvard.
Tim Harris, PhD, DSc, is a scientist and business leader with 40 years of experience guiding and leading programs and researchers in a range of molecular research areas.
Currently, Dr. Harris is a venture partner at SV Health Investors where he identifies and analyzes investment opportunities. He also serves as Executive Vice President of Research and Development for Bioverativ. Dr. Harris has held the roles of Senior Vice President, Precision Medicine, and Senior Vice President, Translational Medicine and Biochemistry at Biogen, where he was responsible for establishing foundational innovative technologies that advanced research and development efforts. Previously, as Chief Technology Officer at SAIC-Frederick (now Leidos) which operates the Frederick National Laboratory, the National Cancer Institute’s leading center for cancer and AIDS research, Dr. Harris led a team of approximately 600 researchers devoted to advanced technologies spanning basic research to applied animal science. He also served as President and Chief Executive Officer of SGX Pharmaceuticals, (acquired by Eli Lilly), among other roles throughout his extensive career in the biotechnology industry.
Dr. Harris is credited with more than 100 publications and has five issued patents. He is currently on the Board of Directors of Opgen (NASDAQ: OPGN) and is a visiting professor at Columbia University.
Dr. Harris received his Bachelor of Science and doctorate degrees from the University of Birmingham in England.
Ivan Dikic, MD, PhD, is a renowned molecular biologist whose research focuses on deciphering molecular mechanisms of cellular signaling pathways, which have a high relevance to human diseases such as cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, and inflammation.
Dr. Dikic was elected an International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He is a world leader in the study of autophagy and an elected member of the German National Academy of Sciences, European Molecular Biology Organization, and Academic Europea. Dr. Dikic has served as chairman, professor, and director of the Institute of Biochemistry II, and founding director of the Frankfurt Cancer Institute at Goethe University Medical School in Frankfurt. He also was appointed a Group Leader at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Sweden.
His recognitions and awards include the Leibniz Award, the Jung Prize for Medicine, and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology William Rose Award, the Hans Krebs Prize.
Dr. Dikic earned his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Zagreb in Croatia. He also received a doctorate in natural sciences from New York University.
Wade Harper, PhD, is a seasoned cellular biologist whose work is focused on the role of the ubiquitin-proteasome system and autophagy in protein homeostasis.
Dr. Harper is the Bert and Natalie Vallee Professor of Molecular Pathology and Chairman of the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School, and co-Director of the Dana Farber-Harvard Cancer Center Cancer Cell Biology Program. His lab has used proteomic approaches to define the interaction networks of various protein families (deubiquitinating enzymes, F-box proteins) and signaling networks (autophagy, ERAD, CRLs, Parkin), as well as to define the ubiquitin-modified proteome. Dr. Harper joined the faculty in the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School in 2003, arriving from Baylor College of Medicine. At Baylor, he was part of the faculty at the Department of Biochemistry at Baylor College of Medicine as well as the Department of Cell Biology. His research has won awards including the American Cancer Society Junior Faculty Award, the Michael Debakey Award for Excellence in Research in both 1994 and 2000, and the Javits award from the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Harper received his doctorate in chemistry at the Georgia Institute of Technology prior to post-doctoral studies in biological chemistry at Harvard Medical School.
John Lowe, III, PhD, has 30 years’ experience as a medicinal chemist in the antibiotics, inflammation, lead discovery, and neuroscience therapeutic areas.
Founding JL3 Pharma over a decade ago, Dr. Lowe consults for the biotech and pharmaceutical industries providing counsel on drug discovery projects in his specialties of medicinal chemistry, drug design, and synthetic organic chemistry. He spent 30 years as a medicinal chemist working in drug discovery and development at Pfizer, Inc. Dr. Lowe co-discovered the first nonpeptide Substance P (NK1) receptor antagonist, CP-96,345 and the novel, atypical antipsychotic drug, ziprasidone (Geodon).
Dr. Lowe received his bachelor’s degree in history and chemistry from Williams College. He received his doctorate degree in synthetic organic chemistry from the University of California and conducted his post-doctorate work at Stanford University.
John McCall, PhD, is a medicinal chemist with extensive experience in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. His expertise includes medicinal biochemistry, steroidal chemistry, risk minimization, and strategic planning.
Dr. McCall is co-founder of ReveraGen BioPharma, where he currently serves as Chairman of the Board and Vice President of Chemistry. He also chairs a National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke development team in the spinal muscular atrophy area and participates as a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study section member. Additionally, Dr. McCall consults, works with venture capital funds, and is a partner with the Upjohn Group. He began his career as a medicinal chemist with Upjohn and subsequently held leadership positions in chemistry and research for Pharmacia, Pharmacia Upjohn, and Pfizer. In the past, he has consulted through his privately owned PharMac firm, advising the NIH, academic, and pharmaceutical partners in the translational drug discovery and development areas. Dr. McCall’s board and scientific advisory board positions include UCB, CeeTox, Synergenics, Psychogenics, Avaant, Deciphera, Lycera, Michigan High Throughput Screening Center, Verseon, CINRG, Reaction Biology, Scripps, AdmetRx, and PharmOptima. He holds 54 U.S. patents and has over 60 peer-reviewed publications.
Dr. McCall received his doctorate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and completed his post-doctorate work at Harvard.
Kalpana Merchant, PhD, is a neurobiologist who has led and contributed to the discovery and development of drugs for neurological and psychiatric disorders for nearly 30 years.
Currently, Dr. Merchant serves as the Founder, President, and CSO of TransThera Consulting Co., which provides strategic and scientific guidance on drug discovery and translational strategies to biotech start-ups. From 2016 to 2020, she served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Chaperone Therapeutics and then the Chief Scientific Officer of Vincere Biosciences, two early-stage companies developing drugs to slow the progression of Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease. Prior to those roles, Dr. Merchant spent over 20 years contributing to and leading drug discovery efforts, first at Pharmacia Corp./Pfizer and then at Eli Lilly & Co. She retired from Lilly in 2014 where she was Chief Scientific Officer, Tailored Therapeutics-Neuroscience, accountable for strategies to enable biomarker-informed personalized therapies, and had previously served as the Chief Scientific Officer of Translational Sciences and Technologies, where she implemented translational approaches to improve the success rate of drug development.
Dr. Merchant has co-authored over 80 peer-reviewed publications, edited a book and is a co-inventor on 13 published patents. She is also an adjunct professor of neurology at Northwestern University, a senior advisor to the Michael J Fox Foundation, and a member of the Oregon Innovation Council.
Dr. Merchant received her PhD in neuropharmacology from the University of Utah, and completed postdoctoral training at University of Washington.
Amy Ripka, PhD, is a medicinal chemist with two decades of success in drug discovery for multiple disease areas including five biotech investigational new drug applications and more than 30 issued patents.
Currently, Dr. Ripka is founder and Chief Executive Officer of Lucy Therapeutics. She has worked as a medicinal chemist to develop drugs for various therapeutic areas including the central nervous system, anti-infectives, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Her efforts have contributed to two approved drugs (Daclastasvir, Asunaprevir) and a compound in Phase II for schizophrenia. Dr. Ripka has held roles with Bristol Myers-Squibb, biotechnology companies including Infinity, HydraBiosciences, EnVivo [now FORUM], and two contract research organizations serving the pharmaceutical community, Sai Life Sciences and WuXiAppTec. This diversity gives her a unique appreciation and perspective on the interplay between these organizations and the drug discovery model.
Dr. Ripka received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and music at Northwestern University. She earned her doctorate degree in organic chemistry and medicinal chemistry at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Dr. Ripka was awarded a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellowship and continued her studies at The Scripps Research Institute under the Nobel Laureate, K. Barry Sharpless.
Bernardo Sabatini, MD, PhD, is a scientific expert on the development and regulation of synapses in the brain and the relationship of these processes to behavior and disease, including Parkinson’s.
Dr. Sabatini serves as the Alice and Rodman W. Moorhead III Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He joined the faculty at Harvard Medical School after completing his postdoctoral fellowship at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Dr. Sabatini’s laboratory focuses on understanding the function and regulation of synapses in the mammalian brain with a particular interest in how the function of synapses is perturbed in human disease such as autism, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s diseases. In order to conduct their studies, Dr. Sabatini and his group create new optical and chemical methods to be able to observe and manipulate the biochemical signaling associated with synapse function.
Dr. Sabatini obtained his doctorate degree from the Department of Neurobiology and medical degree from the Harvard/ Massachusetts Institute of Technology Program in Health Sciences and Technology.
James B. Summers, PhD, has more than three decades of drug discovery and pharmaceutical research management experience spanning multiple therapeutic areas.
Under his leadership, teams have advanced more than 20 compounds into clinical development. He established new research sites in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Shanghai, China; was an architect of several strategies that defined the future direction of global research organizations; and championed multiple successful out-licensing deals, biotech collaborations and venture investments. He currently serves on the board of directors and as an advisor to several biotechnology companies
Dr. Summers has held various senior R&D leadership positions where he led efforts focused on the discovery of new drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, pain, and psychiatric disorders. Most recently, he was Vice President of Neuroscience Research at AbbVie. Dr. Summers also served as Divisional Vice President, Advanced Technology with Abbott where he was responsible for an organization engaged in a broad range of technologies and core services that enabled and accelerated drug discovery research across all of Abbott’s therapeutic areas and sites.
Dr. Summers holds a Bachelor of Science, summa cum laude, in chemistry from Denison University and a doctorate in organic chemistry from Harvard University.