Monday, May 2 | 4:10 – 4:55pm

Jennifer R. CochranChallenges and Opportunities in Developing Non-Antibody Protein Therapeutics
Jennifer R. Cochran, PhD, Shriram Chair & Professor, Bioengineering & Chemical Engineering, Stanford University
Protein therapeutics are dominating the pharmaceutical market, a steadily increasing trend that started with human insulin in 1982. Monoclonal antibodies used to treat cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases now account for a large share of these efforts, yet the notion that an antibody could be manufactured at scale and delivered to a patient as an effective therapeutic regimen was initially met with much skepticism. My presentation will discuss challenges and opportunities for developing non-antibody engineered protein therapeutics as next-generation medicines.

Wednesday, May 4 | 11:30am – 12:15pm

Roger M. PerlmutterFuture Directions in Drug Discovery & Development
Roger M. Perlmutter, MD, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of Eikon Therapeutics
The intrinsic complexity of human physiology has generally defeated attempts to model normal cellular functions, meaning that until recently we have had few tools to disentangle the molecular pathology associated with common illnesses. Now, dramatic improvements in instrumentation, automation, and computing provide ways to measure dynamic responses in living cells, and to use these measurements to identify both new disease targets, and new chemical starting points for future medicines. These fundamental advances, coupled with improvements in clinical trial design and execution, together offer hope that the new therapeutics landscape will include compounds with superior therapeutic indices, developed at lower cost. I will illustrate how these opportunities might materialize, drawing examples from current research that integrates image analysis, computation, engineering, molecular biology, and medicinal chemistry.

Monday, May 2 | 4:55 - 5:40pm

Rewiring Cancer Signaling and Anti-cancer Immune Response with Protein Engineering

Xin Zhou, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California San Francisco
The world of protein engineering is fascinating, full of possibilities to create molecules with new and desirable structures and functions. My presentation will introduce how we work at the interface of disease biology and protein engineering, designing, constructing, and evolving versatile proteins for the development of next-generation molecular technologies, diagnostics, and therapeutics.


Jennifer R. Cochran, PhD, Shriram Chair & Professor, Bioengineering & Chemical Engineering, Stanford University
Jennifer Cochran is the Shriram Chair of the Department of Bioengineering at Stanford University. She is a Professor of Bioengineering and, by courtesy, Chemical Engineering and a member of the Cancer Biology, Biophysics, and Immunology graduate programs. Dr. Cochran serves as the Director of the Stanford/NIH Biotechnology pre-doctoral training program, and co-Director of the Stanford NIST pre-doctoral training program. Her research group uses interdisciplinary approaches in chemistry, engineering, and biophysics to study complex biological systems and to develop new tools for basic science and biomedical applications. Dr. Cochran translational interests span protein-based drug discovery and development for applications in oncology and regenerative medicine, and development of new technologies for high-throughput protein analysis and engineering. Dr. Cochran obtained her Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Biological Engineering.

Roger M. Perlmutter, MD, PhD., Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of Eikon Therapeutics
Dr. Perlmutter is President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of Eikon Therapeutics, Inc., a private biotechnology company that employs advanced imaging technologies to identify novel therapeutic candidates by virtue of their effects on protein dynamics in living cells. A highly accomplished industry as well as academic leader with over 35 years of experience, Dr. Perlmutter was previously Executive Vice President, Merck & Co., and President of Merck Research Laboratories where he supervised the discovery and development of numerous lifesaving medicines including KEYTRUDA™ , Merck's foundational immuno-oncology therapeutic, which continues to transform cancer care throughout the world. Before this, Dr. Perlmutter spent 12 years as Executive Vice President and head of R&D at Amgen, Inc., where he is credited with having revolutionized the development of important biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of osteoporosis and cancer-related bone disease, and for the reduction of hypercholesterolemia-related cardiovascular risk.

Prior to assuming leadership roles in industry, Dr. Perlmutter was a professor in the Departments of Immunology, Biochemistry and Medicine at the University of Washington, Seattle, and also served as Chairman of its Department of Immunology, where he was at the same time an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His research focused on understanding the signaling pathways that control lymphocyte activation. Prior to his role at the University of Washington, he was a lecturer in the Division of Biology at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.

Dr. Perlmutter is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and both a Distinguished Fellow and past president of the American Association of Immunologists.

Xin Zhou, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California San Francisco
Xin Zhou is a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. James Wells at UCSF, and an incoming assistant professor (appointment pending) of Biological Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, and Cancer Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She obtained her PhD in Bioengineering with Dr. Michael Lin from Stanford University. Dr. Zhou’s research focuses on engineering dynamic, functional proteins for modulating biology. In the past, she has built proteins with versatile functions, including light-activated enzymes, phosphotyrosine recognition domains, functional antibody antagonists and agonists, and biosensors to measure SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Her work was recognized by a HHMI predoctoral fellowship, a Damon Runyon postdoctoral fellowship, an NIH Pathway to Independence (K99/R00) Award, and a Damon Runyon-Dale F. Frey Award for Breakthrough Scientists. Dr. Zhou’s research group will employ a protein engineering-centric approach to rewire cancer signaling and program anti-cancer immune response. The ultimate goal is to leverage molecular and cellular engineering to create a new generation of biotechnologies and biomedicines and to advance the understanding and treatment of cancer.