Mark E. Schurdak, PhD

Director of Operations and Screening

Contact Information:
mes234@pitt.edu

Office: 10045 BST 3
Phone: 412-648-3090
Fax: 412-648-9009

Link to CV:
Schurdak CV

Link to Dept:
Comp Sys Bio

I received a BS degree in Biology from the University of Miami in 1982, and my PhD degree in Pharmacology from Baylor College of Medicine in 1987. My postdoctoral training was at Hoffman-La Roche, Inc., in the department of Oncology and Virology after which I accepted a senior scientist position at PharmaGenics, Inc. (PGI), as the third employee of that start-up biotech company. There I was instrumental in establishing the company and building the department of Molecular and Cell Biology and in developing novel technologies for the discovery of oligonucleotide-based therapeutics. After five years at PGI, I was recruited to Abbott Laboratories’ Department of Combinatorial Chemistry to develop methodologies to screen large combinatorial libraries. My research there was instrumental in the development and patenting of the μARCS technology, and in establishing affinity selection mass spectrometry screening technology. Subsequently, I moved into the high-throughput screening (HTS) department where I assumed the role of a group leader. Here I instituted and led the early high-throughput ADME group, enabled HTS siRNA screening, spearheaded the adoption of High Content Screening (HCS) and directed the HCS group. In 2007, I moved to the Target and Lead Discovery department where I was responsible for leading the hit-to-lead biology efforts for various therapeutic area projects. In 2009, I took on the role of lead biologist in the Early Pain Discovery Group within the department of Neuroscience where I advanced new molecular targets for the treatment of pain from target identification through hit-to-lead.

I joined the University of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute as the Director of Operations and Screening in 2011 and have a Research Associate Faculty appointment in the Department of Computational and Systems Biology. My research interests lie in applying a systems pharmacology approach to develop more effective drug discovery strategies that utilize integrated phenotype/function-based analysis including HCS to “hyperplex” multiple readouts for signaling pathways, cellular functions, and cell morphology and establish signatures that characterize the response of cells to stimulation by drugs and toxins. The signatures, which are the integrated functional responses (encompassing all affected pathways and systems) of the cell, would be the basis for the development of screening assays to identify novel chemical (and biological) entities predicted to produce desired functional effects.

 

Andy Stern, PhD

Director of Novel Therapeutics

 

Contact Information:

Sternam@pitt.edu

Office: 10048 BST 3
Phone: 412-648-9897
Fax: 412-648-9009

Link to CV:
Andy CV

Link to Dept:
Comp Sys Bio

Andy Stern is the Director of Novel Therapeutics in the University of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute (UPDDI) and a Visiting Research Associate Professor of Computational & Systems Biology. In my role as the Director of Novel  Therapeutics, I aim to provide team-oriented therapeutics-focused scientific leadership to help guide highly collaborative multidisciplinary drug discovery teams comprised of experienced professionals, fellows, and graduate students. Our goal is to discover and develop novel personalized medicines with a focus on cancer indications.

Prior to joining the University of Pittsburgh, I served as the Associate Director, Novel Therapeutics at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT for five years. I was a co-leader for several cancer-related projects involving collaborations between the Chemical Biology and Cancer Biology Programs. We focused on the 1) development of a novel differentiation therapy for acute megakaryocytic leukemia, 2) identification of small-molecule probes to determine leukemic stem cell-selective dependencies within the tumor microenvironment, 3) establishment of relationships between mutation status and drug sensitivity from high throughput cancer cell line profiling as an approach toward patient stratification, drug repositioning, the discovery of new targeted therapies, and the rational development of combination therapies, and 4) identification and development of small-molecule modulators of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and dissipation for understanding the role of ROS in tumorigenesis. Before joining the Broad, I spent 17 years in the pharmaceutical industry with Merck and then DuPont Pharmaceuticals where I served as the Executive Director, Chemical Enzymology. I contributed to the discovery and development of several approved drugs, most notably the nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor for HIV, Sustiva.

In addition to my experience in academia and the pharmaceutical industry, serving as the Vice President of Biology, I helped two start-up companies, Infinity Pharmaceuticals and Ensemble Therapeutics, initiate their drug discovery platforms. I hold a Ph.D. degree from the Molecular Biology Institute, UCLA. My thesis work with Professor David Sigman involved the discovery of chemical nucleases.

 

 

Andreas Vogt, PhD

Group Leader, Small Organism Discovery

Contact Information:

avogt@pitt.edu

Office: 10047 BST 3
Phone: 412-648-5856
Fax: 412-648-9009

Link to CV:
Vogt CV

Link to Dept:
Comp Sys Bio

I received a MS degree in Pharmacy in 1985 and a PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 1990 from the University of Hamburg, Germany, and postdoctoral training at the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Kentucky. I subsequently became a Research Associate at the University of Pittsburgh Department of Pharmacology where I developed small molecule inhibitors of Ras:farnesyltransferase as potential anticancer agents. In 1997 I accepted a position as Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology, focusing on mitogen activated protein kinase phosphatases as potential targets in cancer, heart disease, and regenerative medicine. From 1998-2000 I was Scientific Director at ProlX Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a Pittsburgh-based startup company (now Oncothyreon, Inc.), establishing operations and raising local and federal start-up funding. Over the last 15 years I have been a named investigator on 20 NIH sponsored research projects aimed at discovering small molecule inhibitors of a variety of challenging cellular drug targets. As the Director of the Bioinformation and Cell-Based Assay Core of an NIH Program Project entitled “Combinatorial Approaches to Novel Anticancer Agents” (CA78039) I established the University of Pittsburgh as one of the first drug discovery centers using high-content screening (HCS). In 2005, our early work in cellular HCS culminated in the award of the Pittsburgh Molecular Libraries Screening Center (PMLSC), one of nine centers funded by the NIH roadmap initiative for Molecular Libraries and Imaging. In 2006, I was a founding member of the University of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute (UPDDI) where I currently conduct multiple collaborative research projects in cancer, HIV, and regenerative medicine. In 2011 I became a faculty member in the Department of Computational and Systems Biology and a member of the newly formed UPDDI Core management team.

One of my current research interests is the expansion of HCS into multicellular organisms. It is becoming increasingly clear that better models of the in vivo milieu are needed to improve the discovery of new drug candidates. Zebrafish, C. elegans, and Drosophila in particular provide unique opportunities to discover novel potential therapeutics using functional assays in a living animal as a complement to cellular and tissue model approaches. Together with members in the Departments of Neurology and Developmental Biology I have established methodology for zebrafish chemical screening, generated automated image analysis tools for quantification of reporter gene expression, and automated neurobehavioral assays in multiwell plate formats. Currently active zebrafish discovery projects include fibroblast growth factor signaling, angiogenesis, kidney progenitor cell expansion, early safety assessment, and neurodegenerative diseases.

 

Xiang-Qun (Sean) Xie, PhD, MBA

Group Leader, Computational Chemistry

Contact Information:

xix15@pitt.edu

Office: 3501 Terrace St
529 Salk Hall
Phone: 412-383-5276
Fax: 412-383-7436

Link to CV:
Xie CV

Link to website:
CBLigand.org

I received my BS degree in Pharmacy from the Second Military Medical University in Shanghai, China in 1982, my PhD in Medicinal Chemistry from the School of Pharmacy, University of Connecticut in 1993, and followed by a Biophysics postdoctoral training at MIT Francis Bitter National Magnet Laboratory. I also received an Executive MBA degree in 2003. I have specific training and expertise in medicinal/computational chemistry, computational biology and biophysics with a track record of publications.

I am currently a tenured full Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences/Drug Discovery Institute and Computational Biology at the University of Pittsburgh. I am also a faculty of joint Carnegie Mellon University/University of Pittsburgh (CMU/Pitt) Computational Biology PhD Program. As PI, I have active NIH funded projects on: 1) GPCR CB2 membrane protein structure-based design using integrated approaches of structural biophysics, computational chemical genomics virtual screening/bioassay validation and medicinal chemistry, and 2) small molecule chemical probe design for hematopoietic stem cells expansion. As Founding Director of Computational Chemical Genomics Screening Center at the University of Pittsburgh, I currently serve as co-PI and core Director on two active NIH funded center grants (PCMLD NIH P50 and UP-CDC NCI/SAIC), and also served as co-PI on NIH PMLSC grant. Before I joined Pitt, I was a faculty of Medicinal Chemistry and a founding Director of Pharmacoinformatics Research Center in the College of Pharmacy at University of Houston, Texas. I held several joint faculty positions at the Institute for Molecular Design (MDL), Texas Learning Computing Center (TLCC), and the Keck Center for Computational & Structural Biology, served as an Advisory Committee Member for the NIH Pharmacoinformatics Training Program at Houston Gulf Coast Consortium (GCC), and was a Director of the Chemistry Coordinating Unit for GCC-Chemical Genomics Screening Center. Prior to UH, I was a Director of the IMS NMR Lab and a joint faculty member of the School of Pharmacy at the University of Connecticut for over 10 years. I am a regular member of the NIH BPNS Study Section Review Panel, an oversea expert reviewer for the Chinese Natural Science Foundation Review Panel, and ad hoc expert reviewer of the MCMB grant for MRC United Kingdom. I am also an invited guest editor for AAPS Journal, and on the editorial board of American Journal of Molecular Biology. I was invited as an International Assessment Panelist for Fudan University.

My lab has developed and published over 100 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, patents, meeting abstracts, including CB ligand design and QSAR pharmacophore modeling, GPCR CB2 receptor modeling, biochemical/biophysics studies, and new CB2 ligand discovery. My group also published many computational chemistry algorithms and cheminformatics tools, including LiCABEDS (Machine learning algorithm based novel GPCR ligand affinity and specificity prediction, CLAP (3D chemistry-space matrix based compound library acquisition profiling algorithm), FastMolPol (fast approaches for molecular polarizability calculations), ga-QSAR (genetic algorithm-optimized QSPR models for bioavailability, protein binding, and urinary excretion), LigFrag-RPM (Residue Preference Mapping of PDB Ligand Fragments), Fragment-based QSAR algorithm, as well as the web molecular information database and tools: CBID (www.CBLigand.org), HTDocking, TargetHunter and BBB-predictor (www.cbligand.org/xielab/technology.php).

 

John Maier, PhD MD

Group Leader, Tissue Diagnostics

Contact Information:

jsmaier@pitt.edu

Office:3518 Fifth Avenue, office 118
Phone: 412-383-2319
Fax:412-383-2361

Link to Dept:
Department of Family Medicine

John Maier is an Assistant Professor and the Director of Research and Development in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. He has a secondary appointment in the Department of Pathology and is a member of the UPDDI leadership faculty where he leads the companion diagnostics effort. He completed his PhD in Physics and MD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where his research focused on light-tissue interaction and its application to in-vivo spectroscopy. After completing the Medical Scholars Program at Illinois he went on to the UPMC Shadyside Family Medicine Residency from 1999 to 2002. From 2002 to 2011 he worked at ChemImage Corporation in Pittsburgh as the leader of Biomedical research and a member of the management team. In 2011 he returned to the University of Pittsburgh as a member of the faculty in the Department of Family Medicine where he serves on the executive committee and provides leadership and support to projects that span the range from comparative effectiveness research to health care system delivery innovation in community based settings. Dr. Maier is a co-inventor on over 50 US patents and co-author on 14 peer reviewed publications and numerous proceedings, abstracts and presentations. His research focus is in the development of multiplex histopathology image analysis approaches. “My position in the department of Family Medicine allows me to leverage my technical background in imaging and measurement science; my broad based primary care clinical background; and my experience in the industrial setting as I provide integration support and leadership to the complex work of translating academic and technical advances into clinical medicine.”

 

Nathan A. Yates, PhD

Group Leader, Chemical Proteomics

Contact Information:

yatesn@pitt.edu

Office: 7019 BST 3
Phone: 732-718-9739
Fax: 412-648-9009

Link to CV:
CV:

Link to Dept:
Dept:

Mass spectrometers are remarkable analytical instruments that have revolutionized many important areas of scientific research including chemistry, environmental science, and biomedical research. Recently, I joined the University of Pittsburgh to apply my knowledge of mass spectrometry, protein analysis and advanced data analysis techniques to improve human health. I was trained in the labs of Dr. Richard A. Yost and Dr. Donald F. Hunt, and have gained over 20 years of academic, government, and industrial research. I hold appointments as an Associate Professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology and as the Scientific Director of the Biomedical Mass Spectrometry Center (BMSC) in the Schools of the Health Sciences. I was previously a Scientific Director at Merck & Co., Inc. where I led a large industrialized mass spectrometry laboratory in the Department of Exploratory and Translational Sciences that was responsible for the discovery and translation of new biomarker assays that accompanied In 2004, I invented Differential Mass Spectrometry (dMS), an efficient MS based strategy for comparing complex biological systems that permits un-biased analysis of all ions detected in full scan mass spectra, not just ions that have corresponding tandem mass spectra and peptide sequences. In 2005, I helped start three integrated proteomics labs in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey to firmly establish this state-of-the-art biomarker discovery technique throughout Merck’s research laboratories. The dMS platform has been used to discover protein based biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and cancer. In collaboration with Rosetta Biosoftware, I commercialized Merck's biomarker discovery software and developed the Elucidator™ proteomics analysis suite that was later acquired by Microsoft Corporation. I am an active member of the scientific community as a regular member of NIH shared instrument grant study sections, a short course instructor at the ASMS annual meeting, and a former chair of the ABRF proteomics research group. As the scientific director of the Biomedical Mass Spectrometry Center, I look forward to sharing my knowledge and experience so that you may successfully apply mass spectrometry in this research.

 

Albert Gough, PhD

Group Leader, Informatics and Cell Analysis

Contact Information:

gough@pitt.edu

Office: 10020 BST 3
Phone: 412-383-5915
Fax: 412-648-9009

Link to CV:
Gough CV

Link to Dept:
Comp Sys Bio

I received a BS in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a PhD in Biology/Biophysics from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Following my graduate work I accepted a position as Director of Imaging Technology in the Center for Light Microscope Imaging and Biotechnology at CMU where I led a development project to build the Automated Interactive Microscope (AIM) system, a real time 3D imaging microscope. In 1996, I joined a local startup company, Cellomics, to integrate automated light microscopy with image analysis and informatics, a method for which we coined the name High Content Screening (HCS). As V.P. of Research and Development I led the team which developed the first HCS platform, and the following generations of HCS platforms, up to and including the ArrayScan VTI that is now a major product of Thermo Fisher Scientific. I am co-inventor on 6 patents for development of key components of HCS technologies. In 2005, I joined another Pittsburgh startup company, Cellumen, with a mission to develop Cellular Systems Biology (CSB) assay panels, using HCS Technology. The goal was to build better predictive models of in vivo toxicity, using CSB data from in vitro assay panels, and data mining tools. In 2010, Cellumen was acquired by Apredica, a Cyprotex Company, which currently offers the panels as a profiling service for application in early safety assessment for drug discovery and environmental safety.

In late 2010, I joined the University of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute where my current research interests focus on understanding heterogeneity of cell populations. It has long been known that cells are heterogeneous, and therefore the average cellular activity, while certainly of interest, is not the whole story with regards to cellular function. The differential response of a minority of cells has important implications in cell biology, cancer, and drug discovery. An understanding of the differences at the level of cellular pathways is important to the understanding of polypharmacology, and thereby for developing combination therapies that optimally address the heterogeneity of the population, not just the majority. Presently I am developing methods to analyze heterogeneity at the cellular level across a wide range of cellular functions through: the development of calibration methods to improve the reproducibility of image cytometry; development of ‘hyperplexing’ cellular measurements to expand the ability to map molecular activities; and tools for segmentation of subpopulations of cells to reliably identify subpopulations. One goal is to identify alternate signaling in subpopulations of cancer cells, and use that information to screen for combinations of drugs that provide more effective treatments.

 

Robert C. “Dutch” Boltz, PhD

Group Leader, Flow and Imaging Cytometry

Contact Information:

rcb56@pitt.edu

Office: 10020 BST 3
Phone: 412-648-3120
Fax: 412-648-9009

Link to CV:
Boltz CV

Link to Dept:
Comp Sys Bio

I received a BS in Zoology from Penn State in 1967. I switched fields to Biophysics and in 1978 received my PhD specializing in the electrophoretic separation of mammalian cells. This was my first exposure to the emerging field of Analytical Cytology. By graduation, I was considered an expert in electrophoretic separations. After graduation, I accepted a visiting scientist position with Universities Research Space Association to work on the development of electrophoretic separation of mammalian cells in microgravity. In 1978, I accepted the position of Senior Research Immunologist with Merck/Rahway working in the Cell Separation and Analysis Facility. In 1982, I became Director of the Flow Cytometry/Cell sorter on the Rahway site. I would build this laboratory into a world class center of excellence of fluorescence cytometry with cutting edge, innovative development and instrumentation modifications over the next 23 years. Much of the evolution of the Facility was through collaborations, formal and informal, with various instrumentation companies. I had the first 8 parameter B-D Cell sorter which further evolved into the B-D LSR flow cytometer. I acquired and modified a Fluorescence Imaging Plate Reader I (FLIPR I) to do 2 additional membrane potential and calcium kinetics. This was used to develop a screen on immobilized primary human T cells. I modified our Fluorescent Digital Imaging Microscope (FDIM) to allow T cell activation kinetics. Through collaborations with Lans Taylor at Carnegie Mellon University, I have been involved in the High Content Imaging (HCI) field since its inception. This resulted in the development of the first HCI screen of Nf-kB translocation. Since then, I have been responsible for many of the advances in the HCI technology as a key collaborator with industry. I am considered a sophisticated cytometry scientist with experience in combining the biology, reagent chemistry, cytometer and data management and analysis tools to solve problems in drug discovery.

I joined the University of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute as a Research Associate Faculty appointment in the Department of Computational and Systems Biology in 2011. My research interests lie in further developing High Content Analysis (HCA) and flow cytometry instrumentation and techniques toward systems pharmacology approach through “hyperplexed” multiple readouts of signaling pathways, cellular functions, and cell morphology and establish signatures that characterize the response of cells to stimulation by agonists and antagonists. The cellular systems “fingerprint” which includes the integrated functional responses of the cell, would be the basis for the development of screening assays to identify novel chemical entities.

 

Lawrence A. Vernetti, PhD

Group Leader, Early Safety Assessment

Contact Information:

vernetti@pitt.edu

Office: 10041 BST 3
Phone: 412-624-5425
Fax: 412-648-9009

Link to CV:
Vernetti CV

Link to Dept:
Comp Sys Bio

I received my PhD in Pharmacology/Toxicology from the University of Arizona in 1992. I accepted an industrial postdoctoral training position in the Toxicology Department of Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical to investigate mechanisms of action leading to target organ toxicity. After a year and a half at Parke–Davis, I joined the Abbott Laboratories' Department of Drug Safety to conduct whole animal preclinical safety studies. During my tenure as a Drug Safety Monitor, I implemented Abbott's first in vitro toxicology program, primarily focusing on functional assays in primary cells isolated from a variety of mammalian species. In 1997, I accepted a position in the Abbott's Drug Discovery High-Throughput Screening (HTS) Department, initially to conduct pharmacology and toxicology screens, but later my role expanded as I helped initiate the first early High Throughput ADME program, siRNA screening, and became an early adopter of High Content Screening (HCS). In 2007, I left Abbott to take on the role of Director of Cellular Toxicology at Cellumen, a new company formed in Pittsburgh, PA. The Cellumen product, CellCiphr™, was developed and successfully marketed as a methodology to reduce the number of toxic compounds selected for preclinical testing and provide the pharmaceutical industry real savings in cost and time of drug discovery. The methodology combined cellular HCS measured functional and phenotypic biomarkers and a bioinformatics classifier to report the likelihood that a compound might induce in vivo toxicity. One of my important contributions was developing a scoring system whereby rodent in vivo data could be incorporated into the bioinformatics database, thereby providing the necessary set of truth data to evaluate in vitro results.

Upon joining the University of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute as an Associate Faculty member of the Department of Computational and Systems Biology (CSB) in December 2010, I implemented drug metabolism and early drug safety in vitro assays using cellular components, cell lines and primary cells. The metabolic stability assay measures metabolic clearance or the "first pass effect" of novel medicinal chemistry compounds and provides the drug research with information on the likelihood a compound can reach systemic circulation through the preferred oral administration route. My current cassette of in vitro toxicity assays are designed to identify compounds that induce toxic mechanism of actions which are highly correlated to preclinical and clinical target organ toxicity. Unfortunately, the toxicity models are at best only 70-75% accurate in identifying true target organ toxicity, so my personal goal is to develop experimental in vitro models and to collaborate with CSB scientists to construct a better predictive toxicology tool. The building of this new, reliable tool is expected to span several years and will use physiologically relevant 3D and co-cultured, human organ models and integrated cell biosensors to measure mechanisms that impact key functions and induce toxicity.

 

Timothy R. Lezon, PhD

Group Leader, Systems Biology

Contact Information:

lezon@pitt.edu

Office: 3084 BST 3
Phone: 412-383-5743
Fax: 412-648-3163

Link to Dept:
Comp Sys Bio

My research is in theoretical biological physics, with an emphasis on systems biology, protein structure and protein structural dynamics. I strive to unravel the physical and mathematical foundations for biology using analytical and numerical methods based in statistical physics.

In 1997, I received my BS in Engineering Physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, after which I worked briefly as an engineer.

My graduate research at the Pennsylvania State University focused on protein folding, the physical principles of protein structure and inference of interaction networks from microarray data. I received my PhD in Physics in 2006 and moved on to a postdoctoral position in the Department of Computational and Systems Biology at University of Pittsburgh. My postdoctoral research centered around the development of data-driven mathematical models for large-scale protein dynamics. This work identified the features of proteins that are most influential in determining their global motions, quantified the extent to which rigid-body motions influence the parameters of coarse-grained network models, and enabled the efficient incorporation of the constraining effects of the membrane into models of large-scale protein dynamics.

My current work with the University of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute extends the application of these techniques to the level of cellular systems. Projects include generating data-driven models of cellular networks in an effort to refine existing consensus pathway models and reveal the interactions that are targeted by novel compounds, and developing tools to map between pharmacophore space and HCS feature space to guide the selection of leads and combination therapeutics.

 

Lee A. McDermott, PhD

Senior Medicinal Chemist

Contact Information:

lam179@pitt.edu

Office: 10032 BST 3
Phone: 732-979-0403
Fax: 412-648-9009

Link to Dept:
Pharm Sciences

Lee McDermott holds a BS degree in chemistry from Patras University, a PhD degree in organic chemistry from Brown University and an MBA degree in finance from Rutgers University. After completing postdoctoral work in the synthesis of strychnine alkaloids at Columbia University, Lee joined the Medicinal Chemistry Department of Hoffmann La Roche, Inc., where he served as a principal and senior principal scientist. As a principal and senior principal scientist, Lee optimized the SAR and DMPK properties of a number of small molecule HTS hits and through the use of molecular modeling and X-ray data designed de novo multiple small molecule series that were optimized to high quality leads under very short time frames. Lee’s work at Roche led to 23 patents and patent applications and to the identification of two clinical leads.

After 11 years with Hoffman La Roche, Lee was recruited to SmartAnalyst, Inc., a Manhattan NY pharmaceutical consulting firm, and assumed the position of Life Sciences Director. In that capacity, Lee led and participated in interdisciplinary consulting teams that were composed by members located overseas and the US for the evaluation of drug candidates for pharmaceutical industry clients.

In 2011, Lee joined the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of Pittsburgh as a research faculty and became a member of the University of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute where he currently holds the position of senior medicinal chemist.

Matt LaPorte, PhD

Group Leader, Chemical Diversity

Contact Information:

mgl12@pitt.edu

Office: 903 CHVRN
Phone: 412-624-8004
Fax:

Link to Dept:

I received BS and MS degrees in Chemistry from Ithaca College (1991) and Bucknell University (1994), respectively. I obtained my PhD with Professor Steven M. Weinreb at the Pennsylvania State University (2000) while working on synthetic methodologies and completing the enantioselective total synthesis of the Securinega alkaloid, phyllanthine. In 2000, I accepted a senior scientist position at ViroPharma Incorporated working in the hit-to lead and lead optimization medicinal chemistry teams in the hepatitis C polymerase program. In collaboration with Wyeth, we discovered and advanced one of the first HCV polymerase inhibitors into clinical evaluation.  In 2004, I moved to TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals where we designed and synthesized novel SMAC (second mitochondrial activator of caspases) mimetics as anti-cancer agents.  I became Group Leader for the oncology program at TetraLogic in 2007 and was a member of the team to discover and advance Birinapant (TL32711) into the clinic. I coordinated the technology transfer to CRO for the drug scale-up process. My industrial career has led to 14 patents and patent applications. I joined the University of Pittsburgh Chemical Methodology and Library Development Center (UPCMLD) as the Associate Director in 2009. I have been involved with the generation of unique and structurally diverse compound libraries. I have also been participating with the University of Pittsburgh Chemical Diversity Center (UPCDC) in the design and discovery of new anti-cancer drugs.

 

Tong Ying Shun, PhD

Statistician

Contact Information:

tos8@pitt.edu

Office: 9049 BST 3
Phone: 412-648-9539
Fax: 412-648-9009

I received my PhD in 1999 from Pennsylvania State University, where I conducted multichannel singular spectrum analysis of precipitation, temperature and runoff time series and developed a dynamic model for rainfall-runoff using genetic algorithms. This experience enabled me to join Lexmark International, Inc., as a senior applied research scientist and developed additional technical skills in computation and modeling. In 2001, I joined Automatic Cell, Inc., as their informatics scientist and data manager. For four years, I built and managed a High-Content Screening (HCS) database and developed customized software for image and data analysis, including automated measurement of live cancer cell motility and proliferation. I was recruited to the Drug Discovery Institute at the University of Pittsburgh (UPDDI) in 2005, where I became the leader of the UPDDI HTS/HCS informatics team. I designed the UPDDI IT network, built a LIMS for the UPDDI to manage compound registration and genealogy, data analysis of bioassays, and SAR reporting by matching the bioactivities and compound structures, deployed and implemented the HTS and HCS informatics software, and developed multiple statistical solutions for HTS and HCS data analysis.

Since 2010, I have served as an informatics core leader of the University of Pittsburgh Specialized Application Center (PSAC) to manage compound registration, compound inventory, sample tracking, quality control, and HTS/HCS data analysis and have been responsible for transferring all data, protocols, and analyses information for the NCI Next-CBC projects. I have an extensive background in statistics, with many years of informatics experience working in the biotechnology sector and in academia. I have been extensively involved in UPDDI multidisciplinary HTS/HCS project teams, including being an NIH MLSCN Informatics Working Group member.

 

Jan H. Beumer, PharmD, PhD

Co-Group Leader Preclinical Pharmacology

Contact Information:

BEUMERJH@UPMC.EDU

Office: HCC G27E
Phone: 412-623-3216

Link to Dept:
Pharm Sciences

Dr. Beumer has a PharmD, and a PhD from the University of Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands. He is also a certified clinical pharmacologist through the Dutch Society of Clinical Pharmacology & Biopharmacy.

Dr. Beumer joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2006, and is currently Director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Clinical Pharmacology Analytical Facility. Dr. Beumer also serves as Director of a core facility of two of the 5 major cooperative groups: the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG, transitioned into NRG) and the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB, transitioned into Alliance), and is co-PI on the NCI N01 Animal Pharmacology Contract (PI, Dr. Eiseman) and co-PI of the UPCI NCI/CTEP U01 Phase I Grant (PI, Dr. Chu).

By virtue of his various roles, Dr. Beumer is intimately involved in the design, execution, supervision and data analysis of numerous pharmacokinetic and metabolic studies of anti-cancer drugs covering the entire spectrum from preclinical to clinical phase II studies, and academia to small and big pharma. Dr. Beumer has published over 45 manuscripts in various peer-reviewed journals and has been invited to present his work at national and international meetings including the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), PittCon, and the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (ASCPT).

Dr. Beumer has established an active program of healthy volunteer drug-drug interaction studies, designed several phase I studies of novel combinations of anticancer agents, and has extensively researched pyrimidine anticancer drug pharmacology. He is an expert in preclinical and clinical metabolic studies, with a focus on mass balance studies, and has interest in using pharmacokinetics as a tool to practice personalized medicine.

Dr. Beumer's overall goal is to study the translational pharmacology of anticancer drugs and to play a critical role in facilitating and mediating the preclinical and clinical drug development process.

 

Julie L. Eiseman, PhD, DABT

Co-Group Leader of Preclinical Pharmacology

Contact Information:

EISEMANJ@UPMC.EDU

Office: HCC G27B
Phone: 412-623-3239

Link to Dept:
Pharm Chem Bio

Dr Eiseman received a BS degree in Chemistry from the University of Michigan, an MS in Pharmacology from Michigan State University, and in 1980, a PhD in Pharmacology from Cornell University School of Medicine. She did her postdoctoral training at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Department of Pharmacology, and worked as the Director of Pharmacokinetics within the Toxicology Department at Hazelton Laboratories, Inc. Vienna, VA (now part of Covance) for two years before joining the faculty at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center where she had a primary appointment in the Department of Pathology, School of Medicine. In 1999, Dr Eiseman moved to the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. Dr. Eiseman has a 25 year track record in preclinical pharmacology studies. She is a Diplomat of the American Board of Toxicology and has been a contractor for the NCI conducting animal pharmacology studies both at the University of Maryland and here at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Eiseman’s research interests are in developing small molecules as potential anti-cancer therapeutics: evaluating the toxicity, efficacy, pharmacokinetics, metabolism and mechanisms of action of small molecules. She has worked closely with Dr. Beumer on the previous NCI animal pharmacology contract (N01-CM52202), and the current contract (N01-CM-2011-00015) which has been in place at the University of Pittsburgh since 1999 and which was held previously at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She has experience in the design and execution of MTD studies, multiple dose range finding studies, efficacy trials of both single agents and combinations of anticancer agents as well as pharmacokinetic and metabolic studies. Dr Eiseman uses sc xenografts models, orthotopic models and both caliper-instruments and PET and luciferase imaging to track tumor growth. She has experience with classical anticancer as well as targeted small molecules targeting kinases, phosphatases, alkylating agents, protein interactions, photodynamic therapeutics and chemopreventative agents. Dr. Eiseman also has experience with nanoparticle formulations of therapeutic agents. Drs. Eiseman and Beumer are able to consult on the overall design of preclinical studies in mice.