Norman Baylor joined the IDRI Board of Directors in December 2016. Baylor currently serves as President and CEO of Biologics Consulting, a regulatory and product development consulting firm for biologics, pharmaceuticals and medical devices based in Alexandria, VA. He joined Biologics Consulting after 20 years with the FDA, most recently as the director of the Office of Vaccines Research and Review. During his tenure at the FDA, Baylor evaluated and facilitated the development and licensure of numerous new vaccines, such as acellular pertussis, varicella, pneumococcal conjugate, human papillomavirus (HPV) influenza, zoster and all of the new-generation combination vaccines.
Baylor served as the FDA’s liaison to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the US Department of Health and Human Services National Vaccine Advisory Committee, and the Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines. Baylor continues to serve as an expert advisor to the World Health Organization on several global vaccine initiatives.
Baylor holds a Ph.D. in molecular microbiology from the University of Kentucky. He earned a bachelor’s degree in medical microbiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree in microbial genetics from the University of Kentucky.
STEVEN G. REED, PHD
President, CEO & Founder
Steve Reed is IDRI’s President, CEO & Founder. His academic appointments include Professor of Medicine at Cornell University Medical College in New York and Research Professor of Pathobiology at the University of Washington. He serves on several editorial review committees, has served as a member of the Tropical Medicine Review Board of the National Institutes of Health, and has served as a member of diagnostic and vaccine steering committees of the World Health Organization.
Steve received his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Montana in 1979. That year he was appointed as Scientist of the National Institute of Amazon Research in Manaus, Brazil, where he directed research on tropical diseases. Steve joined Cornell University Medical College in 1980 as Assistant Professor of Medicine, continuing to work in Brazil as manager of the Cornell-Bahia program in International Medicine. He joined Seattle Biomedical Research Institute in 1984 where he worked until founding IDRI in 1993.
In 1994, he co-founded Corixa Corporation (which was later sold to GlaxoSmithKline, GSK) where he served as Chief Scientific Officer until leaving in 2004. In 2008 Steve co-founded Immune Design Corp. where he served as CEO until 2011.
Steve’s research interests have focused on the immunology of intracellular infections, and on the development of vaccines and diagnostics for both cancer and infectious diseases. He led the team that, together with GSK, developed the first defined tuberculosis vaccine to advance to clinical trials, and has developed the first defined vaccines for leishmaniasis, as well as the K39-based diagnostic tests currently licensed for leishmaniasis.
Steve has more than 250 original publications, 40 book chapters and reviews, and 105 issued patents on diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics of infectious diseases and cancer.
MASSIMO RADAELLI, PHD
Massimo Radaelli has served on IDRI’s Board of Directors since June of 2012. He is the President and Founder of Noventia Pharma Specialty Pharma, a European-based company he founded in 2009 that is focused on the research of rare and neglected diseases. Noventia Pharma operates in Southern Europe, and offers a product portfolio of pharmaceuticals with a specialized business dedicated to treatments of rare and neglected diseases. Massimo also serves as Executive Chairman of Bioakos Pharma, a specialty pharmaceutical company based in Florence, Italy, and focused in the areas of dermatology, gynecology and pediatrics. Before Noventia, Massimo served as the President and C.E.O. of Dompe International, where he spearheaded the company’s global growth in over 65 nations worldwide. Massimo holds a Ph.D. from the University of Milan, where he graduated with honors, and currently serves on the boards of various companies such as Bioakos Pharma, Arriani International and Ariad Pharmaceuticals. He also serves as an advisor for the Irish Government Enterprise Ireland and the Health Commission of the Senate of Italian Republic for Rare and Neglected Diseases.
MICHEL DEWILDE, PHD
Michel De Wilde joined the IDRI Board of Directors in October 2014. Currently serving as a consultant for the international vaccine community, Michel De Wilde was among the first to use recombinant DNA technology in the industry and has contributed to the discovery and development of a number of vaccines.
From 2001 through 2013, De Wilde was Senior Vice President, Research & Development, at Sanofi Pasteur, the human vaccines division of Sanofi, where he supervised a broad portfolio of discovery and development projects, including the first Dengue vaccine that recently successfully completed phase 3 During his tenure at Sanofi Pasteur, De Wilde drove the development and licensure by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of a number of products, including the first tetravalent meningococcal conjugate, the first prototype H5 pandemic vaccine and the first intradermal influenza vaccine, Intanza, which was also licensed by the European Medicines Agency. He also oversaw the licensure, under accelerated approval, of a new high-dose formulation of an influenza vaccine, which demonstrated superior efficacy to conventional vaccines in clinical trials. De Wilde was also instrumental in driving the acquisition of and defining the integration model for two biotech companies, Acambis and VaxDesign.
Prior to joining Sanofi Pasteur, De Wilde was at SmithKline Beecham Biologicals (now GSK Vaccines) in Belgium. He joined the group in 1978 as a research scientist and subsequently held positions of increasing responsibility to become Vice President, Research & Development, heading a team active in all aspects of preclinical vaccine development.
Chief Operating Officer
Richard Lautch joined IDRI as Chief Operating Officer in 2018 and has served as a member of the IDRI Board of Directors since 2017. In his role as COO, Richard oversees all aspects of IDRI’s administrative operations, including finance, legal, facilities, IT, HR and communications.
For the past two years, Richard has served as a consultant in the biotech industry, advising on business strategy and development for both U.S. and emerging markets.
A financial leader with experience during rapid company growth and change, Richard had a 15-year career with Starbucks. Most recently, he served as Vice President Finance, Treasurer – Finance Administration, where he played an instrumental role in growing revenues from less than $2 billion to more than $15 billion with a global footprint that expanded from 4 to 64 countries. While at Starbucks, Richard played key roles in capital structure and financing, financial planning and analysis, investment strategy, relationship management and impact investing. He also served in a variety of leadership roles ranging from being a member of Starbucks’ Capital Committee to serving as chairman of Starbucks Card Europe Ltd.
Prior to joining Starbucks in 1999, Richard spent 12 years in investment banking research and trading roles working with global equity, bond and currency markets while at Banco Santander, BNP Paribas and National Westminster Bank.
Richard holds a degree in electrical and electronic engineering from the University of Bath in England. He serves on the finance committees for The Grameen Foundation and the Washington Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.
FRANKLYN G. PRENDERGAST, MD, PHD
Franklyn Prendergast has served on IDRI’s Board of Directors since October of 1999. He is the Edmond and Marion Guggenheim Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Professor of Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at the Mayo Medical School. In the past, he has served as the Director of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and Director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine and as the Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Mayo Clinic. He has also served on the Board of Trustees and on the Board of Governors of the Mayo Foundation. Franklyn’s research focuses on structural protein biology and bioimaging and has earned him numerous honors, including an E.E. Just Award from the American Society of Experimental Biology and the Musgrave Gold Medal of the Institute of Jamaica. As a Rhodes Scholar, Franklyn earned his BA and his MA from Oxford University. He then went on to receive his MD from the University of the West Indies, and his PhD from the University of Minnesota. He has also received honorary DSc’s from Purdue University and the University of the West Indies.
GAIL CASSELL, PHD
Gail H. Cassell, Executive Vice President of TB Drug Development, IDRI, is also a Visiting Professor in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Gail recently retired as Vice President, Scientific Affairs and Distinguished Lilly Research Scholar for Infectious Diseases at Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis where she was responsible for launching the Lilly MDR-TB philanthropic effort and establishing and leading the Lilly TB Drug Discovery Initiative, a nonprofit launched in 2007. Formerly she was Vice President of Infectious Diseases Drug Discovery and Clinical Development at Lilly, where she led a hepatitis C protease inhibitor program from the discovery phase to clinical candidate, and the development of a new antibiotic from clinical development to product decision. Prior to Lilly, Gail served as the Charles H. McCauley Professor and Chairman of the Department of Microbiology at the University of Alabama Schools of Medicine and Dentistry at Birmingham.
Gail has served on a number of boards and committees, and is currently a member of the NIH Science Management Board, the newly appointed NIH Board of Trustees, and the Advisory Council of the Fogarty International Center of NIH. A member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, Gail has been widely recognized for her research accomplishments including two honorary degrees.
Gail received her BS from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and obtained her PhD in Microbiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
ERIK IVERSON, JD, LLM
Managing Director, WARF
Erik Iverson is Managing Director of WARF (Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation). Prior to joining WARF in 2016, Erik served as President, Business & Operations at IDRI. Prior to joining IDRI, Erik was Associate General Counsel at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he was the second attorney on staff and worked for over seven years exclusively within the Foundation’s Global Health Program, where he led the development and implementation of the foundation’s Global Access policy through the review of grant proposals and assistance in structuring strategic initiatives. More particularly, Erik worked closely with foundation staff and grantees in the development of intellectual property management and collaboration agreements, novel financing arrangements, and product development and “global access” strategies. Previously, Erik was an attorney at the law firm of Perkins Coie LLP, where he represented life science companies in the negotiation of financing transactions, joint ventures, research collaborations, licensing arrangements, and manufacturing agreements. Erik received his JD from the University Of North Dakota School Of Law in 1994 and his Masters of Law (LLM) in Taxation from New York University School of Law in 1995.
Vice President, Operations & Environmental Health & Safety Officer
Chris Antony is the Vice President of Operations at IDRI and also serves as IDRI’s Environmental Health and Safety Officer. In addition, Chris acts as administrator to IDRI’s Institutional Biosafety Committee and serves as a member of the organization’s FISMA Joint Authorization Board. As VP of Operations, Chris has oversight of several functional areas including facilities, information technology and quality control.
Chris joined IDRI in 2011 as Facilities Manager after spending more than 35 years in private industry, most recently with a Washington-based OTC drug manufacturer and provider of safety services.
Chris graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in Political Science.
ANNA MARIE BECKMANN, PHD
Senior Vice President, Product Development & Regulatory Affairs
Anna Marie Beckmann is the Vice President of Product Development and Regulatory Affairs at IDRI. She is responsible for guiding products through the transitional phase from pre-clinical research to evaluation in clinical trials. In the regulatory affairs arena, her group provides the necessary documentation to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for review and approval of IDRI’s vaccine and adjuvant candidates in human clinical trials. She is also responsible for IDRI’s in-house pilot manufacturing facility that produces cGMP adjuvant formulations for Phase 1 vaccine clinical trials.
Anna Marie was a Senior Fellow in the STD Training Program at the University of Washington and a faculty member at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where her research focused on the pathogenesis of human papillomavirus infections (HPV) and the relationship between HPV infections and human anogenital cancers. In 1998 she joined Corixa Corporation as Director of Regulatory Affairs and worked on early stage clinical development of vaccines for infectious diseases and cancer.
Anna Marie Beckmann earned her PhD from the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. Her thesis was focused on the pathobiology of infection with the human papillomaviruses JC and BK.
DARRICK CARTER, PHD
Vice President, Adjuvant Techology
Darrick Carter is the Vice President of Adjuvant Technology at IDRI. His work centers on new immunomodulatory agents and formulations, as well as the process development necessary to take vaccines and therapeutic candidates from the lab to the clinic.
Darrick is a biochemist/biophysicist with over 15 years of experience developing therapeutics and vaccines in the biotechnology industry. He has founded five companies, starting with a sole proprietorship biotech/internet startup, Proteinchemist.com, in 2001. Darrick previously worked at Corixa Corporation, where he led a new tuberculosis vaccine into human clinical trials and assisted as group leader for analytical biochemistry working on adjuvants and a commercial, radiolabeled mAb for non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
In 2004, he founded and served as CEO of PAI Life Sciences Inc., a bioinformatics company with proprietary drug discovery technologies using artificial neural nets. Darrick also served as Chief Scientific Officer at a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on drug and device combinations, is a founding member of a company focused on immunotherapy in oncology, and a founding member of a device company working on inflammatory disorders. Darrick sits on the Scientific Advisory Boards of three local biotech companies and hosts a website for protein chemists. He has authored over 50 peer-reviewed papers and is inventor/co-inventor on more than 160 patent applications and issued patents.
Darrick received his BSc summa cum laude from the department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at Oregon State University. He received his PhD from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Oregon Health and Science University.
RHEA COLER, PHD
Senior Vice President, Pre-clinical & Translational Science
Rhea Coler is the Senior Vice President of Preclinical and Translational Research at IDRI. Her work focuses on developing vaccines or immunotherapy for tuberculosis, leishmaniasis, flaviviruses schistosomiasis and influenza. Elucidating the mechanistic basis of protection against these diseases are key research questions in the Coler lab and could lead to the development and deployment of innovative prophylactic and therapeutic interventions.
Rhea serves on the Global Health Undergraduate Programs Advisory Board and the Seattle Chapter ARCS Foundation Board. She is an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington and Vice President of Research and Development at the Seattle-based biotechnology company, PAI Life Sciences Inc. As a PI or co-Investigator, Rhea has been successful in securing competitive funding from NIH/NIAID, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Paul G. Allen Family Foundation (PGAFF), Medical Research Council (MRC), Wellcome Trust, European Commission, and PATH. She has several patents and has co-authored more than 90 original articles. Rhea began her infectious disease career with field work on malaria control in Tanzania, followed by research on arboviruses, entomology and parasite diagnostics at the Caribbean Epidemiology Center (CAREC) in Trinidad, West Indies, before moving to the field of vaccine development for infectious diseases in the US.
Rhea received her BSc from McGill University and her MSc in the field of Medical Parasitology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She obtained her PhD from the School of Public Health and Community Medicine (SPHCM) at the University of Washington.
CHRISTOPHER FOX, PHD
Vice President, Formulation / Principal Investigator
Since joining IDRI in 2007, Chris has played an integral role in developing, characterizing, and manufacturing cGMP vaccine adjuvant formulations for a variety of infectious diseases, including leishmaniasis, malaria, tuberculosis, pandemic influenza, and amebiasis, resulting >40 publications. He currently serves as principal investigator on a $11.9M contract from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a thermostable tuberculosis vaccine suitable for distribution in developing countries, involving formulation development, cGMP manufacturing, and clinical testing.
From 2010-2014, he led a $1.4M BARDA-funded effort to transfer adjuvant manufacturing technology to the Cantacuzino Institute in Bucharest, Romania. He has also participated in technology transfer projects in Brazil and India, where a vaccine formulation center has been constructed to manufacture IDRI-developed adjuvant formulations for clinical trials to evaluate malaria, leishmania, and tuberculosis vaccines.
Besides his current appointment as an Assistant Affiliate professor in UW’s Department of Global Health, Chris’s educational outreach activities include serving as a faculty member for the Advanced Vaccinology Course in India (2010-2014) and for the online Spanish-language Latin American Diploma on Vaccinology sponsored by the Carlos Slim Health Institute. Finally, he serves as Associate Editor of the journal Therapeutic Advances in Vaccines published by SAGE. Chris obtained his Ph.D. in Bioengineering at the University of Utah and his B.S. at Utah State University.
TANYA PARISH, PHD
Senior Vice President, Drug Discovery
Tanya Parish is the Senior Vice President of Drug Discovery at IDRI where she heads the TB Discovery Research group. Her work focuses on the discovery of new drugs that are effective at curing drug-sensitive and drug-resistant tuberculosis with the added goal of shortening the time it takes to cure disease. This encompasses a range of early stage drug discovery including drug target identification and validation, high throughput screening and medicinal chemistry. In addition, her group works to understand the pathogenic mechanisms and basic biology of the global pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis and using this information to inform drug discovery.
Tanya is a microbiologist by training, with a background in mycobacteriology. She received her PhD at the National Institute for Medical Research investigating gene regulation in mycobacteria followed by postdoctoral research at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine studying several facets of the biology of M. tuberculosis. Until recently, she held an academic post as Professor of Mycobacteriology at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, and she is currently an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington.
Tanya has edited several books on mycobacteria and published numerous papers on the basic biology and genetics of M. tuberculosis. She is Editor-in-Chief of Microbiology (UK), on the Editorial Board for PLOS One, PeerJ and Frontiers in Cell and Infection Microbiology.
WINSTON WICOMB, PHD, LATG
Winston Wicomb is the director of all animal studies and serves as chair of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) at IDRI. He is also the manager of the vivarium staff. Winston is a biochemist with over 20 years of experience in biochemistry and transplantation research in the fields of heart, liver, and kidney preservation. Winston also served on the team that flew the first human heart for transplantation using continuous hypothermic perfusion. To date, he has over 60 publications on his work in heart, kidney and liver preservation.
Prior to joining IDRI, Winston supervised the laboratories of the late Christian Barnard in South Africa, and Dr. G. Collins at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. Winston has served as the lead biochemist involved in chemical processing of porcine and bovine tissues for clinical transplantation. He has a broad knowledge of animal care, and chaired three IACUC committees since the early 1990s..
Winston received his Ph.D. in Medical Biochemistry from Cape Town University in South Africa.
THOMAS VEDVICK, PHD
Vice President, Formulation and Process Development
Thomas Vedvick is the Vice President of Formulation and Process Development at IDRI. Tom’s research interests are focused on the development of large scale protein purification and the characterization of proteins for vaccine development. In addition, Tom directs the exciting adjuvant formulation program at IDRI. He has more than 70 original articles, and holds 28 issued U.S. patents for diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics of infectious diseases and cancer.
Prior to joining IDRI, Tom worked at the Salk Institute Biotechnology Industrial Associates (SIBIA) where he led the protein purification and characterization laboratory. While at SIBIA he collaborated on the development of the Pichia pastoris recombinant protein expression system. Tom later left SIBIA to work at Telios Pharmaceuticals, where he developed peptide based products for wound healing. Tom then joined Corixa Corporation where he established a protein microsequencing facility and directed the process development group which focused on vaccines for infectious diseases and cancer. Afterwards, Tom spent two years working at LigoCyte pharmaceuticals, where he served as Director of Process Development and Project Leader in the Norovirus vaccine program. He led the development of purification methods, formulation, and cGMP contract manufacturing of the Norovirus,Virus Like Particles. This successful program was the first product that reached a phase I clinical trial for LigoCyte Pharmaceutical.
Tom obtained his BSc in Chemistry from the University of Puget Sound, his MSc in Chemistry from Western Washington State University, and his PhD in Biochemistry from Oregon Health Sciences University.
SUSAN BALDWIN, PHD
Senior Scientist / Principal Investigator
Susan Baldwin is a Senior Scientist and Principal Investigator at IDRI. Dr. Baldwin has been at IDRI for over six years and currently works on projects related to development of next-generation vaccines against infectious diseases. Her research involves preclinical immunology and efficacy of vaccines against H5N1 pandemic influenza, malaria, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis using mouse, ferret and guinea pig models.
One of the pandemic influenza projects Susan focuses on is development of an effective virus like particle (VLP) vaccine given intradermally, using microneedle technology. The other two pandemic influenza projects focus on the efficacy of recombinant protein and VLP pandemic influenza vaccines combined with IDRI’s adjuvant technology. Similar to these projects, IDRI’s subunit tuberculosis vaccine, ID93, also utilizes adjuvants that induce a cell-mediated immune response, which is required for protection against M. tuberculosis infection in low dose aerosol models of TB.
Susan received her PhD in Microbiology and Immunology at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. She completed her doctorate work in Dr. Ian Orme’s laboratory where she focused on the development of several novel vaccines against M. tuberculosis.
AARON KORKEGIAN, PHD
Aaron Korkegian is a Scientist with the TB Drug Discovery team at IDRI. Aaron’s work involves the management of projects and assays involved in drug discovery for tuberculosis. His work currently focuses on biological assay development, management of high throughput screening and the progression of compound series in a highly collaborative effort. His previous work at IDRI has included investigations into the physiology of the M.tuberculosis (Mtb) cell wall, the development of an overexpression library for high throughput target identification, and the development of target based high throughput screens for potential drug candidates against Mtb.
Aaron received his BSc in Molecular Biology from Pomona College and his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Washington. His graduate work at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center focused on protein biochemistry and engineering with work culminating in the first example of successful thermostabilization of an enzyme using computational design techniques.
FAN-CHI HSU, PHD
Fan-Chi Hsu is a Postdoctoral Scientist in Preclinical group at IDRI. Her work focuses on using RNA vaccines for Leishmaniasis and prostate cancer to generate protective or therapeutic immune responses in mouse models and evaluate in an artificial lymph node system. She also investigates the cellular and molecular mechanisms of innate and adaptive immune responses by RNA vaccines.
Fan-Chi received her bachelor and master degree in field of allergic immunology from National Taiwan University in Taiwan. She earned her PhD in immunology from Mayo Graduate School of Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Her doctoral work with Dr. Virginia Smith Shapiro focused on elucidating the role of transcription regulators (NKAP, HDAC3 and Runx1) in T cell maturation using conditional knockout mouse models and multi-color flow cytometry, and identifying novel mechanisms such as complement and sialylation that monitor the maturity of recent thymic emigrants.
HEATHER WESCOTT, PHD
Heather Howell is a Postdoctoral Scientist in the TB Drug Discovery group at IDRI. Her work focuses on identifying and validating protein targets of small molecules capable of killing Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Heather received a BA in Biochemistry from Hood College in Frederick, MD, and a MS in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University. She went on to earn a PhD under the mentorship of Dr. Alan Hauser in the department of Microbiology-Immunology at Northwestern University. Her thesis work focused on furthering understanding of the role of the type III secreted toxin ExoU to the pathogenesis of acute Pseudomonas aeruginosa pneumonia.
TRACEY DAY, PHD
Tracey Day is an immunologist in the Clinical Immunology group. Tracey’s research interests include:
- Developing novel and much needed vaccines for infectious diseases including tuberculosis and leishmaniasis.
- Evaluating immunogenicity and efficacy of candidate vaccines in clinical trials.
- Investigating immune responses correlating with protection from infection.
Tracey received her Ph.D. working with Dr. Stefan Kaufmann at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, Germany. Her doctoral research focused on the pulmonary immune responses elicited during tuberculosis. Tracey completed postdoctoral research with Dr. David Sherman at the Center for Infectious Disease Research in Seattle, WA. Her studies there focused on investigating host-pathogen interactions between Mycobacterium tuberculosisand pulmonary immune cells during the early stages of infection. Before joining IDRI, Tracey worked as a Protocol Development Manager with the HIV Vaccine Trials Network at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center where she led multi-disciplinary teams in the design and implementation of clinical trials evaluating candidate HIV and tuberculosis vaccines.
ALYSSA MANNING, PHD
Alyssa Manning is a Scientist I in the TB Drug Discovery group at IDRI. Alyssa’s work involves developing new high content assays for drug and adjuvant screening. She is currently focusing on M. tuberculosis drug screening in mammalian macrophages infected with the bacteria. This fluorescence-based assay will allow for simultaneous determination of potential drug efficacy towardM. tuberculosis and cytotoxicity toward macrophages in a high throughput manner.
Alyssa’s previous scientific endeavors focused on embryonic cell biology in model organisms and development of novel image analysis techniques. She received her BA in Biology from Pomona College and worked there as a laboratory technician after graduation. Alyssa’s Ph.D. work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill included elucidation of signaling pathway components necessary for gastrulation in Drosophila. As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington she developed a method to image and track cell migration in live zebrafish embryonic tissue explants.
ERIK D. LAURSEN
Director, GMP Operations
Erik is a biopharmaceutical development and operational professional with more than 20 years of drug development, project management and manufacturing/operational experience in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in North America and Europe. His experience includes extensive time spent in business development; with in/out licensing; and in the purchase/sale of CMO [Contract Manufacturing Organization] services.
At IDRI, Erik is the Director, GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) Operations. Previous to IDRI, he was with CMC Biologics from 2005-2010 and at NeoRx, Seattle, for the preceding 5 years as Sr. Director, Manufacturing, and Director of Operations with responsibilities for radio pharmaceutical production, biopharmaceutical pilot manufacturing and contract manufacturing activities. Previously Erik held leadership positions in development and operations at ZymoGenetics in Seattle. He received his MS in Biochemical Engineering from the Technical University of Denmark.
ANURADHA KUMAR, PHD
Anu is a Scientist in the TB Discovery Research group at IDRI. She works in a team exploring new molecules to treat tuberculosis; specifically she is developing tools to help prioritize molecules as they progress through the early stages of the discovery pipeline.
Anu first moved to the USA from India to attend Bard College, in upstate New York. After completing her B.A. she went on to study Biochemistry and received her PhD from Tufts University. She moved to the West Coast for her Postdoctoral research and worked with David Sherman at Center for Infectious Disease Research, where she gained experience working with M. tuberculosisand also developed and ran high throughput biochemical screens and target-based whole-cell screens. She worked as an Open Lab Fellow at GSK’s Tres Cantos Laboratories working on both whole-cell and biochemical screens. Most recently she was a Scientist at Open Source Drug Discovery, a unit of the Indian Government, dedicated to developing and strengthening the contributions of Indian institutes to the entire tuberculosis drug discovery pipeline. She returned to Seattle in 2015 and joined IDRI where she is excited about continuing to contribute to the global efforts to find better drugs to treat tuberculosis.
RYAN KRAMER, PHD
Ryan Kramer is a Senior Scientist at IDRI and Manager of the Characterization and Product Development group. Ryan is responsible for characterization of vaccine antigen and adjuvant components and for vaccine formulation development to achieve thermostable products that do not depend on the cold-chain for distribution to developing countries. Ryan has worked in a wide range of disease fields including cancer, HIV, tuberculosis, leishmaniasis, anthrax, West Nile virus, leprosy, hookworm disease, schistosomiasis, chikungunya virus, and shigellosis.
Before joining IDRI, Ryan was a postdoctoral fellow at the Macromolecule and Vaccine Stabilization at the University of Kansas, under the supervision of Russ Middaugh and David Volkin. He worked on over 12 contract and research formulation development projects characterizing different macromolecular systems and biotherapeutics, using state of the art analytical biophysical instrumentation.
Ryan obtained his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Texas A&M University where he developed a mutational approach for increasing protein solubility. As a graduate student, Ryan received a Molecular Biophysics NIH predoctoral training grant and Texas A&M Regents’ Graduate Fellowship. He served as Vice President of the Biochemistry Graduate Student Association and organized the 18th annual Biochemistry and Biophysics research competition.
Ryan graduated summa cum laude from Washington State University and received his B.S. in biochemistry. Ryan is an Eagle Scout and member of Order of the Arrow.
NEAL VAN HOEVEN, PHD
Neal Van Hoeven is a Senior Scientist at IDRI. Neal’s work is focused on pre-clinical downselection and evaluation of vaccine adjuvants for several emerging viral diseases. His ongoing research projects include programs to develop adjuvants for use with H5N1 pandemic influenza antigens as well as West Nile Virus vaccines. In addition, he is interested in understanding the effect that adjuvants have on the generation and maturation of antiviral antibodies, and is working to develop a number of high-throughput techniques for evaluation of complex antibody responses following vaccination in animals and humans.
Prior to joining IDRI, Neal worked as a research scientist for Immune Design Corporation (IDC), where he was a member of a team focused on design, generation, and testing of a novel viral vector vaccine platform.
Neal received his Ph.D. from the Molecular and Cellular Biology program at the University of Washington in 2005, where he worked in the laboratory of Dr. Dusty Miller, focusing on development of new viral vectors for use in gene therapy. He carried out his post-doctoral studies in the Influenza Division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta under the supervision of Dr. Terrence Tumpey and Dr. Jacqueline Katz, where he worked to understand transmissibility of highly pathogenic influenza viruses.
AUDE FREVOL, RN, PMP
Clinical Trial Manager
Aude is a Clinical Trial Manager in the Clinical team. Her role includes project management and clinical trial management to support the development of IDRI’s vaccine candidates. She contributed to the success of the recent clinical trials conducted in the U.S., Sudan, Peru and South Africa. She started her career in the pharmaceutical industry in the early 90s, working at Astra, then Aventis in Paris, France, for the clinical development of respiratory and allergic diseases compounds.
Prior to that, she held various positions as a registered nurse in the ward including volunteering in rural India in a leprosy center. A native from Lyon, France, she earns a Nursing Degree (RN) and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).
EDUARD MELIEF, PHD
Eduard Melief is a Postdoctoral Scientist in the TB Drug Discovery group at IDRI. His work focuses on drug target identification and validation for the pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis. He is using a variety of approaches to measure drug-protein interactions, and identify the bacterial protein targets of new anti-tubercular drugs in development.
Eduard earned his BA in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Franklin & Marshall College and his PhD in Biochemistry and Structural Biology from Stony Brook University. His doctoral work with Dr. Peter J. Tonge focused on elucidating the mechanism of GFP chromophore maturation using protein semi-synthesis. He went on to a postdoctoral position with Dr. Iwao Ojima evaluating anti-tubercular compound series that inhibit the cell division protein FtsZ and screening computationally designed small molecule inhibitors of Botulinum neurotoxin.
MARK ORR, PHD
Senior Scientist / Principal Investigator
Mark Orr, Ph.D. is an immunologist in the Pre-Clinical Biology group. As a Senior Scientist and Principal Investigator at IDRI his research interests include:
- Developing novel adjuvanted vaccines for bacterial diseases including tuberculosis that have a major impact on global health.
- The cellular and molecular mechanisms of adjuvant activity.
- Immunologic characterization and development of new vaccine adjuvants.
Mark is also an Affiliate Assistant Professor in the University of Washington, Department of Global Health Interdisciplinary Pathobiology Program. He has published over 25 peer-reviewed articles in the fields of immunology and vaccine development. He is a member of the American Association of Immunologists and serves on the editorial board of Frontiers in NK Cell Biology.
Mark received his Ph.D. from the Department of Immunology at the University of Washington. His thesis work with Dr. Chris Wilson was focused on the immune evasion strategies employed by herpes simplex virus. Mark did his postdoctoral work with Dr. Lewis Lanier at the University of California, San Francisco, where he researched the response of natural killer (NK) cells to viral infection, studying both the signaling pathways and educational programs that shape NK cell responses to infection in vivo.
JULIE EARLY, PHD
Julie Early is a Scientist I in the TB Drug Discovery Group. Julie’s work involves several aspects of early stages of drug discovery for tuberculosis. Her work focusses on microbiological aspects including assay development, high throughput screening, and progression of compound series using numerous biological techniques to profile compounds. She is also involved in identifying the mechanism of action of anti-tubercular compounds.
Julie received her BSc in cell biology from St. Cloud State University. She received her Ph.D. from Oregon State University, where her thesis work involved the characterization of the intracellular phenotype of Mycobacterium avium. After a brief time working on the lvh type IV secretion system of Legionella pneumophila, she returned to studying Mycobacteria. She appreciates that her work at IDRI is applied and will lead to an improvement in the lives of tuberculosis patients in the future.
SHILAH BONNET, PHD
Shilah Bonnett is a Scientist I in the TB Drug Discovery group at IDRI. Shilah’s work focuses on the development of target based high throughput screens to identify potential drug candidates for the treatment of tuberculosis.
Shilah received her BSc in Environmental Science/Toxicology from Western Washington University and her PhD in Chemistry from Portland State University. Her graduate research focused on the enzymology of tRNA modification in bacteria. Prior to joining IDRI in 2013, Shilah worked at Portland State University as a Postdoctoral Scientist studying the metabolic pathways and enzymes involved in the generation of natural products (drug discovery) and olefins (biofuels development).
YULIA OVECHKINA, PHD
Director, High Throughput Screening
Yulia Ovechkina is the Director of High Throughput Screening for the Tuberculosis Discovery Research Group at IDRI. Her work is focused on maintaining existing and developing new screening assays and automated workflows as well as data analysis and database management.
Yulia has an extensive expertise in the assay development, assay miniaturization, high throughput screening (HTS), automation and data analysis. Previously, she developed an innovative High Content Screening HTS platform, OncoPanel, to profile therapeutic cancer agents across 240 human tumor cell lines at Ricerca Biosciences (formerly MDS Pharma Services). Prior to joining Ricerca Biosciences, she developed in vitro cellular immunology assays as a postdoctoral research fellow at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, Department of Immunology in Seattle, WA. Yulia earned Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics from the University of Washington and M.S. in Molecular Genetics from the Ohio State University. She received B.S. in Cytology and Genetics from the Novosibirsk State University in Russia. She has authored or co-authored more than 12 peer-reviewed publications and is a member of the editorial advisory board of the Combinational and High Throughput Screening (CCHTS) journal.
MALCOLM DUTHIE, PHD
Malcolm Duthie is a Senior Scientist at IDRI. Malcolm’s main research interest lies in determining and examining the host/pathogen interactions that initiate and control immune responses, how these interactions can be beneficially manipulated, and, ultimately, their practical application within disease control programs.
Malcolm received his training through a BSc (Hons) Immunology from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and a Ph.D. in Medical Microbiology from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He then conducted postdoctoral work at the University of Washington where he examined protective and pathologic immune responses during experimental T. cruzi infection. He now works with an extensive network of collaborators in several countries to identify vaccine candidates and develop new diagnostic tools to improve the control of neglected tropical diseases, with particular focus on leprosy and leishmaniasis.
Malcolm is currently an Affiliate Assistant Professor, Department of Global Health, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle; a Visiting Professor to the CAPES-Fiocruz/CDTS long-term collaboration program in Brazil; and a Foreign Expert Consultant to Center for Major Infectious Disease, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China. Malcolm serves as a member of the Editorial Boards of Infection and Immunity (2012-17) and Journal of Advances in Diseases Diagnosis (2014-) and is a member of the American Association of Immunologists, American Society for Microbiology and American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and British Society for Immunology.
DAVID ROBERTS, PHD
Scientific Operations Manager
David Roberts is the Scientific Operations Manager for the Tuberculosis Discovery Research Group and is the Biological Safety Officer for IDRI. His work includes management of the BioSafety Level 2 and 3 laboratories, including training personnel.
Originally from Kenbridge, VA, David obtained his BSc in Biology from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. He then went on to perform his graduate studies on the mechanisms of pathogenesis of Borrelia spp. causing Lyme disease in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Medical College of Virginia under the supervision of Dr. Richard Marconi. David came to the Northwest and performed his postdoctoral studies under David Sherman at the University of Washington, where he learned the ins-and-outs of Mycobacterium tuberculosisbiology and pathogenesis.
SAMUEL NJIKAN, PHD
Samuel Njikan is a Postdoctoral Scientist at IDRI. His main work focuses on developing an artificial lymph node system for the assessment of responses to human vaccines. In addition, Samuel also investigates the direct effect of adjuvant treated macrophages on the growth inhibition of disease causing pathogens such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, West Nile Virus, Leishmania and Influenza virus.
Samuel obtained a Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Sciences (BMLS) from the University of Buea in Cameroon. He then moved to Cape Town, South Africa where he obtained a Master of Science in medicine in the field of hematology and a PhD in clinical science and immunology all from the University of Cape Town. His PhD thesis with Prof. Willem Hanekom aimed at identifying correlates of risk of TB disease in infants with differential response to BCG vaccination.
Jill Ashman, MS
Director, Clinical Operations
Jill has worked in the field of international health and development, infectious diseases and clinical trials for over 40 years. After working as a bench scientist in clinical chemistry she joined the Voluntary Services Overseas and worked in Latin America as a professor of biology and biochemistry and on UNICEF field studies. Jill was the co-founder of Agrosalud, a non-profit health care program in rural Guatemala and collaborated with the University of Miami Field Epidemiology Survey Team on projects in the San Blas archipelago in Panamá, including cholera intervention, scabies and head lice studies. After working more than a decade in the field of HIV and AIDS, coordinating HIV vaccine trials at SCHARP, she joined IDRI in 2003 to set up and manage clinical vaccine trials.
Jill earned a BSc first class Honours degree in Zoology from the University of St. Andrews and a MS in Epidemiology from the University of Washington.
Zachary Sawaga, MS
Zack is IDRI’s Regulatory Manager, part of the team that enables moving IDRI’s vaccines from the lab into human clinical trials. He is responsible for regulatory submissions and all other interactions with regulatory authorities around the world. He provides support to clinical development and operations efforts, including writing and editing funding proposals, protocols, informed consent forms, and many other types of clinical trial documentation. He also oversees the design and execution of GLP toxicity studies, a critical final step before IDRI’s vaccines can be tested for safety and efficacy in humans.
Zack has an M.S. in Biomedical Regulatory Affairs from the University of Washington. His background is in biological science research, having completed an M.S. in Biology from the Rockefeller University and several years’ experience as a Research Scientist in academia. He graduated with a B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Washington, where he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Research Fellow.
AMIT KHANDHAR, PHD
Amit Khandhar is a scientist in the Formulations group. He is developing new formulation platforms that serve as efficient vehicles to deliver vaccine antigens and/or adjuvants to augment antigen-specific response.
Amit earned his B.S. in Materials Science & Engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle, then joined Prof. Kannan M. Krishnan’s research group and earned his Ph.D. in 2013. Building on his Ph.D. research developing magnetic nanoparticle tracers for Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI), he co-founded LodeSpin Labs LLC where he led the preclinical development of the first long-circulating blood pool MPI tracer. He joined IDRI’s formulations team in 2017 to engineer materials with defined nanoscale properties that can enable rapid translation of emerging vaccine platforms from lab to clinic.
BRYAN BERUBE, PHD
As a postdoctoral scientist in the Tuberculosis Discovery Research group, Bryan Berube works on elucidating the mechanism of action of a series of compounds active against TB. He is using this knowledge to help design novel drugs and combination therapies to fight TB.
Bryan received his B.S. in Biology in 2007 from Grinnell College in Iowa. Following a summer of aquatic biology work, he moved to Chicago and worked as a research technician at the University of Chicago. While there he got my first real taste of microbiology and the BSL3, working on a vaccine against the pneumonic plague. He continued at the University of Chicago for his PhD in the lab of Juliane Bubeck Wardenburg studying secreted toxins of Staphylococcus aureus. After completing his PhD, he moved to Northwestern University for a year as a Postdoctoral Scientist working with small-molecule inhibitors of Type III secretion in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In 2016, he moved to IDRI as a Postdoctoral Scientist. Bryan is pleased to combine his passions for microbiology and global health and contribute to the discovery of novel therapeutics to treat tuberculosis.
JESSE ERASMUS, PHD
Jesse Erasmus is a postdoctoral scientist in the Preclinical & Translational Research group at IDRI. He is particularly interested in genetic and host determinants of virus replication and how this knowledge can be applied towards the development of self-replicating RNA vaccine platforms for emerging infectious diseases.
Jesse received his B.S. in Biology at Utah Valley University in 2012 and his PhD in Virology and Vaccine Development from the University of Texas Medical Branch in 2016. His doctoral work, under the direction of Dr. Scott Weaver, focused on the application of insect-specific viruses as vaccine and diagnostic antigen platforms, with proof-of-concept disease targets including Venezuelan and eastern equine encephalitis, as well as chikungunya.
SASHA LARSEN AKINS, PHD
Sasha is a postdoctoral scientist in the Preclinical Tuberculosis group at IDRI. She is involved with vaccine design and efficacy screening in different models of mycobacterial infections.
Sasha hails from sunny San Diego and athletics took her to Stockton, CA, where she earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biological sciences from the University of the Pacific. She moved to Bethesda, MD, where she studied emerging infectious diseases at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
During her doctoral studies, Sasha investigated primary human immunodeficiencies, lymphocyte cell death and metabolic pathways as well as memory T cell subsets in the laboratory of Dr. Andrew Snow. She is completing her postdoctoral training at IDRI and is excited to use her background in adaptive immunity to help optimize vaccine strategies for pathogens like Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
YIZHI (STACEY) QI, PHD
Stacey is a postdoctoral scientist in the Formulations group at IDRI, currently working on adjuvant development and vaccine formulation.
Stacey received her bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering, with a focus on polymeric biomaterials, from Case Western Reserve University. During her undergraduate studies, Stacey worked in the laboratory of Dr. Anirban Sen Gupta to develop a polymeric micelle formulation of a photosensitizer for photodynamic therapy of cancer. In 2010, Stacey joined the laboratory of Dr. Ashutosh Chilkoti at Duke University to pursue her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering.
Her doctoral research focused on developing a next-generation protein-polymer conjugation technology to improve the delivery of therapeutic biologics and to address some of the limitations of the current gold-standard PEGylation technology. Stacey has also completed an internship at BASF in Germany where she formulated and tested novel herbicides in plants.
JAKE SMITH, PHD
Jake Smith is a postdoctoral scientist in the TB Discovery Research group at IDRI. He works in a team exploring new molecules to treat tuberculosis; specifically, he is focused on the design, selection and synthesis of molecules for series in the discovery pipeline.
Originally from east Texas, Jake completed his bachelor’s at Rice University before moving to Washington University in St. Louis for his Ph.D. studies focused on electrochemically generated radical cations under Kevin Moeller. After graduating, he worked as a postdoc on novel methodology for the synthesis of insulin derivatives in the lab of Danny Chou at the University of Utah. In 2016, Jake moved to Seattle and joined IDRI, where he is excited to contribute to the fight against antibiotic resistance.
Corey Casper, MD, MPH
Chief Scientific Officer
Corey Casper was named as IDRI’s Chief Scientific Officer, leading scientific operations and executing the scientific strategy for the organization, in April 2018. He joined IDRI as its Chief Medical Officer in May 2017 and continues to oversee all medical activities for the organization.
Corey came to IDRI from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington, with extensive experience leading multi-phased international clinical trials from conception to publication to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensure. In his role as IDRI’s Chief Medical Officer, Corey is developing and leading all clinical trial programs for IDRI from preclinical to Phase III, including oversight and management of data functions.
Corey has more than 20 years of experience in designing, growing and sustaining internationally-recognized programs in infection-related cancers, HIV, infection control and global oncology. Corey most recently served as a Full Member in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease, Clinical Research and Public Health Sciences Divisions at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center where he founded and directed the one of the nation’s first and most effective outpatient infection control programs; he also founded and directed the first Global Oncology program at a designated comprehensive cancer center. At the University of Washington, Corey was appointed as a Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health, and served as the Co-Director of the Center for AIDS Research. Corey has held several clinical positions, including serving as an attending physician for the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance’s Infectious Disease Consult Service.
Corey obtained an undergraduate degree in Biology from Wesleyan University, his MD from Cornell University Medical College and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Washington.
Christina Thomson, JD
Christina Thomson serves as IDRI’s General Counsel, overseeing all legal matters for the organization, including intellectual property transactions, patents, and agreements. She joined IDRI in 2017 as Associate General Counsel before being promoted to General Counsel in 2018.
Previously serving in the General Counsel role for both public and private life sciences companies as well as the Compliance Officer and Corporate Secretary for a public company, Christina has broad strategic “in-house” experience, including extensive experience with intellectual property and partnership transactions, financings, patent portfolio development, compliance and other legal matters. Previously, Christina worked as a scientist at Myriad Genetic Laboratories and she trained as a patent attorney at the intellectual property firm, Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP in California. Christina is registered a registered patent attorney and is licensed to practice law in California and Washington.
Having earned her J.D. from the University of Utah, Christina also has a masters degree in biology (completing coursework for a Molecular Biology Ph.D) and has a minor in chemistry from the University of Utah and has taken coursework in global health from the University of Washington. She previously served on the Board of Directors of the Technology Alliance Group (TAG NW) in Bellingham, WA.