Lijun Sun, PhD
Co-founder & Head of DiscoveryAssociate Professor & Director of Center for Drug Discovery and Translational Research Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center, Harvard Teaching Hospital
Dr. Sun is a co-founder and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board at Silicon Therapeutics. He is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and the Director of Center for Drug Discovery and Translational Research at the Department of Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Previously, Dr. Sun held executive positions in a number of emerging biotech companies where he led anticancer and antiinflammation drug discovery and development programs. His most recent positions include Vice President of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Science at Theracrine, Inc., a Flagship Venture startup that focused on the discovery of antimetastatic anticancer therapeutics. Prior to this, he was the Vice President of Chemistry at Synta Pharmaceuticals, where he was instrumental in building the Company’s entire program portfolio including the first-in-class anticancer NCEs elesclomol (Phase-3), ganetespib (Phase-3), and apilomod (Phase-2), as well as the immune modulator Ro-2959 (pre-IND). He also played leadership roles in scientific due diligence that led to $1+ billion deals with GSK and Roche, respectively.
Dr. Sun is a co-inventor of >100 issued or pending US patents covering novel chemical entities, manufacturing processes, formulations, and physical forms. He has authored >30 peer-reviewed publications in virtual screening, structure-based drug designs, and chemical biology. He received his Ph.D. degree in organic chemistry from Emory University and trained as a postdoctoral research fellow in biomedical research at Emory Medical School
Co-founder & CEOVenture Partner, Chengwei Capital
Lanny co-founded Silicon Therapeutics and handles the firms day to day operations as well as partnership and financing initiatives. He has spent his entire career in the healthcare sector working across a number of industries including drug discovery, CRO, investment banking, consulting, venture capital, private equity and non-profits. He started his career on Wall Street with Deutsche Bank Securities where he focused on Healthcare M&A and financings, completing over USD3.0bn worth of M&A and financing transactions. He then went on to assist multiple US teaching hospitals and private equity firms in their China market entry strategy as relating to healthcare, advising on over USD300mm in cross border transactions and developments including an USD250 million aged care community in Shanghai and a USD50 million cross border medical technologies fund. He joined Chengwei in 2015 to help the firm drive its healthcare portfolio strategy, including computational drug discovery and biotechnologies. He received his Bachelors of Science in Economics from Trinity College in Hartford, CT.
Woody Sherman, PhD
Chief Science Officer
Dr. Sherman joins Silicon from Schrödinger, a leader in computational chemistry software development, where he was vice president and global head of the Applications Science team, helping pharmaceutical companies apply computational chemistry tools to challenging targets. He was also part of the senior management team and was involved in modeling services, methods development, and product management. Dr. Sherman is a leader in molecular simulations and computer-aided drug design, with over 70 publications covering novel methods and applications. He completed his Ph.D. at MIT with Professor Bruce Tidor, PhD, where he examined the role of electrostatics and dynamics in protein-ligand binding, and developed a novel method for optimizing ligand binding specificity across a panel of (desirable and undesirable) targets. Dr. Sherman has published on a broad range of topics, including free energy simulations, molecular dynamics, induced-fit docking, virtual screening, lead optimization, selectivity design, cheminformatics, and protein design.He is on the Editorial Board of Chemical Biology & Drug Design and the Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling.
JAMIE RICE, PHD
Dr. James Rice is a Senior Investigator at Silicon Therapeutics with expertise in adaptive immunology/ immuno-oncology and multiplexed immunoassay development During his postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Rice developed multiple FRET assays in an effort evaluate the Antizyme/Antizyme Inhibitor PPI as a potential prostate cancer therapeutic target. Additionally, he developed peptide and mRNA based cancer vaccines through a collaboration with Department of Nanomedicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. His previous work at Ciencia, Inc. included the development of a novel SPCE multiplexed immunoassay platform for the detection of autoreactive T cells in Type I diabetes. Dr. Rice serves on the editorial board two peer-reviewed immunology journals and has authored numerous publications in the fields of basic and applied immunology. Dr. Rice studied at the University of Connecticut where he earned a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology for his work on CD4+ T cell signaling and effector development.
VIPIN SACHDEVAVipin Sachdeva is a Principal Investigator in Silicon Therapeutics. Vipin was most recently with IBM in their T. J. Watson Research Center as a Senior Engineer working with several key IBM HPC clients including US and UK national laboratories on performance and programmability aspects of IBM's OpenPOWER initiative. Vipin’s previous work has applied high-performance computing to a wide variety of workloads including computational biology, seismic and other domains on several generations of IBM's hardware including Power, BlueGene and Cell processors. Vipin has over 10 years of experience of parallel programming and optimizing applications for CPUs, GPUs and other specialized hardware. Vipin is main author of a book chapter on multicore programming, over 30 refereed publications and has given multiple invited talks and has reviewed for multiple conferences and journals. He is a recipient of IBM's Outstanding Technical Achievement Award.
Bryce Allen, PHDBryce is a Senior Investigator with STX and directs STX informatics infrastructure, which coordinates data storage, access, and analysis across the company. Allen’s doctoral research focused on large-scale computational screening and machine learning approaches to drug discovery, where he designed, tested and validated a large-scale high-throughput computational screening pipeline to discover novel multitarget inhibitors in kinase and epigenetic signaling space. This pipeline integrated ligand and structure-based models to prioritize chemical scaffolds using a combination of Bayesian statistics, docking, and molecular dynamics simulations. Additionally, he was a member of the Data Coordination and Integration Center for the Library of Integrated Network-based Cellular Signatures (LINCS), where he helped standardize and process chemical entities used in LINCS assays. Since joining the team at Silicon Therapeutics, Bryce has focused on data-driven approaches to improving molecular modeling methodology through the integration of chemical, genomic, and proteomic datasets to learn actionable therapeutic insights from orthogonal sources using machine learning and statistics. He received his PhD from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine under the supervision of Dr. Stephan Schürer and Dr. Nagi Ayad.
Brian Chamberlain, PHDDr. Brian Chamberlain is a Senior Investigator at Silicon Therapeutics specializing in drug discovery, medicinal chemistry and organic synthesis. Dr. Chamberlain has directed hit-to-lead multi-parameter optimization campaigns in diverse disease indications. He joins us from Yuma Therapeutics where he lead the medicinal chemistry work on Yuma’s lead compound for the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease which is currently in IND-enabling studies. His previous role in biotech also led to the successful outlicensing of a therapeutic to a major pharmaceutical company. Dr. Chamberlain’s academic training includes a Ph.D. from USC and a post-doctoral appointment at UCLA in Professor Michael Jung’s lab studying medicinal chemistry and complex molecule synthesis. Dr. Chamberlain is a co-author of 12 peer-reviewed manuscripts and two patents.
Shuai Liu, PHDShuai is an Investigator at Silicon Therapeutics working on developing and using computational tools to aid the drug design. Shuai got his PhD in Dr. David Mobley’s lab at UC Irvine where he focused on projects using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to predict binding free energies. He helped design a tool (LOMAP) to plan the relative binding free energy calculations and used MD to calculate how the solvents modulate solubility etc. Prior to joining Silicon, Shuai was a postdoctoral associate at UCSD supervised by Dr. Mike Gilson and Dr. Rommie Amaro where he analyzed the results of D3R Grand Challenges (blind challenges to predict binding poses and affinities). He also helped design a Python-based cross-docking workflow for Continuous Evaluation of Ligand Pose Prediction (CELPP).
Neo is our HPC cluster housed at the MGHPCC in Holyoke, MA. Neo is comprised of 256 GPUs in 64 nodes. Our first generation nodes have Intel Xeon processors for a total of 16 cores and 64 GB of memory. Our more recent nodes have Intel Skylake processors, with 16 cores and 96 GB of memory. Altogether, the system has almost 3 petaflops of peak single-precision power from almost a million Nvidia GPU cores for running CUDA and OpenCL jobs. Neo spends most of it’s time running a wide variety of drug discovery computational workloads including free energy perturbation, force field generation, docking and validation studies of our INSITE platform (and of course Neo plays video games in its spare time). Neo was born in Taiwan and immigrated here sometime in 2016 to work for STX. Neo runs Ubuntu with SLURM for scheduling of compute jobs.
Executive Assistant and Office Manager
Andres Calderon is an Executive Assistant and Office Manager at Silicon Therapeutics. As a multi-talente, young professional and having worked steadily since high school, Andres has established a broad foundation of proficiency in multiple platforms, with an emphasis on customer service and cutting-edge creativity.
As an assistant to several different managers, Andres honed his craft as an event coordinator with an eye towards administrative organization. Eventually he began work as a barista at the highest volume Starbucks on the East Coast, where he again stood out as one of the store’s first certified Coffee Masters. Since graduating Andres has worked for several high-end catering and food service industries, which has helped him to gain an ever-increasing network of connections while developing in all aspects of customer relations. Working as part of already established teams and emerging startups both, Andres is well-versed in the in’s and out’s of day-to-day operations, and has always been noted for his prodigious work ethic and teambuilding in all work environments.
Matthew Cullen, PhD
Dr. Matthew Cullen is a Senior Investigator at Silicon Therapeutics with expertise in medicinal and synthetic chemistries. Prior to joining Silicon, Dr. Cullen was a Senior Scientist and Program Leader at Proteostasis Therapeutics, where he developed a clinical candidate for a deubiquitinase and made multiple contributions to their portfolio of CFTR modulators (amplifiers, correctors, potentiators) for the treatment of cystic fibrosis. Dr. Cullen is named as an inventor on severaland author on more than a dozen pharmaceutical patents and has authored research publications across a variety of disciplines, including medicinal chemistry, synthetic methodology, drug discovery, and molecular pharmacology. Dr. Cullen studied at Purdue University where he obtained a Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology for his research on optimizing a novel series of inhibitors for HIV reverse transcriptase.
Dazhi Tan, PhD
Dazhi is a Senior Investigator at STX focusing on developing the physical models, aka “force fields”, for the INSITE computational drug design platform. Prior to joining Silicon Therapeutics, Dazhi worked as a research fellow at D. E. Shaw Research, a biotechnology firm in New York, where he substantially improved the force field parameters for nucleic acids and successfully elevated their accuracies to the same level as state-of-the-art protein force fields. Dazhi received his PhD from Prof. Liang Tong’s group at Columbia Univeristy, where he primarily used X-ray crystallography to characterize the structures and functions of multiple protein-RNA complexes involved in the post-transcriptional processing of mRNAs.
Zhixiong Lin, PhD
Zhixiong is a Senior Investigator at Silicon Therapeutics working on the development of free energy simulation methods and applications in Silicon’s drug discovery programs. Zhixiong did his PhD in a joint program between the University of Science and Technology of China and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology under the supervision of Prof. Haiyan Liu and Prof. van Gunsteren studying molecular dynamics, force fields, and free energy methods. He then continued with Prof. van Gunsteren for his postdoc where he focused on developing highly efficient free energy simulation methods and enhanced sampling techniques. Prior to joining Silicon, Zhixiong was a Senior Scientist at Adagene (Suzhou) Limited leading the computational group, where they developed methods related to antibody discovery and applied computational tools in their antibody discovery programs.
Dwight Mcgee, PhD
Dwight is a Senior Investigator at Silicon Therapeutics and focuses on developing workflows and applications for docking and virtual screening that can be leveraged to help guide computer aided drug design. Prior research efforts, involved using molecular dynamics to understand the mechanisms of how drug-resistant mutations reduce the efficacy of known inhibitors and evaluating the shifts in pKa values of protein residues in the apo and bound forms. Specifically, he has been involved several successful drug-discovery projects ranging from HIV to Cancer that has resulted in the identification of drug-like leads. In addition, Dwight assisted in the development of MMPBSA.py, a program that can be employed in end-state free energy calculations, as well as the software docking program DOCK6. Dr. McGee holds a B.S. and M.S. from Florida A & M University, Ph. D. from the University of Florida and was an AGEP-T FRAME postdoctoral fellow at Stony Brook University.
Christopher Winter, PhD
Chief of R&D
Dr. Winter has held research leadership positions in pharmaceutical companies and emerging biotechnology firms over the past 15 years. During that time, he has delivered nine targeted cancer therapies into clinical testing. He joined Sanofi in 2013 as Sanofi Oncology’s Head of Discovery Biology and became site lead in 2015. He joined Sanofi from Blueprint Medicines, where he served as Head of Biology. The first biologist recruited by Blueprint, Dr. Winter built an outstanding interdisciplinary team and led the company’s first drug discovery project. The product of that effort, a first-in-class small molecule drug targeting FGFR4 for the treatment of liver cancer, is now advancing in clinical trials. Prior to Blueprint, Dr. Winter held senior research positions at Merck Research Laboratories and Exelixis, Inc. He received a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences from Binghamton University and a PhD in Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics from Columbia University. He was a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University in the Department of Biological Sciences.
Kristen Marino, Ph.D
Kristen is a Senior Investigator at Silicon Therapeutics with expertise in the application of MD simulations and enhanced sampling methods to characterize the conformational changes of protein targets for drug design. Kristen completed her PhD in Chemical Engineering at Princeton University in the group of Prof. Emily Carter. Prior to joining Silicon Therapeutics, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City with Prof. Marta Filizola working on the application of enhanced sampling methods to characterize binding pathways of ligands to GPCRs. She was also awarded a Marie Curie fellowship to work with Prof. Francesco Gervasio at University College London to determine the effects of oncogenic mutations on kinase activation.
Holly Soutter, PhD
Dr. Holly Soutter is Associate Director of Biophysics and Biochemistry at Silicon Therapeutics bringing more than a decade of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors. She joins us from X-Chem Pharmaceuticals where she led a group responsible for assay development and validation, protein expression and purification, protein characterization, structural biology, and biophysics. In her previous role at Pfizer, she provided structure-based drug design support for projects in multiple therapeutic areas including in oncology, anti-infectives, immunology, cardiovascular and inflammation. She is co-inventor of multiple clinical candidates, co-author of 22 peer-reviewed manuscripts and two patents.
Sharon Shechter, PhD
Sharon is a principle Investigator at Silicon Therapeutics with expertise in computer-aided drug design, bioinformatics, and software engineering. Before joining Silicon Therapeutics, she ran a computational drug design consulting boutique (Shechter Computational Solutions) where she focused on two major targets (Galectin-3 and Importin a/b). Those efforts have yielded 4 patents and a high-profile publication (Nature Reports). Prior to that, she was the Head of Computational Discovery at Karyopharm Therapeutics where she was involved with the discovery of a novel Exportin1 inhibitor, which is currently in phase 3 clinical trials. Another novel compound she discovered, targeting PAK4 and NAMPT, recently entered clinical trials. She is author on 30 research publications and patents.
Laboratory Manager & Operations Lead
Gino began his career in the Laboratory Operations field at X-CHEM Pharmaceuticals in Waltham, MA. In his two years there he played an important role in developing laboratory and administrative operations while receiving training certifications in life sciences. In 2013, he joined Agilux/Charles River as the sole Lab Operations member at their USDA regulated InVivo Laboratory in Worcester, MA. During his five years there, he became proficient in all aspects of laboratory logistics including metrology, hazardous waste management, hazardous shipping and receiving, compound management, sample quality control, project coordination, purchasing and inventory management. Gino provides operational excellence to the Silicon laboratory operations and played a key role in the laboratory build-out supporting biology, chemistry and biophysics. He is a highly motivated team player who seeks solutions to all problems and believes there is no task too big or small. He graduated from Nichols College with a BSBA Degree in Business Management.
Deqiang Niu, PhD
VP, Head of Chemistry
Dr. Niu is a highly achieved medicinal chemistry leader with an extensive background in drug discovery. He joined us from Celgene Corporation (Cambridge, MA), where he was Director of Chemistry since 2012. At Celgene, Dr. Niu oversaw a chemistry team and an analytical & purification group, as well as medicinal chemistry projects at various stages. He served as a member of both the cross sites Chemistry Leadership Team and the site Research Management Team. Prior to Celgene, he spent 11 years in the medicinal chemistry groups at Enanta pharmaceuticals, Biogen, and Avila Therapeutics with increasing responsibility. His research experience covers viral & bacterial infection, oncology, immuno-oncology, inflammation, and autoimmune diseases. Dr. Niu and his teams have contributed to 10+ development candidates over the years. Among those are paritaprevir (FDA approved in 2014), rociletinib (PhIII), AVL292 (Ph II), CC-90003 (Ph I). Dr. Niu is a co-inventor on 60+ issued patents and patent applications. Dr. Niu obtained a B.S. and an M.S. degree in chemistry from Peking University, and received his PhD in organic chemistry from New York University. He was a post-doctoral fellow at Columbia University in the Chemistry Department.
Meghana Kulkarni, PhD
Principal Scientist, Discovery
Dr. Meghana Kulkarni is Principal Investigator, Discovery at Silicon Therapeutics bringing expertise in drug discovery focused on delivering novel therapeutics for Oncology/IO applications. She joins us from AstraZeneca where she was the Biology lead on multiple Oncology programs responsible for developing and executing pre-clinical studies from target validation, lead generation and optimization to biomarker development. In her previous role at the Belfer Institute at Dana Farber Cancer Institute she developed the discovery platform using genetic tools including CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing and led a multi-institution initiative to immuno phenotype patient tumor samples. Dr. Kulkarni received her PhD degree in Genetics from Michigan State University. She was a Howard Hughes post-doctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School where she conducted research focused on elucidating the protein interaction network around the PI3K-AKT-mTOR signaling pathway.