Management Team

Team Spotlight

 
 
 
 

Lijun Sun, PhD

Co-founder & Head of Discovery

Associate 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

Dr. Finith Jernigan, III, PhD

Co-founder

Dr. Jernigan is a co-founder of Silicon Therapeutics and was instrumental in developing the underlying technology INSITE. Prior to founding Silicon Therapeutics, Dr. Jernigan was at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, where his focused on identification of tool compounds using novel in silico screening approaches for targets identified by BIDMC investigators. This work, performed in the labs of Drs. Sun and Chaikof, led to the creation Silicon Therapeutics’ proprietary drug discovery platform, INSITE. Prior to that, Dr. Jernigan earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the lab of Dr. David S. Lawrence. His work at the University of North Carolina focused on the synthesis and development of fluorescent sensors of kinases and the proteasome. This work led to multiple publications in top chemistry journals, including Journal of the American Chemical Society and Angewandte Chemie International Edition. Dr. Jernigan holds a B.S. in Biochemistry from Salisbury University, a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and was a postdoctoral fellow at BIDMC/Harvard Medical School.

Lanny Sun

Co-founder & CEO

Venture 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


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 SACHDEVA

Vipin 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, PHD

Bryce 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, PHD

Dr. 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, PHD

Shuai 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

HPC Cluster

Neo is our HPC cluster housed at the MGHPCC in Holyoke, MA. Neo is comprised of 64 GPUs in 16 nodes. Each node has 2 Intel Xeon processors for a total of 16 cores with 64 GB of memory. Altogether, the system has almost 230000 Nvidia GPU cores for running CUDA and OpenCL jobs. Neo spends most of it’s time running free energy perturbation simulations for our drug discovery projects 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.

Andres Calderon

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 focused 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. He has been involved in several drug-discovery projects ranging from HIV to cancer, which has resulted in the identification of drug-like leads. In addition, Dwight helped develop MMPBSA.py, which is a program that can be employed in end-state free energy calculations, as well as a developer of 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.

Jialin Luan

Business Development Analyst

Jialin Luan is a BD Analyst at Silicon Therapeutics, working on projects and initiatives that span across financial modeling/analytics, business development and data management. In this role, she also works closely with internal team to enhance business strategies, coordinate and facilitate meetings and conferences timely and effectively. She holds a MS degree from University of Connecticut in Financial Risk Management with a Quantitative Risk concentration. While in UConn, she also worked at an Investment Management firm as a Research Assistant, where she built various financial/distribution models and enhanced the investment performance of the firm’s Portfolio Managers by providing research and analysis, regarding individual stocks, industries and other macroeconomic topics. Jialin is also a founding member of the Mathematical Modeling Association and active member of Toastmaster Club and CFA Society.

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.