Benjamin F. Cravatt, Ph.D., Chairman
Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical Physiology
at The Scripps Research Institute
Dr. Cravatt’s research group is interested in understanding the roles that enzymes play in physiological and pathological processes, especially as pertains to the nervous system and cancer. To address this challenge, they develop and apply an array of biochemical, chemical, and genetic technologies.
The Cravatt group has obtained fundamental insights into the chemical, biochemical, and physiological workings of several important mammalian serine hydrolases, including enzymes involved in the neurobiology of pain and in proteases associated with tumor progression.
Dr. Cravatt obtained his undergraduate education at Stanford University, receiving a B.S. in the Biological Sciences and a B.A. in History. He then trained with Drs. Dale Boger and Richard Lerner and received a Ph.D. in Macromolecular and Cellular Structure and Chemistry from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in 1996. Professor Cravatt joined the faculty at TSRI in 1997 as a member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology and the departments of Cell Biology and Chemistry. His honors include a Searle Scholar Award (1998-2001), the Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry (2004), a Cope Scholar Award (2005), the Irving Sigal Young Investigator Award (2007) and the Tetrahedron Young Investigator Award in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry (2008).
Richard and Alice Cramer Professor of Chemistry
at The Scripps Research Institute
Dale Boger received his B.Sc. in chemistry from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas (1975, with highest distinction and honors in chemistry) and his Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard University (1980) under the direction of E. J. Corey.
Professor of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute and Memeber, Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology
Phil S. Baran is currently a Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute and Member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology. Phil received his B.S. in chemistry from NYU in 1997, his Ph.D. at The Scripps Research Institute in 2001, and from 2001-2003 he was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at Harvard. His independent career began in the summer of 2003 and in 2006 he was promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure. In 2008 he was promoted to Full Professor and in 2009 he was appointed to the Skaggs Institute.
Christopher T. Walsh, Ph.D.
Hamilton Kuhn Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School (HMS)
Dr. Walsh’s research spans the interface between chemistry, biology and medicine. Projects focus on the chemical logic and enzymatic machinery of life, mechanism-based enzyme inhibitors, and biosynthesis and mechanism of action of natural antibiotics and antitumor agents.
Dr. Walsh’s career has spanned both academic research and academic administration; the latter includes stints as Chair of MIT Chemistry department at MIT (1982- 1987), Chair of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology Department at HMS (1987 – 1995), and President and CEO of Dana Farber Cancer Institute (1992 – 1995). Dr. Walsh earned an A.B. in biology from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in life sciences from The Rockefeller University and completed postdoctoral work at Brandeis University. He has co-authored almost 800 research papers and books. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.
For over 30 years, Dr. Walsh has consulted with government, academic institutions, pharmaceutical companies and biotechs. At present, he is a member of the Board of Directors of Ironwood, Achaogen and Proteostasis, as well as on the Scientific Advisory Boards of Eisai, Epizyme, Verastem, and LS9. He is also involved with several nonprofit organizations, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Scientific Review Board), Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (Scientific Advisory Committee) and Calibr (Scientific Advisory Board Chair).
Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D.
Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at the Massachusetts General Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease
Dr. Tanzi’s research is focused on identifying and characterizing gene mutants and variations that are associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. His group discovered mutations in three genes, amyloid precursor protein (APP), presenilin (PS)-1 and (PS)-2, that cause early-onset familial Alzheimer’s Disease. His lab is developing several potential treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease. Dr Tanzi’s group has also discovered genes implicated in other neurological disorders, such as Wilson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, and autism.
Dr. Tanzi received a B.S. from the University of Rochester with a double major in microbiology and history and a Ph.D. in neurobiology from Harvard University. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Metropolitan Life Foundation Award for Medical Research and The Potamkin Prize for Research in Pick’s, Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders. In addition, he is a member of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and chairs the Research Consortium at Cure Alzheimer’s Fund where he heads the Alzheimer’s Genome Project.
Dr. Tanzi serves on many editorial boards, including Genomind Scientific Advisory Board, Prana Biotechnology R&D Advisory Board, and Lifeboat Foundation Advisory Board. He has published over 300 research articles and co-authored two books, ‘Decoding Darkness: The Search for the Genetic Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease’ and ‘Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-Being;’ the latter was made into a PBS special.
Jules A. Hoffman, Ph.D.
Distinguished Class Research Director at CNRS, French National Center of Scientific Research (Emeritus) and Group Leader, Past President of the French National Academy of Sciences, and Professor of Biology at the University of Strasbourg Institute for Advanced Science
Dr. Hoffmann’s research has focused on studies of the development and the defense reactions of insects. In exploring the potent antimicrobial mechanisms of Drosophila as a paradigm for innate immune defenses, he and his group have determined the role of Toll receptors in fighting infections.
Dr. Hoffmann received his Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Strasbourg. He completed postdoctoral studies at the Institut für Physiologische Chemie at Philipps Universität in Marburg an der Lahn, Germany. He is a Member of the French National Academy of Sciences, where he served as Vice-President (2005-06) and President (2007-08). He is also a Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. Dr. Hoffmann is a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Russian Academy of Sciences. He is the recipient of many international awards including the Canada Gairdner Award (2011), the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine (2011), the Alexander von Humbold Price, the Robert Koch Prize, and the Lewis Rosenstiel Prize. Dr. Hoffmann has published over 250 articles and edited several volumes.
Gregory C. Fu, Ph.D.
Attair Professor of Chemistry, California Institute of Technology
Dr. Fu received a B.S. degree in 1985 from MIT and a Ph.D. degree in 1991 from Harvard, which was followed by two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology. He was a member of the faculty at MIT from 1993–2012, where he became the Firmenich Professor of Chemistry. In 2012, he was appointed the Altair Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology.
Shiv Pillai, MD, Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine and Health Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard Medical School
Dr. Pillai completed his medical studies at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, in south India, and went on to obtain a PhD in Biochemistry from Calcutta University working with Dr. Bimal Bacchawat. He was an investigator at the Kothari Center for Gastroenterology in Calcutta until 1983, and was a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. David Baltimore at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge from 1984-1988.
Since 1988 he has been a faculty member at the Cancer Center and the Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He discovered surrogate light chains and the pre-B receptor as a post-doctoral fellow, and his laboratory at MGH has been largely focused on studies on B lymphocyte development, signaling, tolerance, the genetic and epigenetic basis of human autoimmune disorders, the immune mechanism that drive fibrosis in human diseases and an enzymatic pathway that may be manipulated to enhance T cell immunity in cancer and chronic viral infections.
Dr. Pillai has served on a number of the Editorial Boards including the Journal of Clinical Investigation and the Journal of Immunology and has participated in and chaired a number of review panels for the National Institutes of Health and other organizations. He is the director of immunology courses taught at Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, and teaches in a number of other courses at both institutions. He has received numerous teaching awards at Harvard, including the Irving London Award and the Thomas McMahon Award, is the author of Lymphocyte Development, and is co-author with Abul Abbas and Andrew Lichtman of Cellular and Molecular Immunology and Basic Immunology.
Nancy A. Thornberry
Senior Level Life Sciences Executive
Nancy A. Thornberry was formerly Senior Vice President and Franchise Head, Diabetes and Endocrinology, for Merck & Co. Inc. In this role, she led discovery and clinical research in diabetes, osteoporosis, fertility and contraception.
Her research at Merck focused largely on the role of enzymes in disease and the identification of therapeutic approaches to enzyme targets, and included work on the caspase family of cysteine proteases, and the dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4) project, which resulted in the discovery of JANUVIA® for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes.