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Event Detail (Archived)

Accelerating Academic Drug Discovery

  • This event already took place in September 2023
  • Carson Family Auditorium (CRC)

Event Details

Seminars in Clinical Research
John Ginn, Ph.D., Senior Director, Chemistry, Sanders Tri-Institutional Therapeutics Discovery Institute
Leigh Baxt, Ph.D., Senior Associate Director, Biology, Sanders Tri-Institutional Therapeutics Discovery Institute
Elisabeth (Betty) Nyakatura, Ph.D., Senior Associate Director, Antibody Engineering, Sanders Tri-Institutional Therapeutics Discovery Institute
Speaker bio(s)

John is a medicinal chemist with over nineteen years of drug discovery experience. John received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and then attained his PhD in 2001 at Emory University with Dr. Albert Padwa. Following this John joined Boehringer-Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals in Ridgefield, Connecticut as a medicinal chemist where he worked on and led drug discovery programs for both inflammation and cardiovascular disease indications. In 2017 John joined TDI as a Director of Chemistry. At TDI John has been part of multidisciplinary teams focused on identifying proof of concept for programs in a variety of therapeutic areas most recently in tuberculosis, malaria, and oncology.

Leigh leads the biology strategy for a portion of the small molecule portfolio at TDI including efforts to evaluate and triage small molecules as the first step in translating basic science to translational research. Prior to joining TDI Leigh trained in infectious diseases completing a PhD at Stanford University followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School and a position as a staff scientist at the Broad Institute where she learned translational research methods. Leigh is also passionate about outreach into the scientific community providing mentoring, education and consulting on translational research and career paths. Leigh has partnered with a number of groups on outreach and mentoring efforts and was a member of the 2022 Women In Power Fellowship coordinated by the 92Y and the Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact.

Betty heads the Antibody Engineering team at TDI, bridging partnerships in academia and industry to develop antibody-based therapies. In this role, she oversees the generation and optimization of biologics drug candidates and leads biologics discovery programs. Prior to joining TDI, Betty was a Research Assistant professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Her work guided the development of antiviral antibodies. Betty is a passionate advocate for equitable access to high-quality science education. She thrives to motivate people to push against barriers and to inspire upcoming generations to leave a positive impact on the world.

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