Andrea van Elsas joined Lava as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board In April 2018. He is a venture partner with Third Rock Ventures. Previously, he served as Chief Scientific Officer at Aduro Biotech following the acquisition of BioNovion, a company he co-founded in 2011. From 1999 to 2011, he held various positions at Organon (acquired by Schering-Plough and later by Merck) in Oss, The Netherlands, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. He directed the immuno-oncology portfolio and led the anti-PD1 program that later became known as pembrolizumab. As a postdoctoral researcher, Andrea worked in the lab of 2018 Nobel Laureate Jim Allison at the University of California, Berkeley and is a co-inventor on the original anti-CTLA-4 patents that formed the basis for the development of ipilimumab, the first checkpoint inhibitor approved in 2011 by the FDA for the treatment of melanoma. Dr. van Elsas holds a Ph.D. in Immunology and Oncology from the University of Leiden.
Dr. James Patrick (Jim) Allison is an American immunologist and a 2018 Nobel laureate who holds the position of professor and chair of immunology and executive director of immunotherapy platform at the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas. Dr. Allison has spent his career studying the regulation of T cell responses. His work led to the development of an antibody to human CTLA-4 called ipilimumab which became the first immune checkpoint blockade therapy ever approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The approval of ipilimumab cleared the path for the emerging field of immune checkpoint blockade therapy in the treatment of cancer. Currently, his work is focused on improving immune checkpoint blockade therapies and identifying new targets to unleash the immune system and eradicate cancer. Dr. Allison is a member of the National Academies of Science and Medicine and is currently Chair of the Department of Immunology, the Vivian L. Smith Distinguished Chair in Immunology, the Executive Director of the Immunotherapy Platform and Co-Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Madhav V. Dhodapkar, MBBS, is the Anise McDaniel Brock Chair and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Cancer Innovation and Professor in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Dhodapkar serves as director of the Winship Center for Cancer Immunology, and as leader of the Cancer Immunology Research Program at Winship Cancer Institute. Prior to joining Emory, he served as Chief of Hematology, the Arthur H. and Isabel Bunker Professor of Medicine (Hematology), and Professor of Immunobiology at Yale University School of Medicine. An expert in the treatment of multiple myeloma, he also was co-director of the Cancer Immunology Program within the Yale Cancer Center. Other faculty appointments include Myeloma Institute in Little Rock, Arkansas, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, New York, and The Rockefeller University in New York, New York. A board-certified hematologist and medical oncologist, Dr. Dhodapkar specializes in the treatment of multiple myeloma and other hematological malignancies. His primary clinical and scholarly focus is the immuno-biology of myeloma and the development of novel biological approaches to treat cancer.
Dieter Kabelitz was a full professor at the University of Kiel and Director of the Institute of Immunology from 1999 to 2018, where he continues to work as a senior research group leader. Previously, he was Head of the Department of Immunology at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute, Langen/Germany, and Associate Professor at the University of Heidelberg/Germany. From 2011 to 2012 he served as President of the German Society for Immunology (DGfI). He was a Council member of the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS) and is the current chair of the Education Committee (EDU) of IUIS. His scientific expertise is in the field of the functional characterization of human gamma/delta T cells. Dieter Kabelitz’ major interest is to explore strategies around increasing the effector functions of gamma delta T cells for the potential use in immunotherapy of cancer. Prof. Kabelitz has more than 30 years of research experience in immunology and has published more than 390 papers in peer-reviewed journals and edited or co-edited several books.
Dr. Sharma is a professor of Genitourinary Medical Oncology and Immunology in the Division of Cancer Medicine, the T.C. and Jeanette Hsu Endowed Chair in Cell Biology, the Scientific Director of the Immunotherapy Platform and the Co-Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. She is focused on understanding resistance mechanisms within the immune system that impact anti-tumor responses and for more than a decade, she has been a principal investigator for multiple clinical trials to improve the efficacy of cancer immunotherapies. Dr. Sharma’s work on new pathways to treat prostate cancer implicated for the first time in a human tumor the checkpoint VISTA in inhibiting immune responses. In partnership with Dr. Allison, Dr. Sharma is currently exploring combinations of immunological therapies and targeted drugs in preclinical studies to treat a variety of cancers more effectively.
Prof. Dane Wittrup attended the University of New Mexico as an undergraduate, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachlor’s in Chemical Engineering in June 1984. Wittrup went on to attend the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, where he worked with Prof. James Bailey on flow cytometry and segregated modeling of recombinant populations of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. After obtaining his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Biology in 1988, he spent a brief time working at Amgen before becoming an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1989. He moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in September of 1999, where he is now the C.P. Dubbs Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biological Engineering, in addition to working with the Koch Institute as the Associate Director for Engineering.