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Celdara’s Pandemic Security Initiative Introduces Scientific Advisory Board Founding Members

Courtesy of Celdara Medical

Celdara Medical has announced the launch of the Pandemic Security Initiative’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), a group of outstanding scientists and infectious disease experts.

The SAB is an integral part of the initiative, and informs the initiative’s priorities, approaches, and opportunities for collaboration, all in the pursuit of pandemic preparedness.

The Pandemic Security Initiative is addressing this issue by bringing together public and private expertise and resources to identify, vet, and develop tests and medicines in preparation for future pandemics. It seeks to unleash and accelerate the copious innovation already present in our universities, government labs and small businesses to prepare and protect the country from future pandemics. Assembling the Scientific Advisory Board is the next step in the public-private partnership launch plan, bringing the leading minds and labs together to dramatically improve our collective readiness.

The Pandemic Security Initiative is pleased to welcome the following Founding Members to its Scientific Advisory Board:

Jason Botten, Ph.D. – Associate Professor of Medicine, Immunobiology Unit Department of Medicine at University of Vermont

Dr. Botten’s research focuses on host-pathogen interactions among pathogenic RNA viruses (e.g. arenaviruses, coronaviruses, hantaviruses, and flaviviruses) and their human hosts and natural animal or insect reservoirs. His research goals include understanding protective immune responses to infection, discovery of key virus-host interactions that can be targeted for the development of therapeutics and vaccines, developing new cutting-edge assays and reagents for the field, and translating the most promising discoveries into therapeutics and vaccines.

Colleen Doyle Cooper, Ph.D. – Principal Scientist, Celdara Medical

A key member of the Celdara Medical team, Dr. Cooper has led and participated in R&D programs ranging from oncology to fibrosis to infectious disease. She is trained in immunology with specific interests in autoimmunity and infectious disease.

Kendall Hoyt, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor of Medicine, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College

Dr. Hoyt is an Assistant Professor at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and a lecturer at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College where she teaches courses on technology and biosecurity. She serves on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Department of Defense’s Programs to Counter Biological Threats and on the advisory board of the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Jonas Klingström, Ph.D. – Associate Professor, Group leader at Karolinska Institute

The Klingström group aims to understand the mechanisms behind hantavirus pathogenesis and the consequences of infection, focusing on the capacity of viruses to affect normal cell signaling and functions, especially cell death, immune and inflammatory responses. The ultimate goal is to generate a better understanding of the details of virus-induced pathogenesis to aid in the development of specific treatment of patients.

Richard Kuhn, Ph.D. – Trent and Judith Anderson Distinguished Professor in Science, Department of Biological Sciences and Krenicki Family Director, Purdue Institute of Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Disease

Interested in the replication, assembly and structure of RNA viruses with an emphasis on their host interactions, Dr. Kuhn’s molecular studies utilize cutting edge tools in functional genomics, high throughput systems technologies, cell biology, and structural biology. His recent focus has been on model systems in the enterovirus, alphavirus, flavivirus groups, and include viruses such as EV68, EV71, Sindbis, Chikungunya, dengue, Zika, and hepatitis C viruses.

Jonathan Lai, Ph.D. –  Professor, Department of Biochemistry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Dr. Lai’s group is broadly interested in the application of peptide, protein and antibody engineering methods for the discovery and development of novel immunotherapies and vaccines. His projects are highly interdisciplinary and involve aspects such as phage display, structure-based protein design, bispecific antibody engineering, structural biology, virology, and cancer biology.

Carolina Lopez, Ph.D. – Professor and BJC Investigator in the Department of Molecular Microbiology at Washington University

The Lopez Lab uses a multidisciplinary approach to study the intimate relationship of a virus and the organism it infects. It focuses on dissecting the early events that determine the course of infection with various respiratory viruses. The laboratory places particular attention to the role of defective viral genomes generated during virus replication in determining the outcome of infection.

Jason McLellan, Ph.D. – Jason McLellan, Ph.D. – Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Biosciences, The University of Texas at Austin

McLellan Lab seeks to obtain structural information on proteins and their interactions with host macromolecules and translate this knowledge into the rational development of therapeutic interventions such as small-molecule inhibitors, protective antibodies and stabilized vaccine immunogens. These efforts are highly collaborative and involve domestic and international investigators from academia, government, and industry.

Erica Ollmann Saphire, Ph.D. – Professor of the La Jolla Institute for Immunology

Dr. Saphire has galvanized five continents of scientists into a unified force to discover, develop and deliver antibody therapeutics against multiple families of emerging infectious diseases, including most recently SARS-CoV-2. Her research explains, at the molecular level, how and why viruses are pathogenic and provides the roadmap for medical defense. Her team has solved the structures of the Ebola, Sudan, Marburg, Bundibugyo and Lassa virus  surface glycoproteins, explained how they remodel these structures as they drive themselves into cells, how their proteins suppress immune function, and where human antibodies can defeat these viruses.

Ben tenOever, Ph.D. – Professor of Microbiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

The tenOever lab is interested in the way cells have evolved to defend themselves against virus. More specifically, the lab focuses on what constitutes different cellular defense systems, how these systems have been shaped over time, and how viruses circumvent them and cause disease.

“The Pandemic Security Initiative is honored to collaborate with the best and brightest infectious disease researchers in the country, and beyond,” said Dr. Jake Reder, co-founder and CEO of Celdara Medical. “This hand-selected group of experts within the scientific, academic and medical communities will continue to help us advance the Pandemic Security Initiative’s goals by providing insight, innovation, criticism, project selection and more.”

The Pandemic Security Initiative provides a potent layer of security that was previously absent – the proactive development of innovative, purpose-built diagnostics, medicines, and devices in anticipation of future pandemic threats. By unleashing the innovative power of America’s university systems and the $6 billion per year in National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) support allocated to the most promising researchers in the country – including those on this SAB – the Pandemic Security Initiative has a singular mission: to secure our nation against future pandemic threats.

About The Pandemic Security Initiative

The Pandemic Security Initiative seeks to protect the nation from future pandemics by developing tests and medicines that integrate the best of ground-breaking science, entrepreneurial innovation, public-sector investment and private-sector efficiency. Celdara Medical initiated this work in 2014 and formalized it under the Pandemic Security Initiative umbrella in early 2020 to capture learnings from and aid in the response to COVID-19.

Celdara Medical’s Academic Partner Network includes collaborations with over 60 leading universities, and thousands of pipeline innovations from hundreds of universities and research labs spanning all 50 states and dozens of countries. With support from the public and private sectors, including the Department of Health and Human Services, its mission is to identify and develop innovative diagnostics, prophylactics, and therapeutics against pandemic scale threats. The Pandemic Security Initiative is an entrepreneurial, operating, health-security product developer. For more information on the Pandemic Security Initiative visit www.pansec.org.

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