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Baculovirus Technology - 2011 Speaker Biographies - Bioprocessing Summit

Loy Volkman, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, Plant & Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley

Loy E. Volkman earned her B.A. degree in zoology in 1967 at the University of California, Riverside, and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in 1971 and 1973, respectively, in microbiology at the University of Washington, Seattle. Her career studying baculovirus pathogenesis began in the mid 70’s as a postdoctoral fellow in the Max D. Summers laboratory at University of Texas. In 1979, the University of California, Berkeley awarded her a Chancellor's Distinguished Lectureship, and in 1980, an Assistant Professorship in insect virology. During her 28- year career at Berkeley (1979-2007), Dr. Volkman was recognized both for her teaching (recipient of the 1999-2000 College of Natural Resources Distinguished Teacher Award), and for her research (AAAS fellow 1998). The Volkman lab’s research elucidated early interactions of baculoviruses with their hosts, both in vivo and in vitro. As part of this work, the Volkman lab identified the actin cytoskeleton as an essential target of viral modification and exploitation. In 2006, they joined forces with Berkeley cell biologist Matthew Welch and colleagues to elucidate viral protein Ac p78/83’s central role in virus-mediated actin manipulation. (Science 314,464-468, 2006; J.Cell Biol. 190, 187-195, 2010). Dr. Volkman serves as a science advisory board member for Expression Systems in Woodland, CA.

Imre Berger, Ph.D., Group Leader, Structural Biology Unit, EMBL Grenoble

Imre Berger was trained as a Biochemist at Leibniz University and Medical School (MHH) in Hannover, at the MIT, and at ETH Zurich. He researches multiprotein complexes in human gene regulation. Dr. Berger In 2007, Berger moved his laboratory from ETH to the EMBL at Grenoble, in a joint appointment with the EMBL Genome Biology Program, Heidelberg. Dr. Berger is member of the International Research Unit of Virus Host-Cell Interactions (UVHCI) and head of the eukaryotic expression facility (EEF) at the EMBL. Dr. Berger, together with Dr. Daniel Fitzgerald (Eclosion SA. Switzerland), has developed the MultiBac system for multiprotein expression. Funded by the European Commission, he has installed the MultiBac platform for protein complex production at the EMBL. Dr. Berger holds international patents for expression technologies, and received numerous awards, including the Swiss Technology Award and the W.A. DeVigier Foundation Award for his innovative research. Dr. Berger will present recent developments and successful application of the MultiBac platform, in academic and industrial R&D.

Robert S. Ames, Ph.D., Director, Cellular Targets, Biological Reagents and Assay Development, GlaxoSmithKline

Bob earned his Ph.D. in the Department of Microbiology at the George Washington University, Washington D.C. and before joining the pharmaceutical industry he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX. Currently, within GlaxoSmithKline’s Molecular Discovery Research division he is a Director in the Biological Reagents and Assay Development department based in Collegeville. PA. The department is focused on developing reagents and cell based assays to support drug discovery efforts from target validation through HTS and SAR.

Kim Stutzman-Engwall, Ph.D., Associate Research Fellow, Pfizer Global R&D Groton Labs

Kim received her Ph.D. from Iowa State University in Molecular Genetics followed by post-doctoral studies at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison in the laboratory of Prof. C. Richard Hutchinson. She joined Pfizer Central Research in 1990 in the Bioprocess R&D group where she worked for several years on metabolic engineering projects in Streptomyces. In 2003, Kim transferred to Protein, Cell, and Assay Technologies R&D and started a mammalian cell culture lab to support expression of recombinant proteins in eukaryotic cells. Her lab became interested in applying Bacmam technologies to facilitate the generation of cell-based reagents to support multiple screening efforts in drug discovery and development. In 2009, Kim joined the Neuroscience Research Unit and continues to support cell line development for Neuroscience projects.

Kari Airenne, Ph.D., Professor, Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine, A.I. Virtanen Institute, University of Kuopio

Dr. Kari Airenne received his Ph.D. in 1998 in Molecular Biology from the University of Jyväskylä, Department of Biological and Environmental Science, Jyväskylä, Finland. His doctoral work under supervision of Professor Markku Kulomaa dealt with a set up of a production system for recombinant avidins. In 1998 he moved to University of Kuopio (since 2010 University of Eastern Finland) for postdoctoral training to learn Gene Delivery and Gene Therapy under supervision of the Academy Professor Seppo Ylä-Herttuala and has since then worked in close collaboration with him in different positions and projects. In 2004 he was pointed as an Adjunct Professor (Docent) in Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine and since 2005 he has been the acting Professor of Molecular Medicine at the A.I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences, Department of Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine, University of Eastern Finland (http: http://www.uef.fi/aivi/), Kuopio, Finland. He has published many papers in peer reviewed journals and books. Prof. Airenne has over 15 years of experience in baculovirus work and is a pioneer in the development of baculoviral vector technology for gene delivery into vertebrate cells. He is also an expert on gene therapy, recombinant protein production and avidin-biotin technology.

Ross Taylor, Ph.D., Director, Process Development, LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Dr. Taylor is currently the Director of Process Development at LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he leads a team involved in upstream and downstream process development, process scale-up and tech transfer for GMP manufacturing of virus-like particle vaccine candidates. Prior to joining LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals, he worked as both a postdoctoral fellow and research faculty member at Montana State University examining the structural basis of reactive oxygen species generation by phagocytic leukocytes. Dr. Taylor has over 15 years experience in protein production, purification and characterization, with emphasis placed on integral membrane proteins and virus-like particles.

Just M. Vlak, Ph.D., Professor, Vice-Dean and Member Academic Board, Laboratory of Virology, Wageningen University

Dr. Just M. Vlak (1947) is professor at the Laboratory of Virology, Wageningen University, the Netherlands (since 1996), and former Head of the Invertebrate Virus Research Group. His background is biology and biochemistry (UtrechtUniversity). In 1980 he spent one year at TexasA&MUniversity, College Station, USA, with professor Max D. Summers. His current areas of interest are viruses in crop protection, aquaculture and human and veterinary health. His main research interest is the study of baculoviruses (insect viruses), which can be used as (i) biocontrol agents for insect pests, as (ii) expression vectors for recombinant proteins (vaccines), and as (iii) gene therapy vectors. Furthermore, he studies viruses of crustaceans, notably of shrimp. He authored over 350 papers in international journals and books, and his papers are cited more than 6500 times. He has major collaborations with the ChineseAcademy of Sciences (Wuhan, China) and with CanThoUniversity (Vietnam), and with many research institutes around the world. 

Professor Vlak has been Director of the Wageningen Graduate School ‘Production Ecology and Resource Conservation’ (2002-2007), Vice-President, President and Past-President of the International Society for Invertebrate Pathology (2002-2008), and is honorary professor of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, China (since 1996). He supervised over 40 PhD students. Currently he is Head of the Laboratory of Virology, Member of the Academic Board of Wageningen University, Vice-Dean for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Rector Magnificus.

Arie van Oorschot, Scientist, Upstream Processing, Process Development, Amsterdam Molecular Therapeutics (AMT)

Arie van Oorschot, studied Bioprocess Technology at Wageningen University. After obtaining his MSc, he worked for four years on the scale up of the baculovirus-insect cell system in an academic environment. During an additional 6 years, he further specialized in cell culture process development in industry, including innovative process development of tissue-engineered bone constructs and vaccines. Arie van Oorschot started to work at Amsterdam Molecular Therapeutics (AMT) 8 years ago. He was highly involved in the first transfer of a lab-scale process into a GMP environment at AMT, needed to generate clinical grade gene-therapy products. This was followed by the transfer of the used mammalian production system into a non-mammalian production system, subsequent process validation and technology platform development.

Daniel Fitzgerald, Ph.D., Eclosion SA

Daniel Fitzgerald was born and raised in America and received a PhD from Purdue University in 1999 studying evolution of DNA sequences. His post-doctoral studies at the ETH in Zürich, Switzerland focused on method development for multiprotein expression in baculovirus. Together with Imre Berger from EMBL Grenoble, Daniel developed the Multibac baculovirus expression system (Nat. Biotechnol. 22, 1583-7, 2004. Nat. Methods 3, 1021-32, 2006. Structure 15, 275-9, 2007). Since 2006 Daniel has co-founded two biotechnology-oriented startup companies, and is presently focused on developing enabling technology for fermentor-scale production of biologics by the baculovirus system. Daniel has received numerous fellowships and awards, including the McKinsey Venture 2010 prize for innovative startup companies, and the Swiss Technology Award and W.A. DeVigier Foundation Award for innovative research.