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Previous Speakers (2020)

Some seminars were recorded and accessible for a limited time on our youtube channel.

September 3rd, 2020 

Host: Katherine Donovan 

Carolyn Bertozzi - 2017 Final - 2 Credit

Targeted degradation of extracellular proteins​

Carolyn Bertozzi is the Baker Family Director of Stanford ChEM-H and the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Humanities and Sciences in the Department of Chemistry at Stanford University. She is also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Her research focuses on profiling changes in cell surface glycosylation associated with cancer, inflammation and infection, and exploiting this information for development of diagnostic and therapeutic approaches, most recently in the area of immuno-oncology. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She also has been awarded the Lemelson-MIT Prize, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, the Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize, among many others. 

Link to the recorded seminar:

September 17th, 2020

Host: Mikolaj Slabicki 

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Ray Deshaies

How Multispecific Drugs Are Transforming Amgen’s Pipeline​

Prior to joining Amgen, Deshaies served as a professor at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and an executive officer in Caltech’s Division of Biology and Biological Engineering. He was also an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He has published over 150 papers on various subjects including discoveries of Sec61 translocon, cullin–RING ubiquitin ligases, and proteolysis-targeting chimeric molecules (Protacs).
In addition to his academic work, Deshaies co-founded Proteolix in 2003. In 2011, he co-founded Cleave Biosciences.
Deshaies holds a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


October 1st, 2020 

Host: Katherine Donovan 

History and future of thalidomide analogs in human health​

Phil obtained his B.A. and D.Phil. degrees from the University of Oxford before traveling to the U.S. to work at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF). At GNF Phil supported and led projects in serious respiratory and inflammatory disease and solved multiple novel structures. Phil joined Celgene in 2007 and built and led the Structural and Chemical Biology department, most recently as Executive Director, Protein Homeostasis and Structural Biology. Phil was responsible for several fundamental scientific breakthroughs on the mechanism of action of thalidomide analogs, including the structural basis for cereblon recruitment and the definition of the neosubstrate ‘structural degron’. Phil led the construction of the cereblon modulator platform at Celgene, the pioneering drug discovery effort in the ‘molecular glue’ field. Phil has published work on targeted protein degradation in journals including Nature, Nature Structural and Molecular Biology and Nature Chemical Biology. Phil was the recipient of the John W. Jackson leadership award.

Link to the recorded seminar:

October 15th, 2020 

Host: Radoslaw Nowak

Craig Crews
Yale University

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PROTACs:  The Past, Present and Future of Targeted Protein Degradation​

Craig Crews is the American Cancer Society and John Malone Professor of MCDB, Chemistry, and Pharmacology at Yale University.  For the past twenty years, his lab has pioneered the new field of ‘Targeted Protein Degradation’, i.e., PROTACs, as a novel therapeutic modality that has the potential to target currently ‘undruggable’ disease-causing proteins. In 2013, Dr. Crews founded the New Haven-based biotech venture, Arvinas, Inc., which is testing the first PROTAC-based drugs in clinical trials for prostate and breast cancer.  Dr. Crews has received numerous awards and honors, including the Ehrlich Award for Medicinal Chemistry (2014), the National Cancer Institute R35 Outstanding Investigator Award (2015), the AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry in Cancer Research (2017), the  Khorana Prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry( 2018), the  Pierre Fabre Award for Therapeutic Innovation (2018), and the Pharmacia-ASPET Award for Experimental Therapeutics (2019).

Link to the recorded seminar:

October 29th, 2020 

Host: Xiaoxi Liu / Alyssa Verano

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Nathanael Gray
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute / Harvard Medical School

Developing Small-Molecule Kinase Degraders as a New Drug Discovery Approach​

Nathanael Gray, PhD, is the Nancy-Lurie Marks Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He also leads the Dana-Farber Program in Chemical Biology. Dr. Gray’s research centers on drug development and medicinal chemistry related to targeted therapies for cancer. Four drugs that he has had a hand in developing have already been approved the US Food and Drug Administration or are currently in clinical trials. Before joining Harvard and Dana-Farber, Dr Gray was director of the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation. He earned his PhD degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Link to the recorded seminar:

November 12th, 2020 

Host: Katherine Donovan

Alessio Ciulli
University of Dundee

How PROTAC degraders work and why the ternary complex matters​

Alessio Ciulli holds the Personal Chair of Chemical Structural Biology at the School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee. Dr Ciulli’s laboratory has made important contributions to selective chemical intervention on protein-protein interactions targets and to the development of proteolysis-targeting chimeric molecules (PROTACs) as a viable strategy for targeted protein degradation. Amongst his most significant discoveries are the fragment-based design of ligands for the E3 ligase von Hippel-Lindau (VHL), and their use to design one of the first VHL-based PROTACs: the BET degrader MZ1. Dr Ciulli’s Lab later illuminated fundamental insights into PROTACs’ mechanism of action, solving the first crystal structure of a PROTAC ternary complex. Dr. Ciulli is also the scientific founder of Amphista therapeutics, a company that develops new protein degradation platforms.

Before joining Dundee, Dr Ciulli was a group leader at the University of Cambridge, where he previously earned his PhD degree.

Amongst his honours are the EFMC Prize for Young Medicinal Chemist in Academia, the RSC Capps Green Zomaya Award in medicinal computational chemistry, and election as Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Link to the recorded seminar:

November 19th, 2020 

Host: Breanna Zerfas


Reimagining Druggability using Chemoproteomic Platforms​

Dan Nomura is a professor in the Departments of Chemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology, and Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the director of the Novartis-Berkeley Center for Proteomics and Chemistry Technologies focused on using chemoproteomic platforms to tackle the undruggable proteome. Dr. Nomura is also the co-founder for Frontier Medicines. Dr. Nomura is an editor for Cell Chemical Biology. He earned his B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology and Ph.D. in Molecular Toxicology with Professor John Casida at UC Berkeley and was a postdoctoral fellow at The Scripps Research Institute in chemical physiology with Professor Ben Cravatt before returning to UC Berkeley as a faculty member in 2011. Among his honors are selection as a Searle Scholar, American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award, and the Mark Foundation for Cancer Research ASPIRE Award.Research in the Nomura Research Group is focused on reimagining druggability using chemoproteomic platforms to discover new disease therapies. 

December 3rd, 2020 

Host: Katherine Donovan


Small-molecule-induced protein polymerization​


Researchers from the Ebert and Fischer lab teamed up to solve the elusive mechanism of a BCL6 degrader, BI-3802. By employing functional screens, biochemical dissection, and structural characterization, they identified that BI-3802 induces BCL6 polymerization, which triggers proteasomal degradation of BCL6. The seminar will be presented by Mikolaj Slabicki (Ebert Lab), Hojong Yoon (Fischer Lab), and Jonas Koeppel (Ebert Lab).

Link to the recorded seminar:

December 17th, 2020 

Host: Mikolaj Slabicki


Nicolas H. Thomä
Friedrich Miescher Institute

What makes two proteins stick: dissecting molecular glue action

The Thomä laboratory is interested in chromatin-bound machines and their regulation by the ubiquitin proteasome system. Guided by structural biology, we use a range of genetic, chemical and complex biochemical reconstitution tools to study protein function in genome maintenance and transcription. A particular focus is on dissecting how chromatin and the ubiquitin transferase system interplay. In recent years, the lab worked towards understanding how proteins, such as ubiquitin ligases, can be re-programmed by small molecules, and how this insight can be used to develop novel drugs.

Dr Nicolas Thomä is a group leader at the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel, Switzerland. He is an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and of Academia Europeana. Dr Thomä is the recipient of the Novartis Leading Scientist Award and holds an ERC Advanced Grant.

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