Awardees

2019

Sidi Chen's picture
Sidi Chen, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Genetics

Innovation: Powerful Platform Technologies for Novel I/O Target Identification. 


Sidi Chen joined the Yale Faculty in 2015 as an assistant professor in the Department of Genetics and Systems Biology Institute, also as a member of the Yale Cancer Center and the Yale Stem Cell Center. Chen earned a PhD in evolutionary genetics from The University of Chicago with an award-winning dissertation with Dr. Manyuan Long. After graduation he performed postdoctoral studies at MIT under the mentorship of Dr. Phil Sharp, and also the Broad Institute working with Dr. Feng Zhang. His research focuses on providing a global understanding of biological systems. Leveraging functional genomics and the emerging genome editing technologies and genome-wide in vivo screens, his work has identified and characterized young essential genes, illuminated the regulation of hypoxia and angiogenesis by microRNAs, and developed precision CRISPR-based in vivo models of cancer, and global mapping of functional drivers of cancer oncogenesis and metastasis. His laboratory currently works to develop and apply novel tools for next-generation cancer genetics, genomics and systems biology, and tackle problems in cancer initiation, progression, metastasis, immunity, and therapeutic responses. His group is also interested in developing innovative next generation immuno-oncology therapeutics. 

John Deacon's picture
John Deacon, Ph.D.
Associate Research Scientist

InnovationImproving Small Molecule Therapy Through Targeted Drug Delivery to Solid Tumors


John Deacon’s work aims to revolutionize the way cancer drugs are designed, building in tumor-targeted drug delivery for 95% of cancers through a simple chemical change that can be applied to nearly every class of cancer therapy.   He received a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and his Ph.D. in Molecular Cellular & Developmental Biology from the University of Colorado, Boulder.   John joined Yale in 2012 as a postdoc in the lab of Don Engelman.  The Engelman Lab’s research focuses on an underappreciated characteristic of cancer biology – tumor acidity.  During his postdoctoral research to develop the Engelman Lab’s pHLIP technology for drug delivery, John made a discovery that launched his own research trajectory.  John invented a way to impart tumor-targeted delivery on virtually every class of small molecule drugs with just a small chemical change, producing the first orally bioavailable platform for tumor-targeted drug delivery.  John has led the development of his technology, raising over $1.5M in funding since 2015, both within the Engelman Lab and independently, and managing a large collaborative research effort.

 
Naftali Kaminski's picture
Naftali Kaminski, M.D.
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Professor of Medicine (Pulmonary); Section Chief, Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine

InnovationCuring Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis with Thyroid Hormone Mimetics


Dr. Naftali Kaminski is, as of July 1st, 2013, the Boehringer-Ingelheim Endowed Professor of Internal Medicine and Chief of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, at Yale School of Medicine. Before that he was a tenured professor of Medicine, Pathology, Computational Biology and Human Genetics, and the Dorothy P. and Richard P. Simmons Endowed Chair for Pulmonary Research at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Kaminski was the director of the Dorothy P. and Richard P. Simmons Center for Interstitial Lung Disease and the Lung, Blood and Vascular Center for Genomic Medicine at the division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine in University of Pittsburgh. Dr Kaminski received his medical degree from the Hebrew University - Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem, Israel, and completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Hadassah Mount-Scopus University Hospital in Jerusalem, and a fellowship in pulmonary medicine at Sheba Medical Center in Tel-Hashomer, Israel. Dr Kaminski received his basic science training in Dean Sheppard’s laboratory at the Lung Biology Center at UCSF and in functional genomics and microarray technology at the Functional Genomics laboratory at Roche Bioscience, Palo-Alto. After his fellowship in 2000, Dr. Kaminski was appointed head of Functional Genomics at Sheba Medical Center in Israel, before being recruited to head the Simmons Center at the University of Pittsburgh in 2002.

Andrew Miranker Ph.D.'s picture
Andrew Miranker Ph.D.
Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and of Chemical and Environmental Engineering

InnovationWrangling Rogue Proteins

Anna M. Pyle's picture
Anna M. Pyle, Ph.D.
Sterling Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Professor of Chemistry; Director, Division of Biological Sciences

InnovationNontoxic Antifungals that Target RNA


Anna Marie Pyle is the William Edward Gilbert Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and Professor of Chemistry at Yale University. She has been a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator since 1997. Dr. Pyle obtained her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Princeton University and received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Columbia University in 1990, where she worked with Professor Jacqueline K. Barton. Dr. Pyle was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Thomas Cech at the University of Colorado. Dr. Pyle formed her own research group in 1992 in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Columbia University Medical Center. In 2002, she moved to Yale University, where she leads a research group that specializes in structure and function of large RNA molecules and RNA remodeling enzymes. Dr. Pyle teaches the undergraduate Molecular Biology course at Yale and she is Chair of the Building Committee for the new Yale Biology Building. Dr. Pyle is the Chair of the MSFA Study Section at the NIH, and previously served as a permanent member on the MSFE, and MGB Study Sections. At Brookhaven National labs, she serves on the Science and Technology Steering Committee and on Beamline Advisory Teams at the NSLSII light source.

Aaron Ring Ph.D.'s picture
Aaron Ring Ph.D., M.D.
Assistant Professor of Immunobiology

 InnovationBreaking the Vicious Cycle of Inflammation and Cell Death in Sepsis


Aaron Ring received his undergraduate training at Yale University and entered the Stanford Medical Scientist Training Program for his MD and PhD degrees. At Stanford, he worked in the laboratories of K. Christopher Garcia and Irving Weissman to use structure-based protein engineering to develop new cytokine and immune checkpoint therapies for cancer. He additionally developed novel methodologies in protein engineering to create biologic agents against challenging targets such as G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). Aaron joined the faculty of the Yale Department of Immunobiology in 2016 as the Robert T. McCluskey Yale Scholar. The focus of his research is to understand and manipulate the activity of immune receptors using structural and combinatorial biology approaches.

David Spiegel's picture
David Spiegel, M.D., Ph.D., A.B.
Professor of Chemistry

InnovationMODA Pharmaceuticals: Targeted Elimination Platform for Pathogenic Extracellular Proteins


The Spiegel lab develops novel chemical methods to enable the synthesis of a variety of complex molecular targets, including natural products. These synthetic materials will be used to study the molecular mechanisms that underlie human disease processes (e.g., cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes) as well as to develop novel therapeutic approaches to these conditions. Overall, students in the Spiegel lab receive in-depth training in organic synthesis as well as to techniques in molecular and cellular biology.

 
Paul Turner Ph.D.'s picture
Paul Turner Ph.D.
Elihu Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

InnovationDeveloping Phages as Evolution-Proof Therapies Against Drug-Resistant Bacteria


The Turner group is interested in examining how viruses evolutionarily adapt to overcome new challenges, such as emergence on novel host species, transmission via new arthropod vectors, survival at elevated temperatures, or changes in host immunity. Their work also examines how viruses can be used in phage therapy as an alternative to traditional antibiotics, and in oncolytic therapy against cancers. They employ a wide variety of study systems, including bacteria-bacteriophage studies, and tissue culture experiments using molecular virology models such as vesicular stomatitis virus and Sindbis virus, and disease pathogens such as dengue virus.

2018

Jeffrey Bender's picture
Jeffrey Bender, M.D.
Robert I. Levy Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) and Professor of Immunobiology

Innovation: Novel Oligonucleotide Strategy to Specifically Inhibit IL-17A Gene Expression shows In Vivo Activity in Animal Model of Multiple Sclerosis. (Development Grant winner)

Akiko Iwasaki's picture
Akiko Iwasaki, Ph.D.
Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Immunobiology and Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology

Innovation: RIG-I agonists as next-gen immunotherapies. (Development Grant winner)

Team: Akiko Iwasaki/Anna Pyle

Anna Pyle's picture
Anna Pyle, Ph.D.
Sterling Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Professor of Chemistry; Director, Division of Biological Sciences

Innovation: RIG-I agonists as next-gen immunotherapies. (Development Grant winner)

Team: Anna Pyle/Akiko Iwasaki

Aaron Ring's picture
Aaron Ring, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Immunobiology

Innovation: Engineered IL-18 immunotherapy: An untapped cytokine pathway. (Development Grant winner)

Alanna Schepartz's picture
Alanna Schepartz, Ph.D.
Sterling Professor of Chemistry

Innovation: Cell permeable miniature proteins: demonstrated platform superiority against third party platforms. (Development Grant winner)

Paul Turner's picture
Paul Turner, Ph.D.
Elihu Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

InnovationPhage therapy increases effectiveness of antibiotics for treating multi-drug resistant bacterial infections. (Development Grant winner)

 

2017

Anton Bennett's picture
Anton Bennett, Ph.D.
Professor of Pharmacology and of Comparative Medicine; Co-Director, Program in Integrative Cell Signaling and Neurobiology of Metabolism; Director, BBS Minority Affairs

Innovation: Developing a chemical drug design platform to establish rich intellectual property for a first-in-class therapeutic for the treatment of fibrosis which accounts for nearly 45% of all deaths in the developed world. (Development Grant winner)

Elliott Brown's picture
Elliott Brown, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging

Innovation: A novel bone marrow aspiration device that limits blood contamination and maximizes stem cell recovery while also increasing the area of bone sampled 45-fold compared to current devices. (Pilot Grant winner)

Michael Giradri's picture
Michael Giradri, M.D.
Professor, Vice Chair, and Program Director for the Department of Dermatology

Innovation: A multi-functional bioadhesive nanoparticle platform that has the potential to revolutionize the suncare industry. (Pilot Grant winner)

Team: Michael Girardi/W. Mark Saltzman

Andrew Miranker's picture
Andrew Miranker, Ph.D.
Professor of Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry

Innovation: Advancing a small molecule that is water soluble, non-toxic and crosses the plasma membrane and can work in conjunction with existing diabetes drugs to improve long-term b-cell health. (Pilot Grant winner)

Anna Marie Pyle's picture
Anna Marie Pyle, Ph.D.
William Edward Gilbert Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Professor of Chemistry; Director, Division of Biological Sciences

Innovation: Developing a proprietary class of molecules to be used as tumor vaccines. (Pilot Grant winner)

W. Mark Saltzman's picture
W. Mark Saltzman, Ph.D.
Goizueta Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Chemical & Environmental Engineering & Physiology

Innovation: A multi-functional bioadhesive nanoparticle platform that has the potential to revolutionize the suncare industry. (Pilot Grant winner)

Team: W. Mark Saltzman/Michael Girardi

Alanna Schepartz.'s picture
Alanna Schepartz., Ph.D.
Milton Harris ‘29 Ph.D. Professor of Chemistry & Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

Innovation: A robust technology for trafficking diverse protein materials into the cytosol and nucleus with high efficiency and intact form to deliver personalized therapeutics. (Development Grant winner)

Stephen Strittmatter's picture
Stephen Strittmatter, M.D., Ph.D.
Vincent Coates Professor of Neurology and Professor of Neuroscience; Director, Cellular Neuroscience, Neurodegeneration and Repair; Director, Memory Disorders Clinic; Director, Yale Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center

Innovation: Developing select inhibitors to slow, halt or reverse the course of Alzheimer’s disease. (Development Grant winner)

Andrew Xiao's picture
Andrew Xiao, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Genetics

Innovation: Developing therapeutics around a novel epigenetic mechanism aimed at end-stage tumors that are resistant to standard therapies. (Development Grant winner)

2018 Blavatnik Fund Awardees2017 Blavatnik Fund Awardees