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Ocular Diseases Drug Discovery

2017-09-192017-12-212017-11-21
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The 2018 speakers list is currently being formed.

Please come back and visit this page for updates.

BELOW IS THE SPEAKERS LIST FROM 2017.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Oscar Cuzzani

Oscar Cuzzani
Vice President, Clinical Development
BioTime
Oscar Cuzzani
Vice President, Clinical Development
BioTime
 
About Speaker:

Dr Cuzzani has 25+ years’ experience in ophthalmology in the areas of glaucoma, retina and uveitis and 14 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.

He has an MD and PhD degrees from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 1980 completed a 2-year fellowship of vitreoretinal diseases at Bascom Palmer Eye institute in Miami. Between 1984 and 1986 he was a Visiting Scientist at the National Eye Institute in Bethesda MD working in the Sorbinil Diabetic Retinopathy Trial and the Oral Antioxidants in Age Related Macular Degeneration trial. In 1986 He did a 2-year fellowship in ocular vascular diseases at the University of Iowa. From 1990 until 2001 he was the clinical scientist at the Gimbel Eye Center in Calgary Canada working in several clinical trials in anterior segment and retina.

In 2001 Dr Cuzzani founded ERIC Technologies in Calgary, Canada and in 2007 cofounded of I-Sonic Medical in Paris, France for the development of ophthalmic diagnostic instruments and was awarded US and international patents for the development of new vibration tonometry.

In 2007 he was the clinical director in QLT, Vancouver, Canada where he conducted several phase 2 studies on a punctal plug delivery system for glaucoma, photodynamic therapy for macular degeneration and a phase 1 and 2 in the treatment of Leber Congenital Amaurosis with a new systemic retinoid.

In 2010 he was Associate Medical Director in Immunology at Abbott, later Abbvie Inc., in the Chicago area conducting phase 3 trials in noninfectious uveitis. In July 2013 he became Global Director in Retina and Glaucoma at Allergan in Irvine, California in May 2014 he joined XOMA Corp as Vice-President Clinical Science and since 2016 he joined BioTime Inc as VP Clinical Development, working in the OpRegen trial for Geographic atrophy using hESC derived RPE cells and in the development of the 3-D retina project for vision restoration. He wrote several papers in the areas of retina, glaucoma and 2 book chapters on medical devices. He is a Board Member of the American Association of Physician Scientists, and member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

Kannan Rangaramanujam

Kannan Rangaramanujam
Co-director of the Center for Nanomedicine
John Hopkins
Kannan Rangaramanujam
Co-director of the Center for Nanomedicine
John Hopkins
 
About Speaker:

Dr. Kannan Rangaramanujam is the Arnall Patz distinguished professor of ophthalmology and co-director of center for nanomedicine at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins. He obtained his PhD in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology, and a post-doc from the University of Minnesota. His research interested are in the field of translational nanomedicine, focused on a dendrimer platform and inflammation. He has initiated an interdisciplinary translational research program based on dendrimers, with a specific focus on systemic, targeted drug delivery strategies for a variety of central nervous system and ocular disorders. Dr. Kannan is an author of many patents (issued and pending, licensed), more than 85 peer-reviewed publications. He has won several recognitions, including the NSF CAREER and Unilever awards. His research is primarily funded by NIH. He serves at the Chief Technology Officer of Ashvattha Therapeutics and Orpheris Inc., two spinoffs that are translating his team’s patented dendrimer technologies.

FEATURED SPEAKERS
David Krizaj

David Krizaj
Professor; Dept. of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
Moran Eye Center, University of Utah School of Medicine
David Krizaj
Professor; Dept. of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
Moran Eye Center, University of Utah School of Medicine
 
About Speaker:

Graduated in Physiology & Biophysics from New York University, postdoc at UCSF, currently Professor of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences at the University of Utah, Deputy Director of Research at Moran Eye Center and Co-Director of the Neuroscience Graduate program at the University of Utah.

Michael McCaleb

Michael McCaleb
Vice President
Ionis Pharmaceuticals
Michael McCaleb
Vice President
Ionis Pharmaceuticals
 
About Speaker:
Neil Poloso

Neil Poloso
Director, Biological Research
Allergan
Neil Poloso
Director, Biological Research
Allergan
 
About Speaker:

Neil Poloso received his B.S. in Biology from the University of Delaware (1997) and Ph.D. in Immunology from Emory University (2002).  While at Emory University, he helped develop a method of deriving cancer vaccines from primary tumor tissue using protein transfer of lipid-linked immune-stimulatory molecules.  Following graduate school, Dr. Poloso moved to the National Cancer Institute for a postdoc in the laboratory of Paul Roche studying protein trafficking in antigen presenting cells.  While there, he published three papers on the association of MHC class II with lipid rafts.  Following his time at the NCI, Dr. Poloso moved into the biotech industry, first with Alba Therapeutics, working on characterizing immune effects of their lead compounds for Celiac disease, and shortly thereafter moving to Allergan, Inc. (2008) in Irvine, CA.  At Allergan, Dr. Poloso is currently a Director of Biological Research working to discovery of new therapeutics in the areas of prostaglandins and prostamides in inflammation, hair biology, and metabolic disease.

DISTINGUISHED SPEAKERS
Ghanashyam Acharya

Ghanashyam Acharya
Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology
Baylor College of Medicine
Ghanashyam Acharya
Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology
Baylor College of Medicine
 
About Speaker:

Dr. Ghanashyam Acharya is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Acharya's research program focuses on the development of translational nanomedicine and multifunctional nano drug delivery systems. 

Donald Alcendor

Donald Alcendor
Associate Professor
Meharry Medical College
Donald Alcendor
Associate Professor
Meharry Medical College
 
About Speaker:

Donald Alcendor, PhD is an Associate Professor at Meharry Medical College and an Adjunct Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Alcendor completed his graduate studies at University of California, Davis in Molecular Virology.  He completed his post-graduate studies at the NIH and Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore Maryland in departments of Molecular Virology and Viral Oncology respectively.  Dr. Alcendor is the first to investigate the infectivity of human retinal pericytes for HCMV and their potential role in viral dissemination in the inner blood retinal barrier (IBRB) and the concomitant implications for CMV-associated ocular disease. Dr. Alcendor’s lab utilizes a tri-cell culture model system of the neurovascular unit (NVU) within the IBRB developed with primary human cells that are separately cultivated in a single source medium and infected with low passaged clinical isolates of HCMV from newborns at low multiplicities of infection to mimic human physiological conditions. He finds that retinal pericytes within the IBRB are most permissive for HCMV infection when compared retinal endothelial cells and Müller cells and are involved in the production of proinflammatory and angiogenic cytokines.

There are similarities between Zika virus and Cytomegalovirus ocular pathology.  Dr. Alcendor has recently expanded his studies to develop a pathogenic model and therapeutic intervention for Zika virus induced ocular disease.  DWK-M1 is a novel antiviral that can effectively inhibit Zika virus replication and suppress Zika virus induced inflammation in vitro. DWK-M1 is a non-toxic compound, stable at room temperature that can penetrate target cells.  DWK-M1 has unique features of a therapeutic antiviral for ZIKV associated ocular disease. Currently there is no specific treatment or vaccine for Zika virus infection.  This addresses an urgent unmet medical need for efficacious therapeutics for Zika virus.

Matthias Birkhoff

Matthias Birkhoff
Vice President Marketing
Aptar
Matthias Birkhoff
Vice President Marketing
Aptar
 
About Speaker:

Matthias Birkhoff is Vice President, Marketing, of Aptar Pharma. In this role Matthias is responsible for Aptar Pharma’s Eye Care program and coordinates research and development activities, microbiological assessment and commercial strategies. Matthias started his career in pharmaceutical sales in a major multinational pharmaco before joining Aptar sixteen years ago.

Before getting involved in Business Development and Marketing, Matthias was in charge of sales in the AsiaPacific region. Matthias studied medicine at the University of Dusseldorf, Germany and holds a nursing degree.

Matthias has recently spoken at international events, such as NDD (Nasal Drug Delivery), London/UK, PMP (Pharmaceutical Plastics), Copenhagen/Denmark, Interphex, Tokyo/Japan, CPHI, Pharmapack, AAPS, or the IPA conference in Mumbai/India.

David Culp

David Culp
Director of Research
Powered Research
David Culp
Director of Research
Powered Research
 
About Speaker:

W. David Culp, Ph.D. is the Director of Research for Powered Research. Powered Research is a non-clinical contract research organization specializing in ophthalmology that is in the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. His responsibilities include oversight of all scientific programs for Powered Research. Dr. Culp has a broad background in modeling and analyzing neovascularization, with specific training in analyzing CNV complexes from the Biological Imaging Core Facility in the Division of Intramural Research at the National Eye Institute (NEI). Furthermore, as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina, he tested compounds in models of oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR), and laser-induced CNV models in transgenic mice. He has the skills to perform surgeries and microdissections as well as to image, analyze and interpret data. He has always been a highly-motivated scientist, and was one of the first students to earn a Ph.D. in the NIH Graduate Partnerships Program. Following his postdoctoral training at the University of North Carolina, he was one of the first accepted into the North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s Industrial Fellowship Program. He has authored research plans, scientific articles, and intellectual property documents. He has demonstrated a record of being an innovative and productive scientist.

Emmett Cunningham

Emmett Cunningham
Partner
Clarus Ventures
Emmett Cunningham
Partner
Clarus Ventures
 
About Speaker:
Iain Duncan

Iain Duncan
CEO
NeuMedics Inc
Iain Duncan
CEO
NeuMedics Inc
 
About Speaker:

Over seventeen years in small and startup pharma in executive positions and 20 years in various fortune 50 Corporations. Previously  VP Manufacturing and Supply Chain Operations, with Horizon Therapeutics and directly managed Product Development, Manufacturing, Quality Control, Distribution and Logistics functions. Mr. Duncan formulated, developed and helped commercialize Horizons’ lead product, DUEXIS© (patent pending).  Co-founder of Corus Pharma Inc. (Patent issued) and served as its V.P. of Operations until Corus was acquired by Gilead in August 2006 for $365M. In addition, Mr. Duncan was extensively involved in re positioning a nasally delivered proprietary reformulation of glucagon for acquisition in 2015 by Lilly Canada.

Mr. Duncan has been directly involved with the FDA approval of 3 drugs which are now commercial and the MAA approval of 2 drugs.

 

Sina Fateh

Sina Fateh
CEO
Kali Care
Sina Fateh
CEO
Kali Care
 
About Speaker:

Sina Fateh is a tech entrepreneur with background in ophthalmology. Sina is the Founder and CEO of Kali Care developing smart and connected medications.

Before Kali Care, Sina was part of the founding team of Atheer Labs, a leader in AR technology. Prior to that he was the CEO of Vega Vista, Inc. pioneering smart sensor in smartphones. Sina was part of the surgical team in Europe that developed adjustable eye muscle surgery techniques. He was also the director of the first vision rehabilitation center for patients with visual impairment using VR systems.

He is the author and co-author of more than 80 patents in areas such as VR, connected medication, digital technology in drug delivery, and implants in eye surgery.

Claire Gelfman

Claire Gelfman
Senior Director, Scientific Services
Ora, Inc.
Claire Gelfman
Senior Director, Scientific Services
Ora, Inc.
 
About Speaker:

Claire M. Gelfman, Ph.D., is the Senior Director of Scientific Services at Ora, Inc.  Her responsibilities in this role include the design and implementation of preclinical translational strategies and their integration into the clinical development process for the advancement of ocular therapeutics.  Dr.  Gelfman brings extensive experience in animal model development in the areas of ocular inflammation and retinal degeneration, matching a drug’s mechanism of action with the best ophthalmic disease model.   Her previous work focused on the molecular basis for genetic diseases of the eye, especially related to changes in gene expression using cellular, molecular, and biochemical approaches.  Dr. Gelfman holds a BA in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis, and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from The University of Texas at Austin.    

David Kirn

David Kirn
CEO
4DMT
David Kirn
CEO
4DMT
 
About Speaker:
Andreas Lauer

Andreas Lauer
Kenneth C. Swan Professor of Ophthalmology and Vice-Chair for Education
OHSU
Andreas Lauer
Kenneth C. Swan Professor of Ophthalmology and Vice-Chair for Education
OHSU
 
About Speaker:

Andreas K. Lauer, MD is Kenneth C. Swan Professor of Ophthalmology and Vice-Chair for Education at Casey Eye Institute.  He is Chief for the Vitreoretinal Division and is involved in pre-clinical and human trials for various retinal disorders with particular interest in gene and cell-based therapy.  Dr. Lauer completed his medical education and internal medicine internship at the University of Oklahoma.  He completed ophthalmology residency and vitreoretinal surgery fellowship at Casey Eye Institute – Oregon Health & Science University.  He has been on the Department of Ophthalmology faculty for 16 years.  In addition to research activities, Dr Lauer has been engaged in education and Retina Fellowship Director and Residency Program Director.   Dr Lauer holds positions with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, American Board of Ophthalmology, American Academy of Ophthalmology and the International Council of Ophthalmology.

Brian Levy

Brian Levy
Chief Executive Officer
Ocunexus Therapeutics
Brian Levy
Chief Executive Officer
Ocunexus Therapeutics
 
About Speaker:

Brian Levy O.D., M.Sc., Chief Executive Officer, Ocunexus Therapeutics. Formerly Chief Medical Officer at Aerie Pharmaceuticals and prior to that Corporate Vice President R&D and Chief Medical Officer at Bausch & Lomb where he was responsible for 3 NDA’s for pharmaceuticals (Retisert, Zylet, Besivance) all FDA approved and currently in the market. On the device side of the business he was responsible for 4 PMA’s and multiple 510K’s. Prior to Bausch & Lomb he was Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and prior to that in private practice in Toronto and a clinical investigator and consultant to the ophthalmic industry. He received a Doctor of Optometry degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Science in comparative anatomy and physiology of the eye at U of Waterloo in Canada.

MaryJane Rafii

MaryJane Rafii

Independent
MaryJane Rafii

Independent
 
About Speaker:
Lukas Scheibler

Lukas Scheibler
EVP & Head R&D
Acucela Inc.
Lukas Scheibler
EVP & Head R&D
Acucela Inc.
 
About Speaker:

Dr. Scheibler joined Acucela in 2015 after a 13-year career in research and development, business development and clinical trial management at Novartis. Dr. Scheibler worked since 2008 at Alcon, a division of Novartis and the world’s largest eye care company. He most recently was a Vice President in charge of Alcon’s Ideation and Technology Evaluation Center, the company’s center of excellence in charge of identifying novel technologies that address unmet needs in ophthalmology. Before that, he served as Alcon’s Vice President and Global Head of Clinical Trial Management.

Naj Sharif

Naj Sharif
Executive Director in Global R&D; Head, Global Alliances & External Research (GAER); (former Head, Global Biomedical Sciences)
Santen Incorporated
Naj Sharif
Executive Director in Global R&D; Head, Global Alliances & External Research (GAER); (former Head, Global Biomedical Sciences)
Santen Incorporated
 
About Speaker:

Dr. Naj Sharif is a graduate of Southampton University, England (UK) where he received his BSc (Joint Honors: Biochemistry and Physiology) and his PhD (Neuroscience). Dr. Sharif has been in the pharmaceutical industry for >30-years holding leadership positions of increasing scope and responsibility, spanning Discovery Research, Drug Development and Regulatory Affairs. He has worked at Parke-Davis/Warner-Lambert (Pfizer),  Syntex Research (Roche), Alcon-Novartis, and is currently at Santen Inc (Executive Director, R&D Division).  Dr. Sharif’s 22-tenure at Alcon resulted in his contributions to the discovery/development and US FDA approvals of  Travatan®, Patanol®,  Simbrinza®, Izba® and Pazeo® to treat glaucoma/ocular hypertension and ocular allergies.  Dr. Sharif was recently elected as a Fellow of ARVO (FARVO), and Fellow of British Pharmacology/Pharmaceutical Society (FBPhS) for his exemplary service on numerous committees, progress on drug discovery, and advancement of scientific reputation of both societies.  He was also honored as the first recipient of the inaugural Dr. Roger Vogel award for pharmaceutical research presented by the ARVO Foundation.  He has been an organizer, chairman and invited Keynote speaker at numerous global conferences, symposia and workshops. Dr. Sharif serves on the editorial boards of numerous scientific journals, is an adjunct professor at several universities, and a thesis advisor for MS- and PhD-level students. He has published >190 scientific articles and edited 2 Neuroscience books.  Dr. Sharif is also the holder of >22 issued US and EU patents on ocular cell-lines and small molecules to treat human diseases of the CNS and the eye.  

Donna Taraborelli

Donna Taraborelli
Senior Director Corporate Development
Clearside Biomedical, Inc.
Donna Taraborelli
Senior Director Corporate Development
Clearside Biomedical, Inc.
 
About Speaker:

Donna Taraborelli is Senior Director, Corporate Development at Clearside Biomedical in Alpharetta, Georgia. She started working at Clearside in November 2014 as Senior Director, Development, leading the company’s Retinal Vein Occlusion program, as well as all external collaboration efforts. Prior to joining Clearside, Donna held positions as a Clinical Scientist and drug development program lead at companies such as Merck, Alcon, a Novartis company, and Allergan. Donna received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Rhode Island and holds a Master of Bioethics from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Michael Tucker

Michael Tucker
Director, Business Development
Mytrus, Inc.
Michael Tucker
Director, Business Development
Mytrus, Inc.
 
About Speaker:

Michael Tucker grew up in the shadows of cancer research in his step-father's laboratory at the University of Utah.  He later became engaged in full time medical research in 1987 when he began supporting preclinical research for the Department of Defense.  His career has included highlights as a certified microvascular surgery instructor and instructor in surgery for the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences as well as executive management positions with multiple medical technology companies.  He is currently serving as the Director, Business Development for Mytrus, an eClinical technology provider that is finding ways to improve patient participation in clinical trials.

Christine van Hover

Christine van Hover
Chief Scientist
Phoenix Research Labs
Christine van Hover
Chief Scientist
Phoenix Research Labs
 
About Speaker:

Dr. van Hover earned a PhD in neuroscience at the University of Virginia with graduate work tracing the neuroanatomy of stress and food intake control pathways in the hypothalamus. As Chief Scientist at Phoenix Research Labs, she trains researchers in retinal imaging techniques and provides scientific input into product design. Phoenix Research Labs manufactures in vivo discovery tools to see the brain thru the eye. These tools enable researchers to see the geography of the retina (brightfield and fluorescein angiography), examine the retinal structure (OCT), and elucidate the retinal function (ERG) of rodents. 

Alan Verkman

Alan Verkman
Professor of Medicine & Physiology
UCSF
Alan Verkman
Professor of Medicine & Physiology
UCSF
 
About Speaker:

Dr. Verkman was educated at M.I.T., Harvard University (Ph.D., physics) and Harvard Medical School (M.D.). He was trained in Medicine at the Brigham and Nephrology at U.C.S.F. where he is currently Professor of Medicine and Physiology. Dr. Verkman’s research program is funded by 6 NIH grants, including MERIT awards and a Core Center grant, and several foundation and industry grants. He has published more than 500 journal articles and 120 reviews. Dr. Verkman’s research is focused on water and chloride channel, including drug discovery, and novel fluorescence methods to study living cells. In the eye field Dr. Verkman invented a small molecule CFTR-targeted therapy for dry eye, and an AQP4-targeted monoclonal antibody for optic neuritis in neuromyelitis optica.

Stuart Williams

Stuart Williams
Director of Research
Envisia Therapeutics, Inc.
Stuart Williams
Director of Research
Envisia Therapeutics, Inc.
 
About Speaker:

Stuart Williams, Ph.D., is Director of Research at Envisia Therapeutics. His responsibilities include managing the daily aspects of the research department, ensuring the continued development of Envisia’s core technology through internal projects and strategic partnerships, and project leadership for ENV1105, Envisia’s extended release dexamethasone for back of the eye diseases. He has been with Envisia since its inception in 2013 when the company spun-out of Liquidia Technologies. While at Liquidia, he developed their proprietary molding technology and designed nano and microparticle formulations for use in inhalation, vaccine, and dermatologic therapies as well as materials science applications. Dr. Williams received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill under Professor Joseph DeSimone.

Ming Yang

Ming Yang
Director of Research
Graybug Vision
Ming Yang
Director of Research
Graybug Vision
 
About Speaker:

Ming has over 15 years of experience in the field of biomaterials and drug delivery, including the development of novel polymer-based drug delivery systems. He received his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, and joined Genentech after graduation, where he gained ocular drug delivery expertise. Ming received his B.E. in Materials Science and Engineering from Tsinghua University, China and an M.S. in Bioengineering from Pennsylvania State University.