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Industry Roadtrip: Research Scientists in Biotech/Pharma
March 13, 2021 @ 5:00 pm
Akunna Iheanacho, Ph.D. is the Scientific Director at Texcell – North America, Inc. where she provides technical and scientific direction for novel assay development, virus purification efforts, and viral safety testing. She serves as a study director for viral clearance studies and is also a subject matter expert with broad biotechnology experience and expertise in areas that include process development for large-scale cGMP manufacture of vaccines, AAV gene therapies, and biopharmaceutical purification. Prior to joining Texcell, Dr. Iheanacho was a Senior Scientist at Paragon (now Catalent Gene Therapy). While there, she made significant contributions in transitioning projects from basic science discovery to cGMP-ready processes by establishing critical process parameters and quality attributes for biologics and reagents for diagnostics. Dr. Iheanacho’s graduate work utilized mouse models, molecular endocrinology, and structural biology to study signaling pathways in cancer metabolism and fat metabolism. In her structural and functional characterization of a diverse set of proteins, she also routinely employed biochemical and biophysical techniques such as differential scanning fluorimetry, isothermal titration calorimetry, and chromatographic separation. Additionally, Dr. Iheanacho also has experience with crystallization and structure determination, small angle x-ray scattering, UV-Vis spectroscopy, mouse husbandry and genotyping, cell culture, recombinant protein expression systems (mammalian, baculoviral, E. coli), and molecular biology. Dr. Iheanacho received her Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Physiology from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, M.S. in Chemistry from the University of Virginia, and B.S. in Biology from Oakwood University in Huntsville, AL.
Phillip Dorsey, Ph.D. is a senior research scientist with Merck Research Labs. His work supports discovery drug formulation and delivery strategies within oligonucleotide and small molecule modalities in infectious disease and neuroscience therapeutic areas. Phil completed his doctoral studies in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in January of 2020 under the supervision of Professor Rebecca Schulman. His dissertation focused on the development of stimuli-responsive DNA-programmable reaction-diffusion systems. In his spare time, Phil enjoys mentoring young scientists, traveling, and practicing yoga.
Sadiye A Rieder, Ph.D. is an industry research immunologist with expertise in T cells, autoimmunity, and inflammation. She started her industry career at Medimmune/Astrazeneca, where she led two pre-clinical programs aimed at modulating T cell responses. In her current role at Viela Bio, Sadiye leads strategic planning efforts to build early pipeline programs and investigates the role of adaptive immunity in disease pathogenesis. She is passionate about identifying novel targets, generating new therapeutics, and building strong programs with potential to enter the clinic. She received her PhD in Biomedical Science from University of South Carolina, School of Medicine. She then did her postdoctoral training at National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, where she worked on transcription factor biology of T cells. Sadiye strongly believes in teamwork, resilience, clear communication and empowering the talents of her team members and colleagues.