Vice President, Protein Sciences
"Our exceptionally bright colleagues inspire creativity and success, motivated by a shared desire to discover important medicines that will make a real difference for patients"
years at Genentech
awards & honors
I was drawn to pursue research at Genentech, first as a postdoc in 1993 and later as a scientist in 1995, because of the exciting and top-quality science being conducted in a fun collaborative manner. My role has evolved and expanded significantly over the years, where in addition to pursuing science and departmental leadership, I also served as head of Research Operations from 2008-2012, in which I oversaw all operational activities for the >1300-member research organization. As Vice President, Protein Sciences, I am now responsible for all protein therapeutics discovery at Genentech overseeing the departments of Antibody Engineering, Protein Chemistry, and Structural Biology, while serving on the Research Leadership Team and Research Review Committee. I am privileged to work with outstanding scientists throughout the organization to bring forward therapeutic candidates with the goal to transform medicine and help patients.
Structural Basis for the Dual Recognition of Helical Cytokines IL-34 and CSF-1 by CSF-1R
Structure, 2012, ISSN: 0969-2126
Ma, Xiaolei; Lin, Wei Yu; Chen, Yongmei; Stawicki, Scott; Mukhyala, Kiran; Wu, Yan; Martin, Flavius; Bazan, J. Fernando; Starovasnik, Melissa A
View Abstract on PubMed
With colleagues in Structural Biology and throughout the research organization, my group focuses on studying the structure, function, and regulation of proteins of therapeutic interest, with an emphasis on understanding molecular recognition and application to drug development.
Melissa was trained in protein biochemistry and NMR spectroscopy, having received her PhD from the University of Washington in 1992, and then conducting postdoctoral research at Genentech until 1995. Melissa was then hired as a scientist in Protein Engineering, and continues to pursue research in structural biology. Throughout her career, Melissa has played key leadership roles in antibody and small molecule discovery projects, and has contributed to over 60 scientific publications and patent applications.
Structural Analysis of Bacterial ABC Transporter Inhibition by an Antibody FragmentStructure, 2015, ISSN: 0969-2126 View on PubMed
Structural basis of recognition of interferon-α receptor by tyrosine kinase 2Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, 2014, ISSN: 1545-9993 View on PubMed
Dimerization of LT beta R by LT alpha(1)beta(2) is necessary and sufficient for signal transductionProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013, ISSN: 0027-8424 View on PubMed
Dimerization of LTβR by LTα1β2 is necessary and sufficient for signal transductionProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013, ISSN: 0027-8424 View on PubMed
Monovalent antibody design and mechanism of action of onartuzumab, a MET antagonist with anti-tumor activity as a therapeutic agentProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013, ISSN: 0027-8424 View on PubMed
The Crystal Structure of the Catalytic Domain of the NF-κB Inducing Kinase Reveals a Narrow but Flexible Active SiteStructure, 2012, ISSN: 0969-2126 View on PubMed
Molecular basis of Tank-binding kinase 1 activation by transautophosphorylationProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012, ISSN: 0027-8424 View on PubMed
Structural Basis for the Dual Recognition of Helical Cytokines IL-34 and CSF-1 by CSF-1RStructure, 2012, ISSN: 0969-2126 View on PubMed
Small-Molecule Ligands Bind to a Distinct Pocket in Ras and Inhibit SOS-Mediated Nucleotide Exchange ActivityProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012, ISSN: 0027-8424 View on PubMed
Phosphorylation-dependent activity of the deubiquitinase DUBANature Structural & Molecular Biology, 2012, ISSN: 1545-9985 View on PubMed
A new regulatory switch in a JAK protein kinase.Proteins, 2010, ISSN: 1097-0134
Multiple Novel Classes of APRIL-specific Receptor-blocking Peptides Isolated by Phage Display.Journal of Molecular Biology, 2010, ISSN: 1089-8638
Engineering human IgG1 affinity to human neonatal Fc receptor: Impact of affinity improvement on pharmacokinetics in primates.Journal of Immunology, 2009, ISSN: 1550-6606
- University of Washington, Department of Biochemistry, Ph.D. – 1992
- University of Washington, Department of Chemistry, B.S. – 1987
Awards & Honors
- Genentech Women Professionals – Professional Development Award – 2011
- National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship – 1987-1990
- Merck Index Award, Outstanding Senior Chemist, University of Washington – 1987