"Harnessing scientific inquiry for the development of new drugs is an exciting and important endeavor and is made especially satisfying by the scientifically rigorous environment at Genentech."
I joined Genentech in 2008 as Senior Director of Pathology, after having spent more than 18 years as an HHMI Investigator at the University of Michigan and then 3 years as Chair of Pathology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. The role of Senior Director of Pathology in Research at Genentech offered attractive opportunities to do research in an outstanding, disease-focused scientific environment, while also helping to lead the scientific and research support activities of the Pathology department. These latter efforts help Genentech continue to make a major positive difference to the health and well being of a large number of patients afflicted with cancer, autoimmune syndromes, neurodegenerative diseases and other illnesses for which therapies are unsatisfactory or nonexistent.
An exceptional team of pathologists, laboratory managers, scientific associates and administrative staff in the department collaborate with me in these efforts. Additional outstanding pathologists, scientists, and managers continue to be recruited to assist us in ensuring that the department performs at the highest level. Our task is made more straightforward by the environment at Genentech, which is characterized by exceptionally bright, motivated and collaborative colleagues at every level, spectacular facilities, and workplace philosophies that are conducive to the highest levels of achievement.
The opportunity to mentor postdoctoral fellows at Genentech has been a stimulating and gratifying experience for me. This derives in part from the freedom afforded by the program to pursue research directions that are deemed to be important and interesting, even if these have no immediate therapeutic relevance. The special mentoring experience also derives from extraordinary breadth and quality of the core laboratories at Genentech, and the spectacular intellectual environment. Together, these circumstances provide an unparalleled opportunity for postdoctoral fellows, and their mentors, to engage in biomedical discovery of the highest caliber.
Nature, 2015, ISSN: 0028-0836
One major focus of our laboratory research is to better understand post-transcriptional control of expression and function of members of the Notch family of trans-membrane signaling receptors. These efforts include developing a better understanding of the post-translational glycan modifications on Notch family members, and on their ligands. This work includes studies designed to understand the nature of such modifications, including novel ones, and how these are elaborated and controlled. We ultimately seek to better understand how such modifications control Notch-dependent signal transduction, and how such modifications modulate the biology of the cells that express them, including especially cells within the hematopoietic lineages. We also seek to understand post-transcriptional control of the expression of Notch family members in the hematopoietic system. Efforts are underway to identify molecules and mechanisms responsible for such control, and to develop an understanding of the relevance of such regulation to function in the immune system.
A second major focus of our research centers on understanding how specific glycan structures on immunoglobulins modulate their interaction with NK cells, and how such modulation in turn controls the ability of NK cells to engage in antibody-dependent cytotoxicity towards tumor cell targets. These studies derive from pre-clinical research, and clinical trial observations. We seek to understand the molecules and mechanisms that are relevant to the specific cellular interactions that are characteristic of the glycoengineered antibodies.