Michael Townsend - Senior Director and Distinguished Scientist, Biomarker Discovery OMNI

Michael Townsend

Senior Director and Distinguished Scientist, Biomarker Discovery OMNI

Postdoc Mentor
"Genentech is committed to a gaining a deeper understanding of the underlying pathophysiology and heterogeneity of human disease. This will allow us to develop the right drugs for the right patients."
Years at Genentech
Publications at Genentech
Awards & Honors

After undergraduate and graduate training in the United Kingdom, I moved to the United States for postdoctoral training and then joined Genentech as a Scientist and founding member of the Biomarker Discovery OMNI department. The department is studying fundamental biological mechanisms and heterogeneity in Autoimmune, Inflammatory Bowel, Airway, Fibrosis, Ophthalmology and Neuroscience diseases, and is using these insights as the basis for discovery and implementation of biomarkers that stratify patients into clinically important subgroups. This approach has demonstrated that drug response outcome is affected by underlying biological heterogeneity. These findings now underpin how we develop new therapies and identify targets in patient subgroups where existing therapies are not effective.

Postdoctoral Mentor

Genentech has a proud tradition of world-class basic and translational research, and the postdoctoral program here allows for important questions about fundamental biological mechanisms to be addressed independently of drug development programs. The large clinical trials conducted by the Roche group gives us unprecedented access to highly clinically characterized patients with matching data on treatment outcome, genetic variants, and disease state. A postdoc will be able to leverage these resources and study biological pathways of interest aided by world class scientific infrastructure, and also gain exposure to the drug development process.

Featured Publication

Molecular Portraits of Early Rheumatoid Arthritis Identify Clinical and Treatment Response Phenotypes.

Cell Reports 2019 Aug 27;28(9):2455-2470.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.07.091

Myles J Lewis , Michael R Barnes , Kevin Blighe , Katriona Goldmann , Sharmila Rana , Jason A Hackney , Nandhini Ramamoorthi , Christopher R John , David S Watson , Sarah K Kummerfeld , Rebecca Hands , Sudeh Riahi , Vidalba Rocher-Ros, Felice Rivellese, Frances Humby, Stephen, Michele Bombardieri, Nora, Maria DiCicco , Désirée van der Heijde, Robert Landewé , Annette van der Helm-van Mil , Alberto Cauli , Iain B McInnes , Christopher D Buckley , Ernest Choy , Peter C Taylor , Michael J Townsend , Costantino Pitzalis.