"I enjoy taking a deep dive into fundamental protein questions that have applications for designing novel therapeutic agents. Collaborations with a diverse and talented set of colleagues have been integral to our success for this endeavor."
After graduate and postdoctoral studies on protein folding mechanisms, I joined the Biocatalysis Dept. at Genentech in 1986. I was immediately impressed with the highly collaborative, hard-working, and fun-loving environment in Genentech research. The group was at the forefront of protein structure-function work, and I initially tackled studies on tissue plasminogen activator, coagulation enzymes and engineering of proteinaceous inhibitors. The group morphed into a Protein Engineering department and early work on antibodies set the stage for future development. I joined the newly formed Antibody Engineering dept. in 2005 where my group did both technology development and contributed to the growing pipeline of antibody therapeutics. I am proud to have led antibody engineering efforts on 5 projects that entered clinical development. In 2012, on the basis of a growing interest in ocular biotherapeutics and a need to add protein expertise to efforts on long acting delivery technologies, I joined the Drug Delivery Dept. in the Pharma Technical Development (PTDU) organization. Here I have done translational research to optimize delivery of therapeutics.
Throughout my career at Genentech there has been a good match between my passion for understanding how proteins function and in designing novel therapeutics for patients. I have been blessed to collaborate with a diverse group of talented and dedicated researchers. External recognition has been received through many speaking invitations, >80 peer reviewed publications, and 20 issued US patents.
I have had the opportunity to work with several talented postdoctoral associates during my career at Genentech. I appreciate the enthusiasm, scientific rigor, and dedication these individuals have brought to their projects. We’ve done some great science together and I’ve especially enjoyed the mentor role of helping to guide their career development. I coordinate the postdoctoral program in PTDU where I can broaden this mentorship and gain greater exposure to scientific areas outside of my expertise.
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The current research focus of my group is on developing technologies for improved tissue targeted drug delivery. This has been mostly about long-acting delivery of biologics to the eye, where less frequent dosing could improve clinical outcome and reduce treatment burden for patients and physicians. More recently we have begun exploring new technologies for improved subcutaneous administration and also brain delivery. Although my group takes a protein engineering approach to these problems, we benefit from strong collaborations with polymer formulation and device groups, such that we can devise the best solution for patients. The culture at Genentech rewards basic science discoveries that promote better treatments for patients. This is shown through our fundamental studies demonstrating a dependence of ocular clearance on hydrodynamic size that led directly to new conjugates for long acting delivery to the eye.