"In the lab, visualizing biological processes inside living subjects to figure out some disease state or therapeutic action never gets old. And I’m excited about and grateful for the really great colleagues that both enable my work and give it direction in pursuit of our common goals."
I joined Genentech in 1995 after completing a biochemistry post-doc with Kevin Brindle in Cambridge, England. I helped establish and grow the first MR imaging lab in the biotech business as part of the Neuroscience department. I have been working on non-invasive imaging to facilitate drug development at Genentech ever since, adapting the techniques of choice according to the business needs over time.
Post-docs aren’t part of our “day-job” drug development efforts, but having post-docs in the lab brings in wonderful fresh perspectives, approaches, and experiences that can help us find new directions or solve old problems. In return our core work ideally helps us line up unique scientific resources and topical collaborations so that their projects can move relatively quickly and have a big impact.
Journal of Nuclear Medicine March 2020, 61 (3) 453-460
My lab is focused now on developing positron emission tomography (PET) methods and reagents (with Jan Marik’s radiochemistry group) that inform late-stage research and early clinical drug development. Questions addressed are typically around the distribution of drug targets, the tissue levels of disease-indicating or pharmacodynamic biomarkers, and the local tissue concentrations of therapeutic agents themselves.
We have patented a number of interesting imaging reagents and, working through Genenetch project teams and the Business Development group, recently out-licensed a state-of-the-art reagent for lymphocyte imaging, hoping that an external partner can rapidly make the technology available to a broader patient population.
New challenges include adapting to new therapeutic modalities like cells, viruses, and engineered polymers as therapeutics, and finding solutions to old problems like imaging behind the blood-brain barrier to enable novel therapeutic programs in Neuroscience.