Since the first approved gene therapy trial in 1990, interest in cell and gene therapies has increased rapidly, changing the course of research on disease prevention and treatment. However, there are still many challenges facing the field today, and further progress to be made in developing effective therapies.
The Advancing CGT Virtual Event is a free, 2-day meeting presented by GENEWIZ and Brooks Life Sciences, offering a platform for industry leaders and researchers from across the globe to discuss the opportunities, challenges, and latest breakthroughs in cell and gene therapy. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about various topics, such as developing AAV-based gene therapies, cold chain products and solutions for a wide range of materials, and more, as well as explore innovative solutions to accelerate the therapeutic development and safe delivery of successful cell and gene therapies.
By registering for the event, attendees can:
Use the official event hashtag #AdvCGT21 to join the conversation and stay up to date on the latest event information
Dr. Lionel Galibert has accumulated over 15 years of experience in the adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy field. On the team of Dr. Otto Wilhelm Merten in Genethon, France, he helped develop a single baculovirus to produce rAAV8 in Sf9 cells, as well as demonstrated the involvement of the baculovirus protease on the degradation of certain AAV capsids. Dr. Galibert then worked within Dr. Michael Linden's group at Pfizer in London, and was involved in the development of the rAAV production system in fixed-bed bioreactors using mammalian cells. For the last 4 years, Dr. Galibert worked in Kuopio's biotech environment with positions in FinVector and its sister company Kuopio Center for Gene and Cell therapy. Now working in Dr. Kari Airenne's group, he leads their AAV research with a particular focus on the wild-type AAV. He will be presenting the work they performed on the novel AAV protein “Membrane-Associated Accessory Protein” MAAP.
Dr. Brian Hawkins is the chief technology officer at Pluristyx, Inc., an advanced therapy tools company providing seamless client support to cell therapy groups through CMC consulting, contract development services, and research- and clinical-grade Ready-To-Differentiate (RTD™) Pluripotent Stem and Ready-to-Use (RTU™) Differentiated Cells. Dr. Hawkins received his Ph.D. in molecular cell biology and biotechnology from Virginia Tech and completed his postdoctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania, after which he moved to the University of Washington School of Medicine to serve as an assistant professor and founding member of the Mitochondria and Metabolism Center. Dr. Hawkins transitioned to industry and served as the scientific applications director at BioLife Solutions, where he aided numerous commercial groups in optimizing cryopreservation protocols for their cell therapy products. Dr. Hawkins joined Pluristyx in 2019 and continues to provide cryopreservation expertise through both consulting and wet-bench contract development services. Dr. Hawkins is an internationally recognized cryopreservation expert and has delivered over 20 cryopreservation and/or cell therapy manufacturing-related invited presentations. Dr. Hawkins is an active member of the International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy and the Parenteral Drug Association, where he serves as the president of the Pacific Northwest Chapter, team leader for the PDA Cryopreservation Standards Initiative, and as members of the Biopharmaceutical and Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product Advisory Boards.
Dr. Elizabeth Louie is the supervisor of the technical applications team at GENEWIZ. She received her Ph.D. in molecular and cellular pharmacology from Stony Brook University. Dr. Louie provides consultation to customers across all genomics solutions that GENEWIZ offers, including next generation sequencing, gene and DNA synthesis, and any custom molecular biology needs.
Dr. Andrea O’Hara has over 11 years of experience in next generation sequencing. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in genetics and molecular biology. She is currently a technical application scientist at GENEWIZ within the NGS team.
Dr. Samulski received his Ph.D. in medical microbiology and immunology from the University of Florida. His graduate work (1978-82) demonstrated the first use of AAV2 as a viral vector which culminated in the first U.S. FDA approved gene therapy drug for Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA). After completing post-doctoral training at Princeton, Dr. Samulski was hired at University of Pittsburgh where his lab demonstrated the first use of AAV for gene delivery to the CNS which eventually led to the initial treatment of AAV for Canavan’s disease. In 1993, he was recruited to University of North Carolina (UNC) to initiate, build and direct the UNC Gene Therapy Center. In this setting, development of self-complementary AAV vectors (currently used in approved SMA gene therapy drug), Chimeric AAV capsids (first example of synthetic vector used in humans - DMD trial), and critical research that enabled large scale production was carried out. Research headed by Dr. Xiao Xiao, Ph.D., demonstrated the first AAV-mediated long-term gene transduction in muscle (J. Virology, 1996). This finding precipitated efforts to develop 1st generation AAV vectors to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy that is now in Phase 3 clinical trials.
In total, Dr. Samulski has worked with AAV for 40 years, and for 25 years, he was director of the University of North Carolina Gene Therapy Center. He was the scientific founder of Bamboo Therapeutics, Inc. and served as the Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Chairman of the company until its acquisition by Pfizer in 2016. Upon its acquisition, Dr. Samulski joined Pfizer, as VP Gene Therapy, to ensure the successful transition of Bamboo’s Duchenne muscular dystrophy therapeutic. Dr. Samulski is a former member of the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC), a committee tasked with assisting the FDA with gene therapy clinical trial approvals in the U.S. He also frequently serves as a gene therapy consultant to the FDA. In 2008, Dr. Samulski was recognized by the American Society of Cell and Gene Therapy with their inaugural Outstanding Achievement Award for his work and later served as President of the Society. He was also invited by Pope Francis to the Vatican in recognition for his work in the treatment of Canavan’s disease.
Dr. Samulski has advanced therapeutics into human clinical trials for hemophilia, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, giant axonal neuropathy, Pompe disease and congestive heart failure, to name a few. He has published more than 450 articles and holds more than 300 patents related to AAV technology. Currently, Dr. Samulski is professor in the Department of Pharmacology at UNC and founder and member of Columbus Children’s Foundation that has focused on developing AAV gene therapies for “ultra-rare” disorders.
Dr. Adriana Suarez is a science and technology advisor at 10x Genomics, where she helps researchers adopt single-cell and spatial technologies to address their scientific questions. She has worked on a wide range of genomics projects in plants and humans. For her Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Suarez explored how different genomic backgrounds affect gene function and expression. She is a strong supporter of inclusive spaces and led the creation of the 1st genomics hackathon in Canada with a focus on inclusivity.
Mike Weiand has spent almost 8 years with Pacific Biosciences within field applications support, enabling their customers and growing the technology. There he helps manage and assist customers in designing and conducting experiments to initiate and validate the use of the PacBio sequencing in their laboratories. Prior to PacBio, Weiand held research and development roles at Life Technologies and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. While with Life Technologies, his focus was in R&D product development, assay formulation, and designing user workflows of the PGM and Proton systems. At the Broad Institute, he spent over 9 years in technology development and technology exploration, validating, scaling, and implementing next generation sequencing technologies in the high-throughput DNA sequencing platform.
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