Plenary Keynote Program

Join colleagues from around the world for the Discovery on Target Plenary Keynote Program. Bridging both halves of the event, it's the only time our whole community of drug discovery professionals assembles together to learn about big-picture perspectives, innovative technologies, and thought-provoking trends from luminaries in the field.

BONUS PRE-EVENT VIRTUAL* BOOK TALK
Reflections on a Scientific Career and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Stockholm
Robert J. Lefkowitz, MDRobert J. Lefkowitz, MD, James B. Duke Professor of Medicine, Professor of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; 2012 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry

*This presentation will be available on the event's virtual platform as soon as attendees gain virtual access a few days before the in-person event. Additional details to be announced.


WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 | 11:25 AM - 1:15 PM

11:25 am Plenary Chairperson’s Remarks
An-Dinh Nguyen, Team Lead, Discovery on Target, Cambridge Healthtech Institute

11:35 Plenary Keynote Introduction
Sunny Al-Shamma, President, Beacon Discovery a Eurofins Company

11:45 PLENARY: G Protein-Coupled Receptors and Beta Arrestin-Coupled Receptors: A Tale of Two Transducers

Robert J. Lefkowitz, MDRobert J. Lefkowitz, MD, James B. Duke Professor of Medicine, Professor of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; 2012 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
Beta arrestins are ubiquitous multifunctional adaptor proteins which mediate desensitization, endocytosis and signaling of most GPCRs. My lecture will cover how they were discovered as the mediators of rapid GPCR desensitization; the appreciation of their roles in endocytosis and, counterintuitively, as signal transducers in their own right; their roles in biased GPCR signaling and its therapeutic implications; and current understanding of the conformational basis of biased signaling.

12:20 pm LIVE: Q&A Plenary Discussion
Moderator: Annette Gilchrist, PhD, Associate Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Midwestern University

12:30 PLENARY: Next-Generation Targeted Molecular Therapies
Alexandra Glucksmann, PhDAlexandra Glucksmann, PhD, President & CEO, Cedilla Therapeutics
Despite decades of work, the need for small molecule-based targeted therapy in oncology is still immense. Amino-acid sequence and structure has been the primary lens to understand protein function, which has limited the reach of some key cancer targets. I highlight how we are accessing key cancer drivers that have been considered undruggable by considering the native full-length protein together with the relevant post-translational modifications, protein-protein interactions, and sub-cellular localization.

1:05 LIVE: Q&A Plenary Discussion
Moderator: Joe Patel, PhD, Vice President, Structural Biology, Treeline Biosciences

1:15 Enjoy Lunch on Your Own

1:55 Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

PLENARY KEYNOTE BIOGRAPHIES

Robert J. Lefkowitz, MD, James B. Duke Professor of Medicine, Professor of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; 2012 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
Robert J. Lefkowitz, MD is best known for showing how adrenaline works via stimulation of specific receptors. He and Brian Kobilka, a postdoctoral fellow in his lab in the 1980s, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2012 for their work on G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Dr. Lefkowitz has spent 53 years as a researcher, of which 48 have been at the Duke University Medical Center. He has been Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 1976. Dr. Lefkowitz is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Inventors and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His numerous awards include the National Medal of Science and the Canada Gairdner International Award. In 2021, Dr. Lefkowitz published A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Stockholm, described by his publisher as a “rollicking memoir from the cardiologist turned legendary scientist and winner of the Nobel Prize that revels in the joy of science and discovery.”

Annette Gilchrist, PhD, Associate Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Midwestern University
Bio coming soon.

Alexandra Glucksmann, PhD, President & CEO, Cedilla Therapeutics
Sandra Glucksmann is a veteran biopharma executive and experienced scientist who most recently served as founder and chief operating officer of the gene editing company Editas Medicine, Inc. She previously served as senior vice president of research and development at Cerulean Pharma, which she also joined at its founding. Sandra was a founding scientist at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, where she spent 13 years, taking on a series of senior roles on the science team before moving into an executive position with responsibility for strategic program management and operations. Sandra serves on the boards of directors of gene therapy company REGENXBIO and Scenic Biotech. Sandra holds a PhD with honors in molecular genetics and cell biology from the University of Chicago. She was a postdoctoral fellow at MIT.

Joe Patel, PhD, Vice President, Structural Biology, Treeline Biosciences
After completing graduate studies in protein crystallography at Cambridge University, I joined Astex Pharmaceuticals to focus on the early development of small molecules using fragment-based drug discovery. I continued a hit identification focus at AstraZeneca both in the UK and Boston research hubs before joining C4 Therapeutics in 2016. I currently lead the Biochemistry, Biophysics and Crystallography team at C4T tasked with the in vitro evaluation of targeted protein degraders and structural and biophysical characterization to support medicinal chemistry design.