Plenary Keynote Program 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 beginning at 1:30pm

The PLENARY KEYNOTE PROGRAM at the World Preclinical Congress is divided into two parts. The first part includes Plenary Keynote Presentations given by key opinion leaders. The second part is the Plenary Keynote Panel where experts from technology and service companies share their viewpoints on new trends impacting preclinical research.


This year's Plenary Keynote Presentations will feature prominent thought-leaders who are playing an important role in innovating drug discovery. They will share their experiences and their perspectives on what has changed and what can be changed to improve preclinical research, help translate preclinical findings to the clinic, and to foster effective communication and collaboration. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions and gain valuable insights from their learnings.

1:30 Wecome Remarks and Speaker Introductions

1:45 Human Organs-On-Chips

Donald E. Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., Founding Director, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University; Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology, Harvard Medical School & Boston Children's Hospital; and Professor of Bioengineering, John A. Paulson School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, Harvard University

This keynote presentation will highlight recent advances that my team has made in the engineering and microfabrication of "Organs-on-Chips"- microfluidic devices lined by living human cells created with computer microchip manufacturing techniques that recapitulate organ-level structure and functions as a way to replace animal testing for drug development, mechanistic discovery, and personalized medicine.

2:15 Preclinical and Translation Studies to Support the Anti-PD1 Antibody, Keytruda

Michael Rosenzweig, D.V.M., Ph.D., Executive Director, Oncology-Discovery, Merck Research Laboratories

The success of immune checkpoint therapies such as CTLA-4 and PD-1 has revolutionized the treatment of many types of cancer. However, not all patients or cancer types respond to these therapies. In this presentation, strategies to leverage preclinical studies to support combination strategies intended to enhance both the breadth and depth of response to checkpoint blockade will be discussed. Translational and biomarker efforts designed to support clinical studies will also be reviewed.


This year's Plenary Keynote Panel features a group of technical experts from life science technology and service companies, who share their perspectives on various trends and tools that will likely change the way in which we traditionally approach preclinical drug discovery and development. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions and understand the impact of recent technical advances.

2:45 Insights on Innovative Technologies Enabling Preclinical Research


Leigh Zawel, Vice President and Site Head, New York and Boston Centersfor Therapeutic Innovation, Pfizer

Matt Gevaert, Ph.D., CEO and Co-founder, KIYATEC
Pradip Majumder, Ph.D., CSO, Mitra Biotech
David Hutto, Ph.D., DVM, DACVP, CSO, Vium
Daniel Kagan, Ph.D., COO, Scientist

3:30 Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall With Poster Viewing


Donald_IngberDonald E. Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., is the Founding Director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, the Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at Harvard Medical School and the Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children's Hospital, and Professor of Bioengineering at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He received his BA, MA, MPhil, M.D. and Ph.D. from Yale University.

Ingber is a pioneer in the field of biologically inspired engineering, and at the Wyss Institute, he currently leads a multifaceted effort to develop breakthrough bioinspired technologies to advance healthcare and to improve sustainability. His work has led to major advances in mechanobiology, tumor angiogenesis, tissue engineering, systems biology, nanobiotechnology and translational medicine. Through his work, Ingber also has helped to break down boundaries between science, art and design.

Ingber has authored more than 400 publications and 135 patents, founded 5 companies, and been a guest speaker at more than 475 events internationally. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Inventors, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was named one of the Top 20 Translational Researchers world-wide in 2012 (Nature Biotechnology), a Leading Global Thinker of 2015 (Foreign Policy magazine), and has received numerous other honors in a broad range of disciplines, including the Robert A. Pritzker Award and the Shu Chien Award (Biomedical Engineering Society), the Rous Whipple Award (American Society for Investigative Pathology), the Lifetime Achievement Award (Society of In Vitro Biology), the Leading Edge Award (Society of Toxicology), Founders Award (Biophysical Society) and the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Innovator Award.

Some of Ingber's most recently developed technologies include an anticoagulant surface coating for medical devices that replaces the need for dangerous blood-thinning drugs; a dialysis-like sepsis therapeutic device that clears blood of pathogens and inflammatory toxins; a shear stress-activated nanotherapeutic that targets clot-busting drugs to sites of vascular occlusion; and Human Organs-on-Chips created with microchip manufacturing methods and lined by living human cells, which are being used to replace animal testing as a more accurate and affordable in vitro platform for drug development and personalized medicine. In 2015, Ingber's Organs-on-Chips technology was named Design of the Year by the London Design Museum and was also acquired by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City for its permanent design collection.

Michael_RosenzweigMichael Rosenzweig, D.V.M., Ph.D., Executive Director, Oncology-Discovery, Merck Research Laboratories

Michael Rosenzweig is the Executive Director of Oncology, Immuno-Oncology and Immunology at Merck Research Laboratories in Boston, Merck and Co. (known as MSD outside of US and Canada). Michael leads the team developing new therapeutics targeting cancer and autoimmunity. A major focus of the team is to build a modality agnostic pipeline to follow on the success of Keytruda®.

Michael joined Merck in 2014 with more than 15 years of experience in biologics drug development, particularly in the fields of oncology, immunology and infectious diseases. He previously served as the VP of Research at Immunext and has held various positions in Biotechnology companies including Tolerx and Cordlife. Michael received his D.V.M. from the University of Pretoria in South Africa and a Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Pennsylvania. He then joined Harvard University where he was on the faculty at New England Primate Research Center.

Leigh_ZawelLeigh Zawel, Vice President and Site Head, New York and Boston Centers for Therapeutic Innovation Pfizer

Dr. Leigh Zawel joined Pfizer in 2013 to lead CTIs work in the Boston office. In 2014 Dr. Zawel took on site leadership responsibilities for CTI-Boston and CTI-New York. Before CTI, Dr. Zawel was the oncology site lead at Merck Research Laboratories (MRL) Boston. In this role, he was responsible for drug discovery efforts focused on the identification of development candidates for programs in the oncology franchise. Dr. Zawel worked previously at Sanofi-Aventis, where he was Director of Cancer Biology, and Novartis Institutes for BiomedicalResearch/Oncology, where he was an Oncology Group Leader. Dr. Zawel has a deep background in identifying and validating oncology drug targets and in transitioning drug discovery programs through lead optimization to Phase 1 clinical Trials. Dr. Zawel earned his Ph.D. in the laboratory of Danny Reinberg where he identified and characterized components of the RNA Polymerase II basal transcription machinery. Dr. Zawels postdoctoral training was in the laboratory of Bert Vogelstein and Ken Kinzler and focused on dysregulation of TGFB signaling in cancer. Dr. Zawel also holds a MS in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin, as well as a BS in Biology from Rutgers University. He has published more than 30 scientific publications. He is also an author on 45 patents covering chemical matter, drug combinations, biomarker utility and gene function in areas of apoptosis, inflammation and TGFB signaling.

KIYATECMatthew GevaertDr. Matthew Gevaert is the CEO of KIYATEC Inc., a life sciences company in Greenville, SC. KIYATEC specializes in ex vivo 3D cell culture and tissue systems that more accurately replicate in vivo human biology and function, with a focus on methods to accurately predict individual cancer patients' response to drugs by culturing and treating live patient derived primary cells. Dr. Gevaert co-founded the company and has served as CEO since 2007. Possessing a background which combines both business and technology, before his role at KIYATEC Dr. Gevaert led the commercialization of Clemson University's biomedical and biotechnology intellectual property portfolio for nearly 5 years, working with both entrepreneurial start-ups and large, industry leading corporations. He has previous experience with Merck, 3M and Dow Chemical, and has been published in Science magazine and the journal of the US National Academy of Engineering. Currently he serves as a board member of SCBIO, the state of South Carolina's life science industry organization, and a board member of NEXT, which provides entrepreneur services and infrastructure to high-growth ventures in Greenville and Upstate South Carolina. Dr. Gevaert grew up the fifth of six children on a farm in Ontario, Canada and graduated from the University of Waterloo with a bachelor's degree in Applied Chemistry. He also holds a master's degree and a doctorate in Bioengineering from Clemson University. He maintains current appointments as adjunct professor in the Clemson University Department of Bioengineering and as a lecturer in the Clemson MBA in Entrepreneurship & Innovation.

Mitra BiotechPradip_MajumderDr. Pradip Majumder is Co-Founder & Chief Scientific Officer of Mitra Biotech. Before joining Mitra, Pradip was member of the Faculty of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, a fellow at Merck Research Laboratories, and Principal Investigator of Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. Pradip holds a Ph.D. in Cancer Pharmacology from All India Institute of Medical Sciences. He has more than 50 research publications and has reviewed for leading scientific journals.

David_HuttoDavid Hutto
, Ph.D., DVM, DACVP, CSO, Vium VIUM_Logo
Dr. Hutto has extensive experience as a nonclinical pharmaceutical scientist and executive and has led key aspects of drug discovery and drug development leading in several cases to drug marketing approvals. Most recently David was at Charles River Laboratories as the Chief Scientific Officer of Safety Assessment, Veterinary Services and Animal Welfare. David is a veterinarian with a PhD in immunology and specialty board certification in pathology and toxicology.

Daniel_KaganDaniel Kagan, Ph.D., COO, Scientist SCIENTIST_logo
Dan is a bioengineer who has worked extensively with life science start-up companies. Prior to, he advised startups at eBoost Consulting, founded ChemoTactics and was CTO of the UC-San Diego 100K Entrepreneur Challenge. In 2012, Dan was selected as a Siebel Scholar. Dan received an M.S. and Ph.D. in Bioengineering from Joseph Wang's lab at UCSD, where he was a Gordon Scholar. He received a B.S. degree, summa cum laude, from Rutgers in 2006.

* The program is subject to change without notice, due to unforeseen reason.

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