ARensloCo-Chair – Adam Renslo, Ph.D.

Dr. Renslo is Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Associate Director of the Small Molecule Discovery Center at University of California at San Francisco. In the broadest sense, his research interests involve the application of synthetic and medicinal chemistry to solve problems in biology and human disease.  Research in the Renslo Laboratory spans target identification through lead optimization, with an emphasis on infectious disease and neurodegeneration.  The Renslo group is also pioneering new drug delivery and peptidomimetic technologies aimed at better targeting small molecule and peptide therapeutics to their intended sites of action. Dr. Renslo is author or co-author of more than 50 scientific articles and is a listed inventor on nine issued US patents.

Previously, Dr. Renslo served as Associate Director of Medicinal Chemistry at Vicuron Pharmaceuticals, an anti-infectives company acquired by Pfizer in 2005 for $1.9B.  While at Vicuron, Adam led chemistry teams in antibacterial and antifungal discovery programs.  His group identified multiple clinical candidates, including the investigational antibacterial PF-708093 (Phase I).  His scientific training was in synthetic organic chemistry with Rick Danheiser (Ph.D., MIT) and in molecular recognition with Julius Rebek, Jr. (Postdoctoral, TSRI).


YChenCo-Chair – Yu Chen, Ph.D.

Dr. Chen is an Assistant Professor, College Of Medicine Molecular Medicine at the University of South Florida.  His research focus is on structure-based inhibitor design against antibiotic and anticancer targets using interdisciplinary approaches. His current research combines both computational and experimental techniques with the main interest in studying the function and inhibition of enzymes related to bacterial cell wall synthesis, such as DD-carboxypeptidases, transglycosylases and b-lactamases. He has extensive experience in biochemistry, X-ray crystallography and molecular docking. He has characterized the catalytic mechanisms of three enzymes and determined ~40 crystal structures including protein complexes with DNA or small molecules. His postdoctoral research at UCSF focused on computational chemistry, particularly molecular docking.

Yu Chen received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Chicago and conducted post-doctoral research in biochemistry at the University of California at San Francisco.

TJC_Pro_HeadshotThomas Caggiano PhD

Dr. Caggiano is an experienced researcher with more than 30 years of experience in medicinal and clinical research laboratories.
In 1984 he joined Ayerst Research (then a division of American Home Products) in Princeton, NJ. Over a 25 year period he was engaged in drug design and discovery, lead optimization and receptor isolation and characterization such as mTOR.

Using the tools and techniques of medicinal chemistry he authored or coauthored more than 90 papers, patents and presentations in area such as Alzheimer’s disease, neurodegeneration, transplantation immunology, cardiovascular disease and women’s health. He was a principal in the development of several compounds, which moved into clinical trials and received FDA approval. Over his career he led drug discovery teams and was a member of several clinical development teams.

He retired from Wyeth in 2009 and is currently an adjunct Professor of Chemistry at both Rider University and Temple University.  For more than 40 years Thom has been involved in explaining and presenting science and scientific issues to the general public.  He is currently a director of the Trenton section of the American Chemical Society responsible for the Science Outreach Program. He is also a Science Presenter at the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia.

Thom received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry/Honors from St Joseph’s University in 1976, his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Temple University in 1982 before joining Bill Roush’s lab at MIT as a Postdoctoral Fellow (1983-1984).