Prof Christine Brown — Chair
Professor Christine Brown is a faculty member in the Departments of Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation and Immuno-Oncology. She is one of the leading CAR T scientists in the US today.
As deputy director of the T Cell Therapeutics Research Laboratory and Heritage Provider Network Professor in Immunotherapy, Professor Brown provides scientific oversight for the preclinical research program, as well as the ongoing clinical trial program focused on the development of CAR engineered T cells for the treatment of hematological malignancies and solid tumors. Her personal research efforts are focused on developing and refining redirected CAR T cells for the treatment of malignant brain tumors.
Professor Brown received her doctoral degree from the University of California Berkeley and was a Leukemia & Lymphoma Scholar during her postdoctoral fellowship at Pennsylvania State University.
Dr Nader Sanai
Dr Sanai is the J.N. Harber Professor of Neurological Surgery and also holds the Francis & Dionne Najafi Chair in Neurosurgical Oncology. As an internationally-recognised brain tumor surgeon, his specialty clinical practice is devoted entirely to patients with benign and malignant brain tumors, particularly those in high-risk areas. He is a world-expert in using brain mapping techniques to identify and preserve areas of motor, sensory, and language function during surgery. As one of the nation’s highest-volume neurosurgical oncologists, Dr Sanai was elected, in 2016, as the youngest member of the American Academy of Neurological Surgeons, the most respected academic organisation in neurosurgery.
As Director of the Ivy Brain Tumor Center, Dr Sanai oversees all brain tumor research at the Barrow Neurological Institute. The Ivy Center includes over 50 scientists, clinicians, and clinical trial specialists and is a world leader in designing experimental treatments for brain cancer. Its precision medicine drug development program pioneered the use of Phase 0 clinical trials to accelerated new drug discovery for incurable brain tumors.
Dr Sanai’s brain tumor research efforts are funded by over a dozen external granting agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation. Dr Sanai is one of only a handful of neurosurgeons in the US serving as the principal investigator for multiple NIH R01 grants. Collectively, Dr Sanai’s published research has led to over 15,000 total citations and an h index of 47 – one of the highest for an academic neurosurgeon in the United States, where the median for a Department Chair is 22.
Dr Larry Couture
Dr Couture has over 30 years’ experience in cellular and genetic therapies. He has been a key participant in numerous first-in-man clinical studies, including the first human gene therapy trials, first administration to humans of a genetically engineered virus and many other cell and gene therapy milestones.
He was the Founding Director/Senior Vice President of City of Hope's Center for Applied Technology and Founding Director of its Center for Biomedicine and Genetics. He served for six years on the FDA’s Cellular, Tissue and Gene Therapy Advisory Committee. His industry experience includes Genzyme Corp and Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
His current executive roles include, CEO Orbsen Therapeutics, CEO Arrogene Inc, Ltd, President/Co-Chairman of Vault Nano Inc, COO Westwood Bioscience Inc, President/CSO LongLifeRx Inc, CSO Fortem Neuroscience Inc, COO/CSO Novonco Inc, and Managing Partner of The Multiverse Fund I.
Dr Behnam Badie
Dr Badie is an expert in the field of surgical neuro-oncology. Nearly 60% of his patients have a malignant brain tumor. He is Chief of Neurosurgery, Heritage Provider Network Professor in Gene Therapy and Beckman Research Institute Board of Directors Beckman Research Institute at City of Hope in California.
He is Director of the City of Hope’s Brain Tumor Program and is leading groundbreaking research into nanotechnology as a tool for delivering cancer-fighting drugs directly into tumors, in a minimally invasive manner. He and his colleagues are studying the potential of CAR-T cell therapy as a way to treat glioblastoma.
He is the winner of a long list of awards and honors. Dr Badie is a Fellow of American College of Surgeons and is on the American Board of Neurological Surgery.
Dr Yvonne Chen
Dr Chen is an Associate Professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Prior to joining UCLA, she was a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows. She performed postdoctoral research at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute and the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School.
Dr Chen is focused on applying synthetic biology and biomolecular engineering techniques to develop robust cell-based therapies for otherwise intractable diseases. This includes a particular interest in engineering multi-functional T cells that can accurately identify and effectively target tumor cells – in part by overcoming the various defense mechanisms associated with cancers and their microenvironments.
Dr Chen has been recognised with the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award, the NSF CAREER Award, the Hellman Fellowship, the ACGT Young Investigator Award in Cell and Gene Therapy for Cancer, the Mark Foundation Emerging Leader Award, and the Cancer Research Institute Lloyd J. Old STAR Award. She is also a Member Researcher in the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.