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2019 Featured Talks » Panel Discussion: Targeting KRAS

Panel Discussion: Targeting KRAS

Chair: David Cheresh, PhD
UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center

Peter Olson, PhD, Mirati Therapeutics
Yi Liu, PhD, Wellspring Biosciences

David Cheresh, PhD
Distinguished Professor and Vice Chair, Pathology
Associate Director, Innovation and Industry Alliances, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center

David A. Cheresh, PhD, is a leading authority in the study of angiogenesis – the growth of new blood vessels tumors need to grow. Since coming to Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health in 2005, Cheresh has led efforts to develop new collaborations and programs in clinical and basic science with an emphasis on translational medicine. He is Associated Director, Innovation and Industry Alliances, Vice Chair of Pathology, and a Distinguished Professor.

Dr. Cheresh studies the signaling networks that regulate angiogenesis, tumor growth, drug resistance and metastasis. He identified that integrin ανβ3 – a receptor on the surface of tumor-associated blood vessels – as a critical biomarker of angiogenesis. He successfully translated laboratory discoveries into biologically-based drugs that are now in various stages of clinical development. Cheresh’s research is widely published, with seven papers cited more than 1,000 times each. Most recently, Cheresh and colleagues have created a novel scaffold-based chemistry approach to stabilize kinases – growth-signaling enzymes – in their inactive state. These studies have led to the development of a first-in-class Raf inhibitor that interferes with angiogenesis signaling pathways.

Dr. Cheresh received his doctorate in immunology from the University of Miami School of Medicine. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the 15th Hans Linder Memorial Lecture from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel; the XXIII Annual Myron Karon Memorial Lectureship from the University of Southern California; the Robert Flynn Professorship Award from Tufts University School of Medicine; the Judah Folkman lectureship; and the Paget-Ewing award from the Metastasis Research Society/American Association for Cancer Research. He has a received both an American Cancer Society Faculty Research Award and a National Cancer Institute Merit Award.

Peter Olson, PhD
Director of Research
Mirati Therapeutics

Pete Olson is the Director of Research at Mirati Therapeutics, a company focused on developing innovative, targeted therapies for the treatment of cancer. Mirati is developing a covalent KRAS G12C inhibitor for the treatment of lung, colon and other KRAS G12C-mutant cancers as well as a spectrum-selective receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor in combination with a checkpoint inhibitor, for patients who progress on checkpoint inhibitor therapy. Prior to joining Mirati, he was a Senior Group Leader in the Oncology Research Unit at Pfizer.

Pete received his Ph.D. from UCSD and conducted his thesis work in Ron Evans’ lab at The Salk Institute studying the role of nuclear fatty acid receptors in metabolic disease and cancer. He did his postdoc in Doug Hanahan’s lab at UCSF where he used mouse models to interrogate mechanisms of tumorigenesis and as a platform to test experimental therapeutics.

Yi Liu, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President
Wellspring Biosciences LLC

Yi Liu, Ph.D., is one of Kura’s co-founders and has served as Chief Scientific Officer since October 2014. Prior to joining Kura, Dr. Liu co-founded and served as Chief Scientific Officer of Wellspring Biosciences Inc., a private biopharmaceutical company, from July 2012 to September 2014. Dr. Liu also co-founded Intellikine, Inc., a private biopharmaceutical company, where he served as Vice President of Drug Discovery from 2007 to May 2012, until its acquisition by Takeda Pharmaceuticals. Prior to Intellikine, Dr. Liu was the head of the drug design group at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation. Earlier in his career, he held senior scientist positions at both SGX Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a public biopharmaceutical company which was acquired by Eli Lilly and Company in 2008, and Curagen Corporation, a public biopharmaceutical development company. Dr. Liu received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Princeton University, his MSc in computational chemistry from Beijing University and his BE in Chemical Engineering from Tsinghua University.