Scientific Advisory Board


Scientific Advisory Board

Asylia Therapeutics

Asylia’s Scientific Advisory Board harnesses the collective and diverse expertise of world leading scientists and clinicians covering the company’s key areas of research and development with a particular focus on inflammation, oncology and autoimmune and infectious diseases. This distinguished group of scholars provide rigorous scientific review and guidance to the Company’s management with regards to its R&D activities and therapeutic portfolio.

Asylia Therapeutics science lab Houston Texas

Robert Z. Orlowski, M.D., Ph.D.

Co-chair, Scientific Advisory Board
Florence Maude Thomas Cancer Research Professor
Departments of Lymphoma & Myeloma and Experimental Therapeutics
Director, Myeloma Section, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Robert Z. Orlowski, PhD, MD, is the Florence Maude Thomas Cancer Research Professor and Past Chair of the Department of Lymphoma & Myeloma at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.  Dr. Orlowski is internationally recognized for his basic, translational, and clinical research contributions in hematologic malignancies in general, and plasma cell dyscrasias, including multiple myeloma, in particular.  His research teams have been especially involved in understanding the role of components of the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway and associated mechanisms, including Heat shock proteins (HSPs), in tumor pathobiology, and in their viability as therapeutic targets.  These studies have involved the pre-clinical development of novel drugs and rationally designed combinations that were then translated to the clinic in phase I-III clinical trials, leading to multiple regulatory approvals and improved outcomes for tens of thousands of patients.  He obtained both an M.D. and a Ph.D., the latter in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, at the Yale University School of Medicine and Yale University Graduate School, respectively.  Then, after completing his Residency at the Washington University in St. Louis’ Barnes Hospital, he performed fellowships in Adult Hematology and Medical Oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins Oncology Center, respectively.  Prior to arriving at MD Anderson, he was the Lenvel Lee Rothrock Associate Professor in Hematology/Oncology and Pharmacology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Asylia Therapeutics science lab Houston Texas

Rafi Ahmed, Ph.D.

Director, Emory Vaccine Center
Emory University School of Medicine

Dr. Rafi Ahmed, Ph.D. is the Georgia Research Alliance Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, and Director of the Emory Vaccine Center at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA. His research efforts are directed towards the following areas:

  • Understanding the mechanisms of immunological memory and using this knowledge to develop new and more effective vaccines.
  • Defining the mechanisms of T cell exhaustion during chronic viral infections and cancer and developing strategies for immunotherapy.

Dr. Ahmed is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Inventors and a foreign member on the Indian National Science Academy.

Asylia Therapeutics science lab Houston Texas

Dr. Stuart K. Calderwood, Ph.D.

Professor, Director of Cell and Molecular Biology, Department of Radiation Oncology,
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Calderwood obtained his PhD from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1978, and conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford University, where he studied the heat shock response in cancer. In 1985, he became an Assistant at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), Harvard Medical School, where he continued his work on characterizing signal transduction, protein phosphorylation, and transcriptional activation of heat shock factor 1 (HSF1), leading to an understanding of how proteotoxic stress is sensed and heat shock proteins (HSPs) are expressed. In 1999, while still at DFCI, he began studying the roles of extracellular Hsp70 in immunity, demonstrating a role for this protein as a danger signal and potential endogenous inflammatory molecule. He characterized the immune receptors for HSPs (scavenger receptors; SR, and Toll-like receptors) and showed that the SR mediates the internalization of HSP-antigen complexes. 

More recently, he has found immune-suppressive receptors for the extracellular HSPs (the Siglec family). Currently, his lab is characterizing the interplay between these receptors in the initiation and resolution of HSP immune responses.
Dr. Calderwood has also shown the effectiveness of Hsp70 vaccines loaded with patient antigens in cancer treatment and has found effective methods to increase antigen processing and loading in tumor- dendritic cell complexes to produce effective, personalized anti-cancer vaccines.
Asylia Therapeutics science lab Houston Texas

Betty Diamond, M.D.

Professor & Head, The Center for Autoimmune, Musculoskeletal & Hematopoietic Diseases
Director, Institute of Molecular Medicine
The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Northwell Health

Betty Diamond received an M.D. from Harvard Medical School. She performed a residency in Internal Medicine at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, and then a post-doctoral fellowship in Immunology with Dr. Matthew Scharff at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She is currently Director of the Institute of Molecular Medicine at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research.

Dr. Diamond’s research has focused on the induction and pathogenicity of anti-DNA antibodies in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. She showed that somatic mutation of immunoglobulin genes can generate autoantibodies in mice and humans, making the germinal center a focus in disease pathogenesis. Her laboratory has also demonstrated that a subset of anti-DNA antibodies cross-reacts with the NMDA receptor and showed that autoantibodies can cause aspects of neuropsychiatric lupus, creating a paradigm for antibody-mediated changes in brain function in many conditions. Most recently, she has developed a research program on the immunomodulatory functions of C1q.

She received the Outstanding Investigator Award of the ACR in 2001, the Lee Howley Award from the Arthritis Foundation in 2002, and the Recognition Award from the National Association of MD-PhD Programs in 2004 and the AAI Distinguished Fellow Award in 2019. In 2006, she was elected to the Institute of Medicine and became a fellow of the AAAS. She has served on the Scientific Council of NIAMS and the Board of Directors of the American College of Rheumatology. She is a past President of the American Association of Immunologists.

Asylia Therapeutics science lab Houston Texas

Diane Mathis, Ph.D.

Professor, Immunology, Harvard Medical School
Principal Faculty Member, Harvard Stem Cell Institute
Associate Faculty Member, Broad Institute

Dr. Mathis obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester, and performed postdoctoral studies at the Laboratoire de Génétique Moléculaire des Eucaryotes in Strasbourg, France and at Stanford University Medical Center. She returned to Strasbourg at the end of 1983, establishing a laboratory at the LGME [later the Institut de Genetique et de Biologie Moleculare et Cellulaire (IGBMC)] in conjunction with Dr. Christophe Benoist. The lab moved to the Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston in 1999. Through 2008, Dr. Mathis was a Professor of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and Associate Research Director and Head of the Section on Immunology and Immunogenetics at Joslin.

Dr. Mathis is currently a Professor in the Department Immunology at HMS, and holder of the Morton Grove-Rasmussen Chair in Immunohematology. She is also a Principal Faculty Member at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and an Associate Faculty Member of the Broad Institute. She presently serves on Advisory Boards of Rockefeller University, the HHMI, Genentech, Pfizer and Amgen (amongst others), and of several research institutes worldwide. Dr. Mathis was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences in 2003, the German Academy in 2007, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012. She received the FASEB Excellence in Science Award in 2016. Her lab works in the fields of T cell differentiation, autoimmunity and inflammation. She has trained over 150 students and postdoctoral fellows.

Asylia Therapeutics science lab Houston Texas

Jeffrey V. Ravetch, M.D., Ph.D.

Theresa and Eugene Lang Professor, Rockefeller University,
Head of the Leonard Wagner Laboratory of Molecular Genetics and

Dr. Ravetch obtained his B.S. from Yale University and received his doctorate from the Rockefeller University – Cornell Medical School MD/Ph.D program, in 1979. He pursued postdoctoral studies at the NIH with Phil Leder where he identified and characterized the genes for human antibodies and the DNA elements involved in switch recombination. From 1982 to 1996 Dr. Ravetch was a member of the faculty of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Cornell Medical College. His laboratory has focused on the Fc domain of antibodies and the receptors it engages, determining the mechanisms by which this domain enables antibodies to mediate their diverse biological activities in vivo. His work established the novel structural basis for Fc domain functional diversity and the pre-eminence of FcR pathways in host defense, inflammation and tolerance, describing novel inhibitory signaling pathways to account for the paradoxical roles of antibodies as promoting and suppressing inflammation. His work has been widely extended into clinical applications for the treatment of neoplastic, inflammatory and infectious diseases.

Dr. Ravetch has received numerous awards including the Burroughs-Wellcome Scholar Award, the Pew Scholar Award, the Boyer Award, the NIH Merit Award, the Lee C. Howley, Sr. Prize (2004), the AAI-Huang Foundation Meritorious Career Award (2005), the William B. Coley Award (2007), the Sanofi-Pasteur Award (2012), the Gairdner International Prize (2012), the Wolf Prize in Medicine (2015), the Ross Prize in Molecular Medicine (2017) and the Robert Koch award (2018). He has received an honorary doctorate from Freidrich-Alexander University, Nuremberg/Erlangen. He is a member of National Academy of Sciences (2006), the National Academy of Medicine (2007), a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2008) and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2009).

Asylia Therapeutics science lab Houston Texas

Stephanie S. Watowich, Ph.D.

Professor, Immunology & Co-Director, Center for Inflammation and Cancer
MD Anderson Cancer Center

Stephanie S. Watowich, Ph.D. obtained her B.A. in Biology from Carleton College (1983) and performed cancer immunology research at the University of Chicago from 1983-1985. She progressed to Ph.D. studies at Northwestern University (1985-1990) with Dr. Richard I. Morimoto, where her research on heat shock gene transcriptional regulation provided foundation for the unfolded protein response. Dr. Watowich performed postdoctoral research at the Whitehead Institute of Biomedical Research with Dr. Harvey F. Lodish (1990-¬1995). Her groundbreaking work on the erythropoietin receptor provided a paradigm for cytokine receptor activation mechanisms via receptor oligomerization.

Dr. Watowich joined MD Anderson’s Department of Immunology in 1995, where she focuses on transcriptional control of innate immunity. Dr. Watowich’s laboratory has discovered fundamental mechanisms by which the cytokine-activated STAT transcriptional regulators control hematopoiesis, innate immune cell generation in inflammation, and innate immune activity in tumor microenvironments. Her laboratory has advanced a novel dendritic cell-based immunotherapy, demonstrating significantly enhanced efficacy against established tumors and experimental metastases in pre-clinical studies over prior vaccine approaches. Dr. Watowich’s laboratory has also pioneered use of inflammation-prone and acute infection mouse models to investigate immune-related adverse events (irAEs) to cancer immunotherapy. Her laboratory has uncovered immunological mechanisms driving irAEs as well as novel strategies to mitigate irAEs while enhancing therapeutic efficacy of checkpoint blockade.

Dr. Watowich participates regularly on NIH immunology and cancer immunology study sections and fellowship panels. She has received numerous honors and awards including The William Randolph Hearst Foundation Faculty Achievement Award in Education, MD Anderson (2009), induction into the UT Kenneth I. Shine Academy of Health Science Education (2010), the John P. McGovern Outstanding Teacher Award (2010), and Distinguished Teaching Professor, MD Anderson (2012). In 2020, Dr. Watowich was recognized as a finalist for the Robert M. Chamberlain Distinguished Mentor Award, and received the President’s Recognition of Faculty Excellence for Education and Mentorship Advancement.

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