MANAGEMENT & ADVISOR BOARD
Who We Are
SHOHRE GOLESTANI PRESIDENT & CEO, AND CO-FOUNDER
Entrepreneur with several years of experience from the financial industry, and over ten years of experience in the biotech arena. Her creative mindset challenged the traditional approaches to vaccine design. Through her leadership the NIDS technology was validated through non-dilutive competitive government grants and awards.
MICHAEL VAJDY PH.D. CHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER & CO-FOUNDER
Dr. Vajdy is a Mucosal Immunologist with over 26 years of experience in designing mucosal and systemic adjuvants and vaccines, studying mucosal and systemic B and T cell immune induction mechanisms and long-term immunological memory. Following Ph.D. studentship at Goteborg University under the supervision of Dr. Nils Lycke, a prominent Mucosal Immunologist, Dr. Vajdy completed his first post doctoral fellowship with Dr. Katherine Knight, then President of the American Association of Immunologists. Dr. Vajdy completed his second post doctoral fellowship with Dr. Marian Neutra, an expert in Mucosal Biology and M cells of the intestinal Peyer’s patches. Dr. Vajdy was recruited to Chiron Corporation and Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics where he remained for 9.5 years with increasing responsibilities including project leadership for a vaccine manufacturing platform technology. He also held simultaneous academic positions as Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor with the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and visiting associate professor at Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of California, Davis. He was also a Faculty Member with the Graduate Group, Department of Comparative Pathology, University of California, Davis, and adjunct full professor at the department of pathobiology, University of Connecticut. In these capacities, he trained a Ph.D. student and several post-doctoral fellows and wrote collaborative NIH grants. Dr. Vajdy has authored 56 peer-reviewed papers. Dr. Vajdy is the editor of a book entitled “immunity against mucosal pathogens” (Springer, 2008). He is ad hoc reviewer at the NIH study sections, and he is often invited as a speaker at international Immunology and vaccines meetings. Dr. Vajdy has been the PI and recipient of NIH grants. Dr. Vajdy is the inventor of 6 patents owned by Novartis Vaccines as well as patents owned fully by EpitoGenesis Inc.
MICHAEL HOUGHTON PHD
Dr. Houghton was formerly CSO of Epiphany Biosciences and head of Virology at Chiron Corporation. He is currently Canada Excellence Research Chair in Virology, and Professor at the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Alberta, Canada.
Dr. Houghton and his Chiron colleagues were the first to identify the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in collaboration with the CDC. Their discovery led to a series of HCV tests that are now used globally to screen the blood supply to prevent infection. Their work also led to the identification of important new anti-HCV drug targets. For this work, Dr. Houghton received the Albert Lasker Prize in 2000 as well as numerous other awards from various countries and organizations throughout the world. More recently, Dr. Houghton has focused on vaccine approaches to hepatitis C, including strategies for immunotherapy of this viral disease.
In addition to HCV, Dr. Houghton's group was the first to characterize the hepatitis D virus (delta virus). He has published over 200 articles in the fields of gene regulation, human beta interferon and hepatitis C and D viruses. He also holds numerous patents issued in the fields of recombinant human interferons, bacterial expression vectors, and hepatitis C and D viruses.
JAN HOLMGREN, MD PHD
Dr. Jan Holmgren, MD, PhD is Professor of Medical microbiology and immunology at University of Gothenburg, Sweden, a chair he took over in 1980 after Prof. Örjan Ouchterlony; he is also Director of the Göteborg University Vaccine Research Institute (GUVAX). JH has published more than 500 papers in the fields of microbiology, immunology and vaccinology, and he is an elected member of various societies and academies including e.g. the Swedish Royal Academy of Science and the Swedish Royal Academy of Engineering. He has also served on many national and international boards, e.g. on the Board of Directors of the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (Sweden), the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and he is a member of several international vaccine-related technical task forces or steering committees. After completing his PhD thesis on urinary tract infection immunology in 1969, a large part of JH´s research has been focused on the mechanisms of disease and immunity in cholera and other mucosal infections and on the development of mucosal vaccines. In his early work on cholera, JH discovered, for instance, both the AB subunit structure and function of cholera toxin and the GM1 ganglioside as the cholera toxin receptor. JH and his coworkers have also made many important contributions in mucosal immunology and in the development of mucosal vaccines and adjuvants. They have developed and taken the oral B subunit-whole cell cholera vaccine all the way from basic concept to an internationally widely registered product, they have developed and taken an oral ETEC vaccine from concept to phase 3 trials, and they have pioneered the development of methods for assessment of mucosal vaccine immunogenicity in humans. In more basic aspects of mucosal vaccinology, JH´s laboratory has made important contributions in mucosal adjuvant construction, in defining basic mechanisms of mucosal immune regulation, and in developing promising mucosal immunomodulating/tolerogenic vaccine therapies against autoimmune and allergic diseases, the latter based on JH´s and Cecil Czerkinsky´s discovery of cholera toxin B subunit as a uniquely efficient combined carrier and immunomodulator for inducing peripheral T cell tolerance to chemically or genetically conjugated tissue antigens or allergens. JH has received numerous major scientific prizes and other distinctions for his research contributions, e g The Royal Swedish Academy of Science Prize in Medicine for 1977 (“Hilda and Alfred Erikssons pris”); The Anders Jahre Prize II (young scientists) in Medicine for 1982 (Norway); “Söderbergska Priset” (biggest Prize of The Swedish Medical Society) for 1994 ; The Louis Jeantet Prize for Medicine for 1994 (Switzerland); The Eric K. Fernström Big Nordic Prize in Medicine 2004 (Lund University, Sweden); and The International Society for Mucosal Immunology “Distinguished Science Achievement Award 2007 “ . JH and his laboratory are extensively involved in collaborations with many international research institutions and programs, e.g. IVI, WHO, GAVI, and ICDDR,B (Bangladesh) and EU´s MUVAPRED program for mucosal vaccines
CECIL CZERKINSKY, PHD
A French immunologist, Dr. Czerkinsky joined the International Vaccine Institute as the Deputy Director-General for Laboratory Sciences in October 2005. Before joining the IVI, Dr. Czerkinsky has been serving as the Director of the Division of Mucosal Immunology and Vaccinology at INSERM (French National Institute of Health and Medical Research) since 1997, focusing on vaccine research and discovery of the basic mechanisms governing induction of immunity in mucosal organs. Dr. Czerkinsky received doctoral degrees from the University of Lyon Odontology Faculty in France, and the University of Gothenburg in Sweden where he served as a professor of the immunology. He has more than 130 scientific peer-reviewed publications in immunology and vaccinology. Dr. Czerkinsky invented the ELISPOT, a method for monitoring immune responses in humans and animals, which is used in laboratories world-wide. His work has been focused on basic immunological mechanisms pertaining to vaccine development against infections, auto-immune disorders and allergies. Dr. Czerkinsky holds several patents in these areas.
He is a co-founder of several biotechnology companies, including Maxim Pharmaceuticals Inc., a U.S. biopharmaceutical firm devoted to the development of therapeutic drugs for cancer and liver diseases.