Chuck Muscoplat, Ph.D., a pioneering leader in biotechnology/pharmaceutical and multidisciplinary academic research, is known for his successes in connecting technology to commercial applications. Dr. Muscoplat was instrumental in forming Molecular Genetics, Inc. (later renamed MGI Pharma), one of the first five biotechnology genetic engineering companies in the U.S., where he held several executive positions, including President of the company. At MGI Pharma, he oversaw all aspects of drug development from preclinical pharmacology, toxicology, manufacturing, formulation, IND filing, clinical trials and NDA submission. MGI Pharma was eventually sold to Eisai Co., Ltd. for $3.8 billion in 2008. After serving as Dean of the University of Minnesota’s College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Dr. Muscoplat is currently involved in several early-stage life science companies and a University-based technology transfer and commercial product development initiative he led and that is jointly funded by the NIH and the University—one of the first Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub (REACH) sites in the U.S. supported by the NIH and focused on entrepreneurial faculty with serious commercialization goals.
Edward Berger, Ph.D., Chief of the Molecular Structure Section of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, is focused on developing a “functional cure” for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. His most recent approach includes the use of CD4-based chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) for genetic modification of autologous CD8 T cells, followed by adoptive transfer of the CAR-T cells back to the infected person. Among Dr. Berger’s numerous research accomplishments, he earned recognition by the American Association for the Advancement of Science; he was named a Pillar of Immunology and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology; and he was acclaimed as an ISI Highly Cited Researcher, Breakthrough of the Year, by Science.