Epivax Team

 

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Anne (Annie) S. De Groot, M.D.

Founder, CEO & CSO, EpiVax, Inc

annie-de-grootAnne De Groot is internationally known for her research on the human immune system’s response to vaccines and therapeutics. She graduated from Smith College in 1978 and earned her medical degree at University of Chicago in 1983. After internal medical residency, she obtained advanced training in immunoinformatics and vaccinology with Michael Good, Russell Howard and Jay Berzofsky at the National Institutes of Health, and then returned for a fellowship in ID at New England Medical Center.

Research Gate Profile

Google Scholar Profile

PubMed Bibliography

ORCID https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5911-1459

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  • Research Professor, iCubed / CELS
  • Director, iCubed
  • Founder/Scientific Director GAIA Vaccine Foundation
  • Volunteer Director Clínica Esperanza /Hope Clinic

Email: dr.annie.degroot@gmail.com

She then moved to Brown University, establishing the TB/HIV Research Lab as an emerging center for immune-informatics driven Vaccine design. EpiVax spun out from that laboratory in 1998 and she gradually shifted her effort from 20% to 80% effort at the company. In 2008, she was invited to move her academic affiliation from Brown University to University of Rhode Island, in order to establish the Institute for Immunology and Informatics (iCubed). She has been the recipient of many awards for her groundbreaking work at the intersection of immunology and informatics and is recognized as an early adopter of this technology and an evangelist for the use of immunoinformatics to improve vaccines and protein therapeutics. She has won many awards for her work, including most recently, the Smith Medal (2013).

Her work focuses on harnessing the power of T cells to modulate immune responses, whether to improve vaccines or to reduce the immunogenicity of protein therapeutics. In collaboration with the innovative scientists at EpiVax, she has worked to develop and validate a set of immunoinformatics tools that dramatically accelerate the development of vaccines directly from genomic sequences. With Bill Martin, Dr. Lenny Moise, Dr. Christine Boyle and Frances Terry, she works on a number of projects related to the development and application of the genome-to-vaccine iVAX toolkit, and with Bill Martin, Frances Terry, and Guilhem Richard of the Immunoinformatics team she coordinates the application of ISPRI tools to screening protein therapeutics for immunogenicity. With BD Representatives Katie Porter and Sarah Moniz, she coordinates ISPRI and iVAX services for a global list of Pharma clients. She collaborates with Sandra Lelias to drive Tregitope technology forward, working to develop Tregitope as a stand-alone drug and as an immunomodulators for application to specific autoimmune diseases. With Dr. Lenny Moise, she coordinates the application of EpiVax tools to improving Protein Therapeutics like Botulinum Toxin and monoclonal antibodies such as Campath.

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See her PubMed list here.

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William Martin

CIO & COO, EpiVax, Inc.

Bill-Martin-500-KB-200x300William Martin is the principal architect and developer of the EpiMatrix System. Building on the work done in Dr. De Groot’s Brown University laboratory, Mr. Martin has revised and expanded the EpiMatrix toolkit. In addition to developing new and improved predictive matrices for many Class I and Class II HLA alleles, Mr. Martin has developed a suite of protocols, ancillary tools and database structures allowing for fast and efficient analysis of input protein sequences.

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Since joining Dr. De Groot in 1998 Mr. Martin has developed algorithms, software, and protocols related to genome alignment and analysis, the identification of T cell epitopes, vaccine design, and the deimmunization of therapeutic proteins. As CIO at EpiVax, Mr. Martin manages the network, content, business process, and information management systems in place at EpiVax. In collaboration with Dr. De Groot, Mr. Martin has published many peer reviewed articles related to the prediction of T cell epitopes, vaccine design and protein deimmunization. Before joining EpiVax, Mr. Martin worked as a Team Leader, Business Analyst, Database Architect, Application Developer, Clinical Data Manager, and Research Assistant at PAREXEL International Corporation, and Abt Associates.

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See his PubMed list here.

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Clifford Grimm, MBA

Managing Director

cliff-grimmCliff joined EpiVax, Inc. in the summer of 2007 as the Associate Director of Finance. Soon after joining EpiVax, Cliff earned his MBA from the University of Phoenix. During his tenure, Cliff’s responsibilities have continuously evolved. Currently, he represents EpiVax as the Managing Director. In this role, Cliff leads all aspects of operations to include strategy development and execution.

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He also provides company-wide leadership and is responsible for fostering an environment of accountability, excellence, collaboration and innovation among the staff while ensuring EpiVax’s strategies and policies are executed in the most innovative and economically sound manner. Additionally, Cliff oversees site operations in several functional areas: financial and administrative management, personnel, business and project management, information technology, professional services and office management with the goal of continuously developing and improving systems. Prior to joining EpiVax, Cliff earned extensive experience in sales and operations with companies such as University of Phoenix, DHL WorldWide Express and Frito-Lay. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the GAIA Vaccine Foundation since 2011.

 

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Leonard Moise, Ph.D.

Scientific Director, Vaccine Research

Lenny-MoiseLenny Moise is Director of Vaccine Research at EpiVax, Inc. Dr. Moise received his PhD from the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Biochemistry at Brown University in Providence, RI in 2002. His research in Dr. Edward Hawrot’s laboratory focused on structure-function relationships of snake neurotoxin interactions with the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor. Dr. Moise’s postdoctoral training at Brown University involved functional analysis of toxin binding sites engineered into toxin-insensitive ion channels.

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  • Founding faculty member of iCubed
  • Research interests include immunological mechanisms of pathogenic and beneficial effects of H. pylori persistence; consequences of H. pylori eradication and immunological and technical solutions to advance epitope-based vaccine development

Email: lmoise@uri.edu

In 2005, he joined Dr. Anne De Groot’s laboratory at Brown University as an Instructor in Medicine in the Department of Medicine (Infectious Disease) to study T-cell epitope-driven vaccination and protein therapeutic immunogenicity. Dr. Moise joined EpiVax, Inc. in Providence, RI in 2006 where he is currently Director of Vaccine Research. He leads T-cell epitope-driven vaccine development projects using a genomes-to-vaccine approach that combines cutting edge immunoinformatic and immunologic methods. Additionally, his research efforts include deimmunization of protein therapeutics by epitope modification. In 2008, Dr. Moise accepted a part-time appointment as Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Rhode Island. He is a founding faculty member of the URI Institute for Immunology and Informatics, where he leads vaccine and immunotherapeutic development projects. Dr. Moise has published over 40 manuscripts and reviews and is supported by funding from the NIH and the American Thyroid Association.

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See his PubMed list here.

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Frances Terry, MPH

Director of Analysis

Frances-Terry-600-KB-200x300Frances Terry is the Director of Analysis at EpiVax, Inc. Ms. Terry obtained her Master of Public Health degree at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. At EpiVax, she oversees statistical and bioinformatics-based analysis of wet and dry lab projects focused on immunogenicity prediction for therapeutic proteins and development of genome-derived vaccines.

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Prior to joining the EpiVax team, Ms. Terry managed immunology laboratories at Brown University and Roger Williams Medical Center investigating the chemokine kinetics during cytomegalovirus infection and cellular therapies for wound healing. Ms. Terry holds a degree in Biological Sciences from Smith College, where she investigated gene flow and diversity in coastal protozoans and became interested in host-pathogen co-evolution.

 

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Matthew Ardito

Principal Applications Developer and Codebase Manager

In his early years at EpiVax, Matthew Ardito assisted in maintaining applications associated with the design and reengineering of protein therapeutics and antibody structures, as well as genome mining, epitope mapping, and vaccine design. In 2016, Matt was promoted to Principal Applications Developer and Codebase Manager, where he currently leads a team of developers in the design, development, implementation, testing, and deployment of immunoinformatics applications. Matt also manages all of EpiVax’s IT assets.

 

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Matthew Ardito joined EpiVax in the Spring of 2008, two days after obtaining his Bachelor’s in both Computer Science and Mathematics at Rhode Island College. In his early years at EpiVax, Matt assisted in maintaining applications associated with the design and reengineering of protein therapeutics and antibody structures, as well as genome mining, epitope mapping, and vaccine design. As the lead analyst, he used in-silico tools and custom made driver scripts for client- and grant-based projects ranging from predicted antibody/therapeutic immunogenicity and deimmunization to the formulation of genome-derived, epitope-driven vaccines. In 2016, Matt was promoted to Principal Applications Developer and Codebase Manager, where he currently leads a team of developers in the design, development, implementation, testing, and deployment of immunoinformatics applications relevant to ISPRI (antibody re-engineering pipeline),  iVAX (epitope-based vaccine design pipeline), ISPRI_HCP (host cell protein immunogenicity), matrix development, and ANCER (personalized cancer vaccine) web platforms. Matt also manages all of EpiVax’s IT assets, including their internal codebase repository, hardware infrastructure, documentation, and disaster prevention / relief.

 

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Bethany McGonnigal

Laboratory Manager

Bethany McGonnigal is the Laboratory Manager at EpiVax, Inc. Beth obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree from Bridgewater University. She came to EpiVax via UC Irvine, where she worked as the Laboratory Manager and Senior research associate for Dr. Aaron Esser-Kahn. While there, she facilitated the development and studies of TLR based adjuvants and other immune modulatory molecules and peptides. Beth is delighted to be back in Providence and contributing to the successes of the RI Biotech community.

 

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Beth obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree from Bridgewater University in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. She began her career working in Molecular Biology and Genetics at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston where she worked in the laboratory of Dr. Charles Dearolf studying the underlying causes of leukemia using Drosophila as a model system for 2 years. Beth then continued working in Molecular Biology and the Genetics of Development in the laboratory of Dr. James Padbury at Women and Infants Hospital of RI here in Providence, RI. She held an appointment at Brown University for 20 years and ushered many Graduate and undergraduate students through the lab and was a laboratory manager and Research Associate for Dr. Padbury, studying placental development and the immunology of the maternal fetal interface.

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Katie Porter

Business Development Manager

Katie Porter is the Business Development Manager at EpiVax, Inc. Katie, a Rhode Island native, joined the EpiVax team in 2016 and, after quickly assuming a leadership role, she advanced to management and is responsible for the day-to-day tasks and long-term strategy of the Business Development and Sales and Marketing Team at EpiVax.

 

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Katie obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts and, later, a Master of Science Degree in Biotechnology from the University of Rhode Island. Before joining EpiVax, she worked for thirteen years in large pharma operations in many capacities. With this experience in quality control, regulatory affairs, process development, manufacturing and the like, she brings a unique perspective to the small biotechnology organization at EpiVax and a deep understanding of the needs of client’s progressing products toward commercialization.

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Brian J. Roberts, Ph.D.

Research Scientist / Protein Therapeutics Manager

Brian Roberts is the manager of the Protein Therapeutics program. Dr. Roberts received his PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Vermont in 2012.  His research in the laboratory of Dr Sally Huber focused on the role of toll-like receptors in sex differences in viral-induced autoimmune myocarditis. Dr. Roberts joined EpiVax in 2015 as a postdoctoral researcher working primarily with the Tregitope team. In 2018 he became manager of the Protein Therapeutics group at EpiVax, and oversees the PANDA projects.

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A full list of Dr. Roberts’ publications can be found below:

  • Iwona A Buskiewicz, Andreas Koenig, Brian Roberts, Jennifer Russell, Cuixia Shi, Sun-Hwa Lee, Jae U. Jung, Sally A Huber, and Ralph C Budd. “c-FLIP-Short Reduces Type I Interferon Production and Increases Viremia with Coxsackievirus B3”. PLoS ONE 2014 9:5, pages e96156
  • Roberts, Brian J., Mohamad Moussawi, and Sally A. Huber. “Sex differences in TLR2 and TLR4 expression and their effect on coxsackievirus-induced autoimmune myocarditis.” Experimental and Molecular Pathology 2013 94:1
  • Roberts, Brian J., Julie Dragon, Mohamad Moussawi, and Sally A. Huber.  “Sex-specific signaling through toll-like receptors 2 and 4 contributes to survival outcome of Coxsackievirus B3 infection in C57Bl/6 mice. Biology of Sex Differences 2012 3:25
  • Huber, Sally A, Brian Roberts, Mohamad Moussawi and Jon Boyson.  Slam Haplotype 2 Promotes NKT but Suppresses Vg4 T-cell Activation in Coxsackievirus B3 infection Leading to Increased Liver Damage but Reduced Myocarditis.  American Journal of Pathology. Available online November 27, 2012
  • Case, Laure K., Leon Toussaint, Mohamad Moussawi, Brian Roberts, Naresha Saligrama, Laurent Brossay, Sally A. Huber, and Cory Teuscher. “Chromosome Y regulates survival following murine coxsackievirus B3 infection.” G3: Genes| Genomes| Genetics 2, no. 1 (2012): 115-121.
  • Liu, Wei, Oliver Dienz, Brian Roberts, Mohamad Moussawi, Mercedes Rincon, and Sally A. Huber. “IL-21R expression on CD8+ T cells promotes CD8+ T cell activation in coxsackievirus B3 induced myocarditis.” Experimental and molecular pathology 92 no. 3(2012): 327-333
  • Case, Laure K., Mohamad Moussawi, Brian Roberts, Rajkumar Noubade, Sally A. Huber, and Cory Teuscher. “Histamine H< sub> 1</sub> receptor signaling regulates effector T cell responses and susceptibility to coxsackievirus B3-induced myocarditis.” Cellular immunology 272 no.2  (2011): 269-274
  • Robinson, Dionne P., Sally A. Huber, Mohamad Moussawi, Brian Roberts, Cory Teuscher, Rebecca Watkins, Arthur P. Arnold, and Sabra L. Klein. “Sex chromosome complement contributes to sex differences in coxsackievirus B3 but not influenza A virus pathogenesis.” Biology of sex differences 2, no. 1 (2011): 1-11.
  • Fong, P. P., Philbert, C. M. and Roberts, B. J. (2003), Putative serotonin reuptake inhibitor-induced spawning and parturition in freshwater bivalves is inhibited by mammalian 5-HT2 receptor antagonists. J. Exp. Zool., 298A: 67–72. doi: 10.1002/jez.a.10279