Anne (Annie) S. De Groot, M.D.
Founder, CEO & CSO, EpiVax, Inc
Anne 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.
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- Senior Professor (Research), University of Georgia Center for Vaccines and Immunology
- Founder/Scientific Director GAIA Vaccine Foundation
- Volunteer Medical Director Clínica Esperanza /Hope Clinic
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). In 2020, Dr. De Groot joined the University of Georgia as a Senior Professor (Research) in the College of Veterinary Medicine/Center for Vaccines and Immunology. 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.
See her PubMed list here.
CIO & COO, EpiVax, Inc.
William 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.Download full bio
See his PubMed list here.
Clifford Grimm, MBA
CFO / CBO, EPIVAX, INC.
Cliff 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.
Frances Terry, MPH
Director of Analysis
Frances 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.
Director of IT
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 led a team of developers in the design, development, implementation, testing, and deployment of immunoinformatics applications. In 2021, Matt was promoted again to Director of IT, where he is responsible for the management, strategy, and execution related to the maintenance of IT infrastructure at EpiVax.
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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 led 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. In 2021, Matt was promoted again to Director of IT, where he is currently responsible for the management, strategy, and execution related to the maintenance of IT infrastructure at EpiVax. Matt oversees all IT functions including, but not limited to: designing, securing and implementing information systems, leading the growth and expansion of all internal application development, devising and establishing all IT-related policies and procedures, and supervising a team of IT professionals tasked with ensuring the company’s technology operations run efficiently.
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.
Associate Director, Business Development & Marketing
Katie Porter is the Associate Director, Business Development & Marketing 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 licensing, partnerships and the 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 clients progressing products toward commercialization. With, now, a career focus on Business Development, Katie received a Post-Graduate Certificate in Business Administration from Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business and plans to continue to build strong business and leadership skills through education and experience.
Brian J. Roberts, Ph.D.
Scientific Director, Preclinical Immunology
Brian Roberts is the scientific director of the Preclinical Immunology 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:
- De Groot AS, Rosenberg AS, Miah SMS, Skowron G, Roberts BJ, Lélias S, Terry FE, Martin WD. Identification of a potent regulatory T cell epitope in factor V that modulates CD4+ and CD8+ memory T cell responses. Clin Immunol. 2021 Mar;224:108661. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2020.108661. Epub 2021 Jan 4. PMID: 33412295.
- Jawa V, Terry F, Gokemeijer J, Mitra-Kaushik S, Roberts BJ, Tourdot S, De Groot AS. T-Cell Dependent Immunogenicity of Protein Therapeutics Pre-clinical Assessment and Mitigation-Updated Consensus and Review 2020. Front Immunol. 2020 Jun 30;11:1301. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.01301. PMID: 32695107; PMCID: PMC7338774.
- 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