Prof. Harvey Lodish
Professor Lodish is a Founding Member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. He is a Professor of Biology and a Professor of Biological Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He serves as a Member of the National Academy of Sciences and is an Associate (Foreign) Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization. He is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.
As a member of the Board of Trustees of Boston Children’s Hospital, Professor Lodish chairs the Board of Trustees Research Committee. As the Founding Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center from 2008 to 2016, he oversaw the state’s $1 billion investments in the life sciences.
Starting in 1973, his laboratory concentrated on the biogenesis, structure, and function of several important secreted and plasma membrane glycoproteins. To date, his group has made key discoveries in the fields of red blood cell development and therapeutics, long non-coding RNAs, and adipocyte biology. Most recently, his laboratory developed culture systems for generating mature human red blood cells from hematopoietic stem cells.
He co-founded Rubius Therapeutics, a company that uses gene- and enzyme-modified red blood cells as vehicles for the long- term introduction of many novel therapeutics, immunomodulatory agents, and diagnostic imaging probes into the human body.
Professor Lodish has extensive experience in the biotechnology industry. He was a founding member (1980) and Principal of the consulting company BIA. He was a founder and scientific advisory board member of Genzyme, Inc. He was also a scientific founder of Arris (now Axys) Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. In addition, he was formerly a scientific advisory board member of AstraZeneca, Genset SA, and Dyax Corporation.
Dr. Minh Le
Dr. Minh Le graduated with an honours degree in Life Sciences from the National University of Singapore. She received a Ph.D. degree in Computational and Systems Biology from the Singapore-MIT Alliance under the guidance of Prof. Bing Lim and Prof. Harvey Lodish.
From 2010 to 2015, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Judy Lieberman at Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School in the United States of America. Dr. Le is well-recognized for her contributions to the field of microRNAs, extracellular vesicles, and cancer biology. She was one of the first three recipients of the L’Oréal Singapore for Women in Science National Fellowship. During her training at Harvard Medical School, she was awarded the prestigious postdoctoral Jane Coffin Childs Fellowship.
In her previous appointment, Dr. Le led a research group of more than 10 people at City University of Hong Kong. The group focused on the functions of extracellular vesicles in the cancer microenvironment and in the applications of red blood cell extracellular vesicles in anti-cancer therapies. Dr. Le is also a co-founder of the Hong Kong RNA club and the coordinator of the “Molecular Cell Biology” Vietnamese textbook translation project.
Dr. Minh Le is presently an Assistant Professor of the Department of Pharmacology at the National University of Singapore.
Dr. Jiahai Shi
Dr. Jiahai Shi received his Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences from Xiamen University in 2002. After graduation, he was awarded a full PhD scholarship to join Dr. Jianxing Song’s lab at the National University of Singapore. To explore new areas of research, and to broaden his expertise during his post-doctoral training, Dr. Shi joined the laboratory of Dr. Harvey Lodish (MIT/Whitehead Institute).
Dr. Shi has 20 years’ experience in the development of bio-therapeutics . He participated in vaccine development against hepatitis E virus (HEV), causing a type of viral hepatitis. The vaccine was commercialized under the trade name 益可宁Hecolin in 2012. During his PhD studies, Dr. Shi developed novel strategies for drug development against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus (SARS-CoV), by targeting its main protease (SARS-CoV Mpro). He demonstrated that the dimerization interface at the extra helical domain of SARS-CoV Mpro is an attractive drug targeting pocket. As this pocket is far from the active site of Mpro, drugs targeting this pocket will have minimum off-target effects to other human proteases. Given the similarity between SARS-CoV Mpro and COVID-19-CoV Mpro, such an approach might also be attractive for COVID-19.
When he was at the Lodish lab, Dr. Shi co-invented a new technology for engineering red blood cells as carriers for a wide range of therapeutic cargoes, particularly for therapeutic proteins. This invention led to the establishment of Rubius Therapeutics, which went public in 2018 and reached a market capitalization of almost 2 billion USD.
After setting up his own lab, Dr. Shi is focused on the development of novel therapeutics, including gene therapy, genome editing and antibody therapy. Working with his collaborators, Dr. Shi engineers red blood cell extracellular vesicles (RBCEV) as a non-viral gene delivery vehicle. Again, this innovation has led to the establishment of another biotech company, now based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Carmine Therapeutics, co-founded with Harvey Lodish, Minh Le and Esco Ventures X.
Dr. Shi aims to develop more novel therapies against unmet clinical needs.