James A. Wells, PhD
Remodeling of Cell Surfaceomes in Cancer
James A Wells, PhD, has pioneered the engineering of proteins, antibodies, and small molecules that target catalytic, allosteric, and protein-protein interaction sites. He innovated mutagenesis methods including protein and substrate phage display, cassette mutagenesis, alanine-scanning, engineered enzymes for bio-conjugations, and disulfide "tethering", a novel site-directed fragment based approach for drug discovery. These technologies lead to important new insights into protease mechanisms and signaling pathways, growth factor signaling, hot-spots in protein-protein interfaces, and several protein engineered products sold by biotechnology companies today including Avastin for treating many cancers sold by Genentech, Somavert used for treating acromegaly sold by Pfizer and engineered proteases sold by Genencor.
He received his PhD from Washington State University with Professor Ralph Yount and Post-doc at Stanford University with Professor George Stark. Wells started his independent research career in Protein Engineering at Genentech (1982-1998), President and CSO at Sunesis Pharmaceuticals (1998-2005) and now Professor and former Chair of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at UCSF.
He has received societal awards from the American Chemical Society, the Protein Society, the American Peptide Society, and the ASBMB. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Inventors. He is an inventor on more than 60 patents, authored more than 190 peer-reviewed papers, and a founder of Sunesis, Calithera, and Warp Drive.
Charles Fumito Taketa, PhD
Charles Fumito Taketa was born March 10, 1926, in Waimea on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. He received his A.B. at Washington University in 1950 and his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1957.
In 1958, he was appointed to the faculty of Marquette University School of Medicine as an instructor in Biochemistry and later promoted to Assistant Professor. As the school became the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1967, he continued his ascent to Associate Professor, then to Professor in 1973. From 1980 to 1982, he was acting Chair, and from 1982 he was Vice Chair of the Department of Biochemistry. His research career, which was devoted to understanding the chemical basis of hemoglobin function and later the toxicity of organotin compounds, was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Wisconsin Heart Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the Midwest Children's Cancer Center. He was a Fogarty Scholar at Kings College, London from 1975 to 1976, and in 1987 he received the Medical College's Distinguished Service Award. He died on June 1, 1990.
Friends and family of Charles Fumito Taketa established the Charles Fumito Taketa Memorial Fund at the Medical College of Wisconsin to promote graduate education in Biochemistry.
Past Invited Speakers
William S. Sly, MD - Saint Louis University
Ajit Varki, MD - University of California, San Diego
Melanie H. Cobb, PhD - UT Southwestern Medical Center
John Markley, PhD - University of Wisconsin – Madison
Natalie Ahn, PhD - University of Colorado, Boulder
Jack Dixon, PhD - University of California, San Diego
Phillip A. Cole, MD, PhD - Johns Hopkins University, Maryland
William S. Reznikoff, PhD - University of Wisconsin – Madison
Rowena G. Matthews, PhD - University of Michigan
Gregory Petsko, PhD - Brandeis University
Hector DeLuca, PhD - University of Wisconsin – Madison
James L. Lessard, PhD - Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati
Jonathan Stamler, MD - Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Duke University Medical Center
Bettie Sue Masters, PhD - University of Texas Health Science Center
Richard T. Okita, PhD - Washington State University
Robert G. Kemp, PhD - University Health Science Center, Chicago Medical School
Grant Mauk, PhD - University of British Columbia
John W. Suttie, PhD - University of Wisconsin – Madison