Charles Fumito Taketa Seminar

Thursday, April 27 | 3 - 4 p.m. | Children's Hospital Auditorium

Reception to follow in the TBRC 2nd floor Atrium

James A. Wells, PhD

Remodeling of Cell Surfaceomes in Cancer

James A. Wells, PhDJames 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.

Abstract (PDF)

Charles Fumito Taketa, PhDCharles 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

April 2015
William S. Sly, MD - Saint Louis University

April 2014
Ajit Varki, MD - University of California, San Diego

October 2011
Melanie H. Cobb, PhD - UT Southwestern Medical Center

October 2009 
John Markley, PhD - University of Wisconsin – Madison

May 2007 
Natalie Ahn, PhD - University of Colorado, Boulder

May 2006  
Jack Dixon, PhD - University of California, San Diego

April 2004 
Phillip A. Cole, MD, PhD - Johns Hopkins University, Maryland

October 2002
William S. Reznikoff, PhD - University of Wisconsin – Madison

April 2002  
Rowena G. Matthews, PhD - University of Michigan

April 2001  
Gregory Petsko, PhD - Brandeis University

September 1999 
Hector DeLuca, PhD - University of Wisconsin – Madison

October 1998 
James L. Lessard, PhD - Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati

April 1998  
Jonathan Stamler, MD - Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Duke University Medical Center

October 1996  
Bettie Sue Masters, PhD - University of Texas Health Science Center

October 1995
Richard T. Okita, PhD - Washington State University

May 1994  
Robert G. Kemp, PhD - University Health Science Center, Chicago Medical School

September 1992 
Grant Mauk, PhD - University of British Columbia

October 1991
John W. Suttie, PhD - University of Wisconsin – Madison