Scientific Advisory Board
Michael N. Hall
Michael N. Hall received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Pasteur Institute (France) and the University of California, San Francisco. He joined the Biozentrum of the University of Basel (Switzerland) in 1987 where he is currently Professor and former Chair of Biochemistry. Hall is a pioneer in the fields of TOR signaling and cell growth control.
In 1991, Hall and colleagues discovered TOR (Target of Rapamycin) and subsequently elucidated its role as a central controller of cell growth and metabolism. The discovery of TOR led to a fundamental change in how one thinks of cell growth. It is not a spontaneous process that just happens when building blocks (nutrients) are available, but rather a highly regulated, plastic process controlled by TOR-dependent signaling pathways. As a central controller of cell growth and metabolism, TOR plays a key role in development, aging, and disease. Hall is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and has received numerous awards, including the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences (2014), the Canada Gairdner International Award (2015), and the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research (2017).
Charlotte Allerton is Senior Vice President and Head of Medicine Design in Pfizer. Medicine Design includes the scientific disciplines of Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmacokinetics, Dynamics and Metabolism (PDM), and Hit Discovery and Lead Optimization capabilities, enabling a deep focus on the design and delivery of small molecule medicines across Pfizer’s core disease areas.
Charlotte joined Medicinal Chemistry in Pfizer, Sandwich in 1993, and spent 14 years working across a range of therapeutic areas, including a secondment to Japan to partner on pain research. In 2007, Charlotte joined PDM as the Genitourinary Therapeutic Area Lead, progressing to take the role of Sandwich PDM site lead in 2009. She moved to Cambridge UK in 2011 to lead Pre-Clinical Sciences for the Neusentis Pain Research Unit, overseeing DMPK, drug safety and pharmaceutical sciences capabilities. In 2012, Charlotte took on leadership of the small molecule PDM line and re-located with her family to the U.S.A. In 2016 she took on leadership of Medicine Design.
Charlotte obtained her BSc from the University of Nottingham in 1993 and MPhil in organic chemistry from the University of Cambridge in 1997.
Oscar Fernandez-Capetillo (Bilbao, 1974) did his PhD in the University of The Basque Country working with mouse models of autoimmunity with Dr. Ana Zubiaga. For his postdoctoral stay he joined the group of André Nussenzweig, where he started to work on DNA repair and the role of histone H2AX. In 2005, he joined CNIO to lead the Genomic Instability Group where he has been ever since.
His main focus has been on exploring the role of replicative stress in cancer and ageing, for which the group has combined cell biology, mouse models and drug development projects. Part of this work led to the development of ATR inhibitors for the treatment of cancer, which are now part of the clinical development programs in several Pharmaceutical Companies. Since 2015 Oscar is also the Deputy Director of CNIO, and full professor at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
Dennis Gillingham is Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Basel where his lab studies DNA encoded library development, mechanisms of chemical DNA damage and repair, and the chemical biology of targeted protein degradation. His research has identified a fundamentally new way that metals can inflict DNA damage.
By initiating an innovation outreach program in the Department of Chemistry, Dennis has fostered a close connection of the University to the biotech and entrepreneurship sectors of the Basel region. He also serves as an external panel member for Innosuisse, the translational research arm of the Swiss National Science Foundation. Dennis holds a PhD in synthetic organic chemistry from Boston College.