James A. Wells, Ph.D. Dr. Wells received a B.A. degree in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from Washington State University with Dr. Ralph Yount. His postdoctoral studies were done at Stanford University Medical School, Department of Biochemistry with Dr. George Stark. Dr. Wells was the founding member of the Protein Engineering Department at Genentech, Inc where he worked for 16 years. His research pioneered gain-of-function design for enzymes, hormones, and antibodies as well as developing new technologies for engineering and probing protein function. In 1998, Dr. Wells founded Sunesis Pharmaceuticals where he served as President and Chief Scientific Officer and developed a novel fragment discovery technology known as disulfide trapping or Tethering®. In 2005, Dr. Wells joined UCSF as the Harry W. and Diana Hind Distinguished Professor in Pharmaceutical Sciences. He is a joint Professor in the Departments of Cellular & Molecular Pharm! acology, and Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Chair of the Department.
His current research uses a combination of protein design and small molecule drug discovery to study and modulate cellular processes involved in apoptosis and inflammation. Some of his awards include: the Hans Neurath and Aviv Awards given by the Protein Society, the Pfizer Award given by the American Chemical Society, the du Vignead Award given by the Peptide Society, and in 1999 was elected member of the National Academy of Sciences. See www.wellslab.ucsf.edu for more details.
Michelle R. Arkin, Ph.D. Dr. Arkin received her B.A. degree in chemistry from Bryn Mawr College and her Ph.D. in chemistry at Caltech with Dr. Jacqueline Barton. She then held a Daymon Runyon-Walter Winchell postdoctoral fellowship at Genentech. She was among the first scientists at Sunesis Pharmaceuticals where she helped to develop fragment-based approaches for inhibiting protein-protein interactions and developed biophysical tools to characterize protein/small-molecule interactions.
In 2005 she became the Associate Director of Cell Biology at Sunesis and led the translational science team for Voreloxin, an anti-cancer agent in phase 2 clinical trials. Since July 2007, Michelle has been the Associate Director of Biology at the Small Molecule Discovery Center (http://smdc.ucsf.edu) and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at UCSF. In this capacity, she directs the high-throughput screening facility and engages in grant-funded drug discovery research. Dr. Ark! in’s research interests are in seeking innovative approaches to tackle “undruggable” targets such as protein-protein interfaces and allosteric interactions.