Interactive Discussions are informal, moderated discussions, allowing participants to exchange ideas and experiences and develop future collaborations around a focused topic. Each discussion will be led by a facilitator who keeps the discussion on track
and the group engaged. For in-person events, the facilitator will lead from the front of the room while attendees remain seated to promote social distancing. For virtual attendees, the format will be in a Zoom room. To get the most out of this format,
please come prepared to share examples from your work, be a part of a collective, problem-solving session, and participate in active idea sharing.
This year’s Interactive Discussions – at least one for each of the 14 conference programs – will take place on Tuesday, September 28, 4:40 - 5:25 pm EDT and Thursday, September 30, 9:30 - 10:15 am EDT.
Below are the confirmed topics so far. Please revisit this page for more content updates.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 | 4:40 - 5:25 PM EDT
Target Identification and Validation – Part 1
DISCUSSION TOPIC: Chemical Biology Approaches for Target ID and Target Discovery
Moderator: Doug Johnson, PhD, Senior Director, Chemical Biology & Proteomics, Biogen
- Chemical biology approaches as an avenue for new targets
- Chemo-proteomics approaches to understand protein degradation
- Covalent fragment screening for the coupled discovery of targets and leads
- How can chemical biology approaches complement CRISPR-based technologies?
Antibodies Against Membrane Protein Targets – Part 1
DISCUSSION TOPIC: Optimization of Antibody Screening and Characterization at Early Stages of Antibody Discovery Process
Moderator: Jane Seagal, PhD, Senior Principal Research Scientist, Global Biologics, AbbVie
- Binding specificity vs functional and analytical screens: throughput, depth, timing to enable optimal screens and data driven decisions
- Building screening funnels without ‘perfect’ reagents
- Multi-specific format screening: can monoclonal antibody screens guide optimal domain selections for building multi-specific biologics
GPCR-Based Drug Discovery
DISCUSSION TOPIC: Structural and Biophysical Tools for GPCRs
Huixian Wu, PhD, Structural Biology Lab Head, Discovery Sciences, Medicine Design, Pfizer Worldwide Research & DevelopmentMatthew T. Eddy, PhD, Assistant Professor, Chemistry, University of Florida, Gainesville
- GPCR crystallography innovations and applications
- CryoEM insights
- NMR for GPCRs
- GPCRs and Nanodiscs
3D Cellular Models
DISCUSSION TOPIC: Current State of the Art in 3D Cellular Models
Haiqing Bai, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Wyss Institute
Y. Shrike Zhang, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
- Principe of design to mimic organ architecture and in-vivo configurations
- Cell sourcing; Model validation/benchmarking
- Analyzing perspective (throughput readout, automation, etc.)
- Modeling of chronic diseases (fibrosis, chronic inflammation, aging, neurodegenerative diseases); linking of multiple organs
- Adaptation by pharmaceutical companies and academic researchers; regulatory acceptance
Immunology and Oncology: Emerging Drug Targets (VIRTUAL ONLY)
TOPIC: What Progress Excites You in Immunology/Oncology Discovery?
Moderator: Maricel Torrent, PhD, Principal Research Scientist, Molecular Modeling, AbbVie Inc.
- New targets
- Small Molecule IO Progress -- single agents and combos
- Are targeted protein degradation strategies especially suited for oncology or IO?
- Small molecule antivirals for COVID -- what seems promising
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 | 9:30 - 10:15 AM EDT
Lead Generation Strategies
DISCUSSION TOPIC: Integrating New Hit/Lead Strategies
Moderator: Adrian Whitty, PhD, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Boston University
- Enabling tools for hit-finding against difficult targets
- Integrating FBDD with HTS, DEL, and other approaches; strategies for early prioritization
- Applications of covalent fragments to drug lead generation
- Stabilizing protein interfaces
Antibodies Against Membrane Protein Targets – Part 2
DISCUSSION TOPIC: Characterization of Antibodies Against Membrane Proteins
Moderator: Joseph Rucker, PhD, Vice President, Research and Development, Integral Molecular, Inc.
- Affinity and Kinetics: Useful approaches for characterizing antibody binding
- Epitopes: Different techniques for epitope mapping; binning versus mapping; why do epitopes matter?
- Specificity: Understanding off-target binding
- Cell Function: Integrating functional assays into antibody discovery and development
Small G Proteins
DISCUSSION TOPIC: KRAS and Beyond
Moderator: Dan Erlanson, Vice President, Medicinal Chemistry, Frontier Medicines
- What challenges lie ahead for KRAS-targeted therapies
- Applying KRAS inhibitor success to other GTPases
- Covalent fragments and promising biophysical tools for difficult targets
NASH and Fibrosis
DISCUSSION TOPIC: General Fibrosis Targets & Establishing Proof of Concept
Scott Turner, PhD, Director, Medicinal Chemistry, Pliant Therapeutics
Lisa Hazelwood, PhD, Director, Fibrosis Biology, AbbVie
- Non organ-specific fibrosis targets
- Emerging inflammation/immune/fibrosis targets
- Current and novel biomarkers
- Imaging techniques in discovery
Additional Interactive Discussions to be Announced