Dr. Che-Hong Chen, a molecular biologist and geneticist, has been working in Dr. Daria Mochly-Rosen's laboratory at Stanford University for the past 20 years. Dr. Chen's early research includes the characterization of the first intra-cellular receptor for protein kinase C and its protein-protein interaction with other signaling molecules. Dr. Chen's research interest also focuses on the role of ethanol in the mechanism of cardioprotection against ischemia-reperfusion injuries. Dr. Chen's research demonstrated that acute ethanol protects the heart from ischemic events by mimicking preconditioning.
Several protein kinase C substrates involved in this ethanol-induced protective mechanism have been identified in his research including an important detoxifying enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH).
More recently, Dr. Chen has been studying the ALDH gene family and its association with human diseases. By high throughput screening of small molecule libraries, Dr. Chen has pioneered the discovery of a class of novel enzyme activators and inhibitors of aldehyde dehydrogenase (Aldas & Aldis). Many of the 19 human ALDH isoyzmes and their mutations have been implicated in diseases caused by the accumulation of toxic aldehdyes and oxidative stress. Aldas have been shown to be effective in enhancing the cell's detoxifying capacity both in vitro and in vivo. The discovery of Aldas & Aldis as a class of unique enzyme modulators therefore carries an enormous potential for treating a wide range of human diseases. Dr. Chen's current research focuses on the isolation and characterization of ALDH isozyme-specific modulators and the understanding of the basic molecular interaction between ALDH and these small molecules.
Dr. Chen's goals are to further refine the ALDH modulator compounds and to develop Aldas and Aldis into useful therapeutics for human diseases that are associated with reactive and toxic aldehydes.
Dr. Peter Farina
Dr. Peter Farina is an Executive in Residence at Canaan Partners, located in Westport, CT where he assesses and advises on pharma/biotech/healthcare investments. He is also the managing partner of a consulting firm, Salient Science & Technology, LLC which advises several US and Chinese biotech firms on strategic and technical matters in pharmaceutical R&D.
Dr. Farina currently serves as the Co-Chair and Board Member of Connecticut United for Research Excellence (CURE); the Advisory Board of the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, member of the NIH Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network (BPN) steering committee; and Emory University DRIVE Advisory Board. He was a founder and CEO of Developing World Cures, a nonprofit company working on neglected diseases.
Dr. Peter Farina retired in 2008 as Senior Vice President of Development at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., in Ridgefield, CT where he was responsible for North American development of drugs in the therapeutics areas of Immunology/Inflammation, Virology and Cardiovascular Disease. During his tenure as SVP at BI, his interdisciplinary team worked on the development and successful registration of Aptivus®, an HIV protease inhibitor, Viramune XR® for HIV and Atrovent HFA® for COPD and emphysema.
Prior to this position he served as Vice President of Research at the Ridgefield Center. He has also held positions as Director of Inflammatory Diseases and Director of Biochemistry over his 28-year career with Boehringer Ingelheim. Prior to joining BI he spent 6 years in the Corporate Research Laboratories and Medical Products Division of Union Carbide Corporation in Tarrytown, NY where he did research and development of immunodiagnostics. Dr. Farina's research interest has been generally at the interface of chemistry and biology.
He has worked over his research career in inflammatory and immunological mechanisms, particularly cytokines and arachidonic acid mediators. In addition, he was engaged in HIV virology research which led to discovery and successful registration of one of the first non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors Viramune ®(nevirapine). He is the author of over fifty publications and patents.
Dr. Farina has a PhD in organic chemistry from SUNY Buffalo and did postdoctoral work in bioorganic chemistry at Pennsylvania State University with Dr. Stephen Benkovic.