shengfang-jin

Shengfang Jin, Ph.D.

President and CEO, Board of Director

Bio

Shengfang Jin, Ph.D.

President and CEO, Board of Director

Shengfang is a co-founder, President and CEO, and Board of Director of Ensem Therapeutics. Prior to her role as CEO, she served as the President and Chief Scientific Officer, driving ENSEM’s strategic initiatives, technology platforms, and R&D. Previously, she was Vice President of Discovery Biology at Editas Medicine (EDIT), a clinical-stage gene editing company. Her teams pioneered the discovery of advanced CRISPR gene and cell therapies focusing on ophthalmology, neural diseases, and oncology. Earlier in her career, Dr. Jin was Senior Director of Biology at Agios Pharmaceuticals, leading the Small Molecule Cancer Metabolism and Rare Genetic Disease Portfolios that culminated in the approved & first-in-class products (IDHIFA®, TIBSOVO®, PYRUKYND®) and other clinical stage programs. She has also held roles of increasing responsibilities in other Cambridge drug discovery companies. Shengfang is a passionate & enthusiastic motivator, empowering team members to lead and shine.

Shengfang is co-author/co-inventor of over 80 peer-reviewed publications and issued patents. She holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Microbiology from Tufts Medical School (Boston) and obtained postdoctoral training in Oncology and Tumor Immunology at Harvard Medical School (Boston) as an NIH Fellow.

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Jeff Kutok, M.D., Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

Bio

Jeff Kutok, M.D., Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

Jeff is a physician and scientist and serves as the Chief Scientific Officer of ENSEM Therapeutics. He comes to ENSEM with more than 25 years clinical practice, translational scientific research, and biotech leadership experience in oncology, immuno-oncology, and epigenetics. As an experienced biotech executive in the drug development space, Jeff recently served as the Chief Scientific Officer at Epizyme, Inc., where he led the company’s scientific strategy, including directing preclinical research to support the further development of the EZH2 inhibitor, TAZVERIK® (tazemetostat), and advancing the company’s broader epigenetic pipeline. He also served as a member of the leadership team during its acquisition by Ipsen.  Prior to joining Epizyme, he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer at Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where he was responsible for the company’s scientific strategy, preclinical development, and translational science. During his tenure at Infinity, the company advanced several oral PI3K inhibitors into the clinic. He was also part of the leadership team during the AbbVie partnership and was involved in the licensing of the PI3K/ɣ inhibitor, COPIKTRA® (duvelisib) to Verastem Oncology.

Prior to his industry experience, Jeff was an Associate Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and is board certified in Anatomic Pathology and Hematology. His laboratory at BWH focused on translational medicine research and biomarker identification in oncology and he is a leading expert in cancer biology, with authorship on over 200 journal articles, reviews, and book chapters. Jeff received his B.S. in Biology and his M.D., Ph.D. in Medicine and Molecular Pathology from Stony Brook University. 

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tai-wong

Tai Wong, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President and Head of Biology

Bio

Tai Wong, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President and Head of Biology

Tai joins Ensem Therapeutics with over 20 years of experience in small molecule drug discovery and development. Tai began his industry career at the Oncology Discovery Division of Bristol Myers Squibb, where he led several kinase inhibitors programs that advanced to early clinical development. At BMS, Tai also led a team in identifying and validating novel drug targets, and in the building of research capabilities including novel animal models and genomic annotation of cancer cell lines. Following his tenure at BMS, Tai took on the position of Vice President of Biology at Peloton Therapeutics. At Peloton, Tai and his team helped advance to clinical development the HIF-2a antagonist PT2977 (Belzutifan), that was recently approved by the FDA for treatment of renal cell cancer in patients with Von Hippel Lindau disease. His team performed transcription profiling studies that yielded data to inform patient selection and combination studies for further development in additional cancer indications. Before joining ENSEM, Tai was Vice President of Oncology Biology and Immunology at Skyhawk Therapeutics, where he led a team that developed small molecules for modulating RNA processing. 

Tai received his Ph.D. from the Rockefeller University and did post-doctoral training at Stanford University and Vanderbilt University. He is the co-author/co-inventor of over 60 peer-reviewed publications and issued patents. 

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tao-liu

Tao Liu, Ph.D.

Vice President and Head of Chemistry

Bio

Tao Liu, Ph.D.

Vice President and Head of Chemistry

Tao brings over 19 years of experience in leading the discovery and development of innovative drug candidates in Oncology and Rare Genetic Disease area. Prior to joining Ensem Therapeutics, Tao was the Director of Medicinal Chemistry at Agios Pharmaceuticals, where he was project leader for multiple programs, and led the discovery of AG-946 as the next generation of PKR activator, currently in Phase I clinical trial. Before that, Tao held positions of increasing responsibilities in medicinal chemistry group at Infinity Pharmaceuticals, where he was an intellectual leader for the discovery of PI3K-gamma selective drug candidate IPI-549 (Eganelisib), which is in Phase II clinical development in oncology.

Tao earned a B.S. in chemistry from University of Science and Technology of China, and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Brandeis University, and completed a Postdoctoral Fellow in Chemistry at Boston College.

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raj-nagaraja

Raj Nagaraja, Ph.D.

Vice President and Head of DMPK

Bio

Raj Nagaraja, Ph.D.

Vice President and Head of DMPK

Raj comes from Servier Pharmaceuticals where he worked as the Senior Director and Head of DMPK (US). He has over 20 years of experience in the field of DMPK at top pharma companies (Servier, Agios Pharmaceuticals, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Millennium Pharmaceuticals/Takeda, and DuPont/Bristol Myers Squibb). He has experience in both small and large molecules DMPK in exploratory research, lead optimization, IND filing, and in various capacities in clinical trial phases. Raj has successfully incorporated the translational biomarkers in several drug discovery and development programs. His research interests are Discovery and Development DMPK, Clinical Pharmacology, and PKPD modeling and simulations. Raj has co-authored/co-invented more than 30 peer-reviewed publications and patents.

Raj obtained his B.S. and M.S. in Pharmacy, a Ph.D. in Pharmacokinetics and Drug Metabolism from Central Drug Research Institute, India, and did Postdoctoral research at University of Florida.

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ming-hong-hao

Ming-Hong Hao, Ph.D.

Vice President and Head of AI/ML & Computational Chemistry

Bio

Ming-Hong Hao, Ph.D.

Vice President and Head of AI/ML & Computational Chemistry

Ming-Hong is responsible for creating and implementing Ensem Therapeutic’s core technologies on simulating protein/RNA structural dynamics and conformational ensemble and translating these insights into innovative therapeutics. He will guide the team to integrate proprietary experimental protein structural and dynamic data into predictive theoretical models; unleash the combined power of sophisticated peptide sampling methods, advance AI-based protein 3D structure and ligand-binding pocket recognition algorithms and multi-level molecular dynamics simulations.

Ming-Hong is a highly successful and well-recognized computational chemist with 23 years of experience in drug discovery in the pharmaceutical industry. He has made key contributions based on computational approaches to create four clinical drug candidates in Oncology. Before Joining Ensem Therapeutics, he worked at Boehringer Ingelheim, H3 Biomedicine, Eisai and Agios with increasing responsibilities. Ming-Hong received a Ph.D. from Rutgers University and did postdoctoral research at Cornell University, where he built deep and broad expertise in structural biology and MM/QM computational sciences. He has authored/co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed scientific papers. He is also co-inventor of 20 issued patents.

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Eric Simone, Ph.D.

Vice President and Head of CMC

Bio

Eric Simone, Ph.D.

Vice President and Head of CMC

Eric brings extensive industry experience working at the interface of development with research, clinical and commercial development in Oncology, Antivirals and Rare Genetic Diseases. Prior to joining Ensem Therapeutics, Eric was the Senior Director of Formulation Development and Manufacturing at Agios Pharmaceuticals. Eric and his team focused on novel platforms and rapidly enabling formulations for poor solubility and low permeability therapeutics for multiple oncology and hemolytic anemia programs. Before Agios, Eric worked at Vertex Pharmaceuticals focusing on small molecules for HCV, influenza and Cystic Fibrosis, along with building out their continuous manufacturing initiative. In addition to leading several CMC Tech Teams, Eric was a central part of a virtual “FluDev” team, running all CMC and supply chain aspects of a Ph2b clinical study spanning seven countries and over 200 clinical sites.

Eric trained at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania for his B.S. and Ph.D. respectively in biomedical engineering. He was a post-doctoral fellow in Radiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Ying Lin

Vice President, Head of Biochem, Shanghai Site Head

Bio

Ying Lin

Vice President, Head of Biochem, Shanghai Site Head

Ying joined Ensem Therapeutics from ChemPartner where she served as Senior Director of In Vitro Biology and managed a team of 60 scientists. Ying previously spent 10 years at Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research (China) where she served as Senior Investigator of lead discovery platform. She successfully delivered high quality small molecule hits, leads, and drug candidates for therapeutic targets including Cancer, Epigenetics and Liver diseases. Ying completed her Post-Doctoral at Texas A&M University, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, and holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from University of New Mexico.

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x-joanna-wu

X. Joanna Wu

General Counsel

Bio

X. Joanna Wu

General Counsel

Joanna Wu joined the ENSEM team in 2021. She has practiced law for more than 18 years, with an initial focus on patent and FDA regulatory matters and later in other areas including corporate and technology transactions. She began her career with Ropes & Gray in Boston, followed by in-house experience in medical device and biotechnology companies. Joanna also worked in Beijing for a Fortune 100 multinational equipment manufacturer, developing patent policy initiatives.

Joanna received her JD from University of California, Berkeley with Certificate in Law and Technology, while serving as an editor of the California Law Review and the Berkeley Technology Law Journal. Before law school, She was awarded the Alexander Hollaender Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship and conducted molecular biology research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She holds a Ph.D. in physiology from University of Virginia and studied biology at University of Science and Technology of China.

Joanna has also served as volunteer in her community and is an advisor for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

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Board of Directors

Neo-Zhang

Neo Zhang

Board of Director, CBC Managing Director

Bio

Neo Zhang

Board of Director, CBC Managing Director

Mr. Zhang has been with CBC since its founding, in January 2014, and most recently serving as a Managing Director and was responsible for the fund’s investments in pharmaceutical and biotech industry. During 2019-2023, he was an executive Director, Chief Operating Officer of Everest Medicines, a HK publicly listed biopharmaceutical company incubated by CBC. Prior to joining CBC Group, Mr. Zhang worked in various capacities in private equity and investment banking, including as a private equity investment officer at Capital International, Inc., a private equity arm of Capital Group, from March 2011 to February 2013, at Morgan Stanley Asia Limited, a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), from May 2007 to March 2011 where his last position held was associate, and at BOCI Research Limited and BOCI Securities Limited from 2006 to 2007. Mr. Zhang received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics with honors from The University of Hong Kong in December 2006.

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sean-cao

Sean Cao, Ph.D., MBA

Board of Director, ABio-X CEO

Bio

Sean Cao, Ph.D., MBA

Board of Director, ABio-X CEO

Prior to joining ABio-X, Sean was a Managing Director of CBC Group, co-founded and served as the CEO of Everest Medicines and was the VP of Global Business Development at Simcere Pharmaceutical Group. Sean was also the President and Board Director at Simcere America, a wholly owned subsidiary. Previously, Sean was the Senior Director of Alternative Partnerships, Evaluation & Expertise at Sanofi. Before Sanofi, Sean was an Associate at New Leaf Venture Partners, a healthcare VC firm. Earlier in his career, Sean worked in the pharmaceutical and diagnostic industries at Aventis and Johnson & Johnson. Sean currently serves as the Chairman of NiKang Therapeutics. He holds a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Virginia, an MBA with honor from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from Nankai University, China. 

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joshua-wu

Joshua Wu

Board of Director, GGV Partner

Bio

Joshua Wu

Board of Director, GGV Partner

Joshua Wu has served on ENSEM’s Board since April 2022. He is a Partner at GGV Capital, focusing on investments in a variety of sectors.

Joshua began his career at Alibaba, where he was a product manager in Yahoo! Chinese search analysis and the data solutions team. After Alibaba, he joined Tencent, where he served as an Associate Director of the portal and media sales group, overseeing the data analysis and strategy efforts of the media sales business. Joshua began his career with Jefferies & Company, one of the world’s largest full-service investment banks, where he was an equity analyst for Asia TMT and participated in Renren’s IPO on NASDAQ, one of China’s largest tech IPOs at the time. Joshua is a graduate of Peking University Guanghua School of Management.

https://www.ggvc.com/team/joshua-wu/

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shengfang-jin

Shengfang Jin, Ph.D.

President and CEO, Board of Director

Bio

Shengfang Jin, Ph.D.

President and CEO, Board of Director

Shengfang is a co-founder, President and CEO, and Board of Director of Ensem Therapeutics. Prior to her role as CEO, she served as the President and Chief Scientific Officer, driving ENSEM’s strategic initiatives, technology platforms, and R&D. Previously, she was Vice President of Discovery Biology at Editas Medicine (EDIT), a clinical-stage gene editing company. Her teams pioneered the discovery of advanced CRISPR gene and cell therapies focusing on ophthalmology, neural diseases, and oncology. Earlier in her career, Dr. Jin was Senior Director of Biology at Agios Pharmaceuticals, leading the Small Molecule Cancer Metabolism and Rare Genetic Disease Portfolios that culminated in the approved & first-in-class products (IDHIFA®, TIBSOVO®, PYRUKYND®) and other clinical stage programs. She has also held roles of increasing responsibilities in other Cambridge drug discovery companies. Shengfang is a passionate & enthusiastic motivator, empowering team members to lead and shine.

Shengfang is co-author/co-inventor of over 80 peer-reviewed publications and issued patents. She holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Microbiology from Tufts Medical School (Boston) and obtained postdoctoral training in Oncology and Tumor Immunology at Harvard Medical School (Boston) as an NIH Fellow.

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Scientific Advisors

ivet-bahar

Ivet Bahar, Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor

Bio

Ivet Bahar, Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor

Dr. Ivet Bahar, Center Director and Louis & Beatrice Laufer Endowed Chair at Laufer Center for Physical and Quantitative Biology, Stony Brook University, is known for her pioneering work on the development of elastic network models and multiscale computational methods for predicting the mechanisms of function of biomolecular system. Her research focuses on biomolecular systems dynamics; evolution of proteins’ sequence, structure, dynamics, and function; network models for protein-protein interactions; modeling supramolecular machinery and allostery; and computer-aided drug discovery. Her models and methods proved useful in many applications, from drug discovery to predicting the effects of mutations, and in bridging molecular events and cellular responses.

Dr. Bahar has received numerous prestigious awards world-wide, is a member of the USA National Academy of Sciences, and the European Molecular Biology Organization. She is also a scientific reviewer/advisor, executive board members or elected council members in national and international scientific organizations including NIH review panels, the European Research Council (ERC) Scientific Advisory Board, and the Human Frontiers in Science (HFSP) Scientific Review Committee.

Dr. Bahar is an author of more than 300 scientific publications. She earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry, Istanbul Technical Institute, and B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering, Bogazici University.

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carlos-garcia-echeverria

Carlos Garcia-Echeverria, Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor

Bio

Carlos Garcia-Echeverria, Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor

Dr. Garcia-Echeverria has provided scientific leadership to drug discovery and early clinical development teams across different modalities and diseases. He most recently served as the Chief of Rx creation at EQRx, leading the research and early-stage development functions. Previously, he was the chief operating officer of research at Sanofi where he oversaw the establishment and execution of the mid- and long-term vision and strategy of global research for effective portfolio management. Prior to Sanofi, Dr. Garcia-Echeverria was a member of the leadership team and global oncology decision board at the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research. He has also broad experience in managing research partnerships. His research accomplishments are documented by 190 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and review papers, as well as 45 granted patents. Dr. Garcia-Echeverria holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Barcelona and received the Leonidas Zerwas Award from the European Peptide Society in recognition of his outstanding contributions to peptide science.

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brian-kuhlman

Brian Kuhlman, Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor

Bio

Brian Kuhlman, Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor

Dr. Kuhlman is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He received a B.A. from Rice University in chemical physics and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, working in the laboratory of Daniel Raleigh.  As a postdoctoral fellow in David Baker’s laboratory at the University of Washington he created the protein design module in the modeling program Rosetta.  Dr. Kuhlman’s laboratory continues to develop and apply new algorithms in Rosetta and has focused on a variety of important problems in protein design including the generation of bispecific antibodies, improved subunit vaccines for dengue virus, and light-activable proteins for controlling signaling networks in living cells and animals. He is a recipient of the AAAS Newcomb Cleveland prize, the Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology, and the ASBMB award for computational biosciences.  

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cheng-luo

Cheng Luo, Ph.D.

Co-Founder and Scientific Advisor

Bio

Cheng Luo, Ph.D.

Co-Founder and Scientific Advisor

Dr. Luo is a co-founder of Ensem Therapeutics. His research focuses on computer-aided drug design, computational chemistry, biophysics, and chemical biology of therapeutic targets for many diseases. Harnessing highly cross-disciplinary technologies and methods, he has developed the Lead Compound Discovery Platform and discovered innovative tool compounds for hundreds of targets. His discovery research has pioneered our understanding of how post-translational modifications affect protein dynamics and function, as well as structural mechanism and functional impact of small molecules on a broad scope of disease targets. Dr. Luo is an author of over 200 peer-reviewed publications, an inventor for more than 50 patents and patent applications, and the recipient of Wuxi AppTec Life Science and Chemistry Awards. He also served on the editorial board of Scientific Reports and ACS Bio & Med Chem Au, and was the guest editor of special issue on epigenetics of Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. For the last few years, Prof. Luo’s lab has been engaged in research collaboration with AstraZeneca and other biotech.

Dr. Luo is a Professor of the Drug Discovery and Design Center, and the Chemical Biology Center of Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He earned his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, and completed his post-doctoral training in chemical biology with Dr. Ronen Marmorstein at the Wistar Institute and University of Pennsylvania.

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zhihua-sui

Zhihua Sui, Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor

Bio

Zhihua Sui, Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor

Dr. Sui has 30 years of experience in drug discovery and development. He is currently Chief Scientific Officer and Head of Preclinical Research and Development at  Proteovant Therapeutics, a biotech company dedicated to harnessing physiological protein homeostasis to degrade the most difficult to ligand/drug proteins. Before joining Proteovant, Zhihua was VP Head of Chemistry (2013-2021) at Agios Pharmaceuticals and Sr. Sci. Dir./Sr. Dir. of drug discovery in various therapeutics areas at Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (1993-2013). He did postdoctoral research in structural based drug designs (SBDD) & Biochemistry at UCSF and received Ph.D. in Organic Synthesis at Heidelberg University in Germany. Zhihua obtained an M.S./B.S. in Medicinal Chemistry and did medical school in China. Over the years, his teams have advanced >20 compounds into the clinical development across various therapeutic areas including oncology, metabolic diseases, immunology, women’s health, men’s health and rare genetic diseases. Zhihua has more than 300 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals and patent literature as well as invited lectures. 

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mengdi-wang

Mengdi Wang, Ph.D.

AI Advisor

Bio

Mengdi Wang, Ph.D.

AI Advisor

Mengdi Wang is an associate professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Center for Statistics and Machine Learning at Princeton University. She is also affiliated with the Department of Computer Science and a visiting research scientist at DeepMind. Her research focuses on data-driven stochastic optimization and applications in machine and reinforcement learning. She received her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013. At MIT, Mengdi was affiliated with the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems and was advised by Dimitri P. Bertsekas. Mengdi received the Young Researcher Prize in Continuous Optimization of the Mathematical Optimization Society in 2016 (awarded once every three years), the Princeton SEAS Innovation Award in 2016, the NSF Career Award in 2017, the Google Faculty Award in 2017, and the MIT Tech Review 35-Under-35 Innovation Award (China region) in 2018. She spent her sabbatical year as a senior visiting research scientist at Google Deepmind in 2019-2020. She serves as an associate editor for Operations Research and Mathematics of Operations Research, as area chair for ICML, NeurIPS, AISTATS, and is on the editorial board of Journal of Machine Learning Research.

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qi-zhang

Qi Zhang, Ph.D.

Co-Founder and Scientific Advisor

Bio

Qi Zhang, Ph.D.

Co-Founder and Scientific Advisor

Dr. Zhang is a co-founder of Ensem Therapeutics. His research interests focus on developing and applying biophysical and biochemical techniques, including NMR spectroscopy, cryo-electron microscopy, X-ray crystallography, computational modeling, and next-gen sequencing, to visualize the dynamic ensemble nature of RNA and RNA-Binding Proteins with the goal of applying this knowledge to develop RNA and Ribonucleoprotein (RNP)-targeted therapeutics for human diseases. His innovative works have made seminal contributions towards understanding the structure-dynamics-function relationship of RNA, including the first direct 3D atomic visualization of RNA motions and the first functional establishment of excited conformational state in complex RNAs. These technological advancements have empowered his research team and many other labs in the field to delineate molecular mechanisms of diverse RNA-dependent processes and their dysregulations in cancer and other diseases.

Dr. Zhang is Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Co-Director of the RNA Discovery Center, and Co-Director of the Biomolecular NMR Core at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from the University of Michigan under the guidance of Dr. Hashim Al-Hashimi and completed his postdoctoral training with Dr. Juli Feigon at UCLA as a Baltimore Family Fellow of the Life Sciences Research Foundation.

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