Peter Svennilson founded The Column Group in 2007 and has worked in venture capital and finance for over 35 years. He was the Chairman of Aragon Pharmaceuticals from startup until it was sold to Johnson & Johnson in 2013 and was the Chairman of Seragon Pharmaceuticals until it was sold to Genentech/Roche in 2014.
Mr. Svennilson has been a Board Director of biotech companies such as: NGM (“NGM”), Constellation (“CNST”), Revolution Medicine (“RVMD”), RAPT (“RAPT”), ORIC (“ORIC”), Immune Design (“IMDZ”), Rosetta (“RSTA”), PTC (“PTCT”), Chemocentryx (“CCXI”), Tercica (“TRCA”) and Somalogic (“SLGC”). He was also a Board Observer of Arcus (“RCUS”).
Prior to TCG, he was the Founder and Managing Partner of Three Crowns Capital where he helped found and/or finance large parts of the venture capital for biotech companies such as: Tularik (“TLRK”), Rosetta (“RSTA”), PTC (“PTCT”), Chemocentryx (“CCXI”), Rinat, Tercica (“TRCA”), Somalogic (“SLGC”), Infinity (“INFI”) and Fiveprime (“FPRX”).
Prior to Three Crowns Capital, he was the Associate Managing Director in charge of European Investment Banking Origination for Nomura in Europe.
Mr. Svennilson is a Trustee at The Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He received an MBA from the Stockholm School of Economics with further studies at the MBA programs at INSEAD in Fontainebleau and London Business School.
Board of Directors: Carmot Therapeutics, Escient Pharmaceuticals
Dr. Goeddel was the first scientist hired by Genentech and from 1978 to 1993 served in various positions, including Staff Scientist, Director of Molecular Biology and Genentech Fellow. His pioneering work in the fields of gene cloning and expression of human proteins was the basis for five marketed therapeutics developed by Genentech, including human insulin, human growth hormone, interferon-alpha, interferon-gamma, and tissue plasminogen activator.
Dr. Goeddel co-founded Tularik in November 1991, was Vice President of Research until 1996 and CEO from 1996 – 2004, when Tularik was acquired by Amgen. Dr. Goeddel has received numerous scientific awards including the Scheele Medal, the Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry, the Inventor of the Year Award, the Jacob Heskel Gabbay Award, the Howley Prize for Arthritis Research and the Warren Alpert Foundation Prize. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He holds a B.A. in Chemistry from UCSD and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from U. of Colorado.
Board of Directors: A2 Biotherapeutics (Chairman), Hexagon Bio (Chairman), Tenaya Therapeutics (Chairman), NGM Biopharmaceuticals
Scientific Advisory Board: Velia (Chairman)
Tim Kutzkey, Ph.D., is a Managing Partner of The Column Group. Since joining the firm in 2007 he has contributed to the conception, formation, and management of more than a dozen portfolio companies. Formerly, he was the founding CEO of Peloton Therapeutics and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nurix Therapeutics. Prior to joining The Column Group, Dr. Kutzkey was a scientist at KAI Pharmaceuticals where he focused on the discovery and development of selective protein kinase C inhibitors. Before KAI, he worked at UC Berkeley as a graduate student and postdoc in the lab of Dr. Robert Tjian, completing his Ph.D. in 2005. Dr. Kutzkey was previously educated at Stanford University.
Board of Directors: Carmot Therapeutics (Chairman), Surrozen (Chairman), Neurona Therapeutics (Chairman), Nura Bio (Chairman), Synthekine, Cajal Neuroscience, InduPro
Dr. Lasky joined The Column Group in 2014. He has worked in the biotechnology industry for over 30 years. In 1981, he was a founding scientist of Genetics Institute, acquired by Wyeth, one of the earliest biotechnology companies.
He was subsequently a leading scientist at Genentech and eventually a Genentech Fellow. He worked in various disciplines including vaccinology, immunology, stem cell biology, cellular signaling mechanisms, and monoclonal antibody therapy of tumors. He is a co-author on over 135 publications and a co-inventor on 37 issued and pending patents.
Board of Directors: Accent Therapeutics
Scientific Advisory Board: Ribon Therapeutics, Eikon Therapeutics
Dr. Chen joined The Column Group in 2019. Previously, he was a Venture Partner at OrbiMed focusing on company creation and investing in early stage biotech companies. In this capacity he took on interim management roles at E-Scape Bio, TranscripTx and Adicet. He also served on the board of Pionyr Immunotherapeutics and Logic Bio. Prior to that Dr. Chen was a Partner at Skyline Ventures and an entrepreneur in residence at Venrock.
Dr. Chen started his career in 2002 as a founder of KAI Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Amgen in 2012 and led to the approval of Parsabiv in US, Europe, and Japan. He earned his BA in Biochemistry from UC Berkeley, PhD in Molecular Pharmacology from Stanford School of Medicine, and MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Board of Directors: Eikon Therapeutics, Remix Therapeutics, Velia
Dr. Ray joined The Column Group in 2017. Previously, Dr. Ray was an Associate of Business Development at Foghorn Therapeutics, which she helped launch with Flagship Pioneering. Dr. Ray helped develop and execute the scientific, business and operating plans for Foghorn Therapeutics. Dr. Ray helped establish the first onsite next-generation sequencers for Ebola viral surveillance with Dr. Pardis Sabeti’s lab at Harvard University and the Broad Institute. Previously, Dr. Ray completed her PhD at Harvard University with Dr. Robert Kingston, studying the effects of long non-coding RNAs on epigenetic regulation. Dr. Ray holds undergraduate degrees in Biology and Mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she also performed embryonic stem cell research in the lab of Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch.
Board of Directors: Hexagon Bio, Casma Therapeutics, Velia
Dr. Hymowitz joined The Column Group in 2021. Previously, she spent 22 years at Genentech rising to Vice President of Protein Sciences. In this role, she oversaw the large molecule drug discovery portfolio and mentored project teams on the identification and optimization of more than 35 clinical candidates. Earlier, as a member of the Genentech Small Molecule Leadership Team, she supported teams in advancing more than 25 molecules to IND-enabling studies and led a collaboration with AbbVie and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute that resulted in the discovery of Venclexta. Dr. Hymowitz earned a B.A. in Chemistry from Swarthmore College, followed by a Ph.D. in Biophysics from the University of California, San Francisco prior to joining Genentech in 1999 as a postdoctoral fellow.
Board of Directors: InduPro
Mr. Evangelista joined The Column Group in 2012 and has almost two decades of venture capital industry experience. Previously, he was with Three Arch Partners, and prior to that, Lightspeed Venture Partners. He began his career working for several large money management firms including Fisher Investments and Barclays Global Investors.
Mr. Evangelista is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive) in the state of California and is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the California Society of CPAs.
Board of Directors: Circle Pharma
Dr. Josey joined The Column Group as a Venture Partner in 2020. Previously he served as the President, Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Peloton Therapeutics, Inc., from 2013 until its acquisition by Merck in 2019. He joined Peloton in 2011 as the first employee in the role of President and Chief Scientific Officer. For over thirteen years, Dr. Josey was employed at Array BioPharma Inc., a company that he helped to build as a member of the founding management team. There he rose to Vice President of Discovery Chemistry. Dr. Josey’s previous experience also includes Amgen, Inc. and the Glaxo Research Institute. He received a B.S. degree in chemistry from Colorado State University, a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from The University of Texas at Austin, and an M.B.A. from the University of Colorado. He was a Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Postdoctoral Fellow at the California Institute of Technology. Dr. Josey is currently an adjunct faculty member of the Department of Biochemistry at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Board of Directors: Atavistik Bio (Chairman), Circle Pharma (Chairman) Nura Bio
Jeff Goater joined The Column Group as a Venture Partner in 2021. Previously, he served as Chief Executive Officer of Surface Oncology. During his tenure at Surface, the company fostered an award-winning culture, advanced four programs into clinical development, completed its initial public offering and secured multiple strategic collaborations, including a transformative partnership with GlaxoSmithKline. Prior to Surface, he served as Chief Financial Officer of Voyager Therapeutics where he was one of the members of the founding management team. While at Voyager, he led its crossover financing, initial public offering and strategic partnership with Sanofi Genzyme. Previously, Mr. Goater spent nearly a decade in investment banking, most recently as a managing director at Evercore Partners, advising on more than $100 billion in strategic transactions in the biopharma industry. He began his career as a research scientist in the field of AAV gene therapy and holds master’s degrees in microbiology/immunology (M.S.), pathology (M.S.) and business administration (M.B.A.) from the University of Rochester. Mr. Goater serves on the boards of Surface Oncology, Vaccinex and LogicBio Therapeutics. He also serves on the board of advisors of Life Science Cares in Boston.
Board of Directors: Ribon Therapeutics, Kallyope, Atavistik Bio
Dr. Hui Tian joined The Column Group in 2022 as a Venture Partner. Previously he was a founding member of NGM Biopharmaceuticals and most recently served as Senior Vice President of Research. In this role, he was responsible for discovery research across multiple therapeutic areas including metabolic diseases, retinal diseases and cancer. In a span of 14 years, he led the discovery and advancement of more than a dozen clinical candidates. Prior to NGM, he was a Scientific Director at Amgen and Tularik leading discovery research in the areas of metabolic disorders and orphan G protein-coupled receptors. Dr. Tian received a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and did his post-doctoral training at Harvard University.
Dr. Wong joined The Column Group in 2022 as a Venture Partner. He is CEO of RAPT Therapeutics. Prior to RAPT, he served as Senior Vice President, Research, and Head of Immuno-Oncology at Five Prime Therapeutics. Prior to FivePrime, Dr. Wong served as Director in the Inflammation Disease Biology Area at Roche. There, he led the discovery and supported the development of Roche’s autoimmune disease portfolio, consisting of more than 20 biologics and small-molecule programs from discovery to late-stage clinical development and through approval. Prior to Roche, he held various leadership roles at Rigel Pharmaceuticals, where he identified and developed clinical candidates for allergic, autoimmune and respiratory disorders, including Tavalisse™.
Dr. Wong received his M.D. from the Weill Cornell Medical College and his Ph.D. in Immunology from Rockefeller University.
Board of Directors: Plexium
Dr. Tjian joined The Column Group as a Discovery Partner in September 2016. Prior to that he served as President of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute 2009-2016.
Dr. Tjian discovered the first human proteins called transcription factors that bind to specific sections of DNA and play a critical role in regulating how genetic information is expressed into the thousands of biomolecules that keep cells, tissues, and organisms alive. Tjian’s laboratory has focused on disruptions in the process of transcription that cause diseases such as cancer, metabolic syndromes, and neuro-degenerative diseases. Most recently, he has developed cutting edge molecular imaging systems to track the dynamic movement of individual proteins in live cells in real time to study how transcription factors control the self renewal, pluripotency and differentiation of embryonic stem cells.
Dr. Tjian joined the University of California, Berkeley faculty in 1979, where he assumed several leadership roles such as: Director of the Berkeley Stem Cell Center, Faculty Director of the Li Ka Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences and Head of the Siebel Stem Initiative. He currently holds the Li Ka Shing Chancellor’s Chair in Biology and serves as scientific advisor to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the BioHub.
He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has received numerous awards including the Alfred P. Sloan Prize and the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize. He was a co-founder of Tularik with Dave Goeddel and Steve McKnight and a founding Science Partner of TCG.
Board of Directors: Neurona Therapeutics
Scientific Advisory Board: Eikon Therapeutics
Dr. Perlmutter is President, Chief Executive Officer, and Board Chair of Eikon Therapeutics, a private biotechnology company that employs advanced imaging technologies to identify novel therapeutic candidates by virtue of their effects on protein dynamics in living cells. He was previously Executive Vice President, Merck & Co., and President of Merck Research Laboratories where he supervised the discovery and development of numerous lifesaving medicines including KEYTRUDA™. Before this, Dr. Perlmutter spent 12 years as Executive Vice President and head of R&D at Amgen and prior to assuming leadership roles in industry, Dr. Perlmutter was a professor at the University of Washington, Seattle, and served as Chairman of its Department of Immunology while also an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Dr. Perlmutter is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and both a Distinguished Fellow and past president of the American Association of Immunologists.
Board of Directors: Eikon Therapeutics (Chairman), NGM Biopharmaceuticals
Involvement: TCG I, TCG II, & TCG III
Charles Sawyers, MD, is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the inaugural Director of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program (HOPP) at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. His laboratory is currently focused on characterizing signal transduction pathway abnormalities in prostate cancer, with an eye toward translational implications. His earlier research focused on BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase function in chronic myeloid leukemia. This work, and that of colleagues Brian Druker and Novartis, led to the development of the kinase inhibitor imatinib (Gleevec) as primary therapy for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), and the discovery that imatinib resistance is caused by BCR-ABL kinase domain mutations. This discovery led him to evaluate second generation Abl kinase inhibitors, such as the dual Src/Abl inhibitor dasatinib, which received fast-track approval at the FDA in June 2006. Dr. Sawyer’s more recent work in prostate cancer has defined critical signaling pathways for disease initiation and progression through studies in mouse models and human tissues. This preclinical work led to the development of a novel anti-androgen ARN-509, a small-molecule inhibitor discovered in collaboration with UCLA chemist Michael Jung, which targets the increased levels of androgen receptor found in hormone-refractory disease.
Dr. Sawyers is past President of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and served on the National Cancer Institute’s Board of Scientific Councilors. He has won numerous honors and awards, including the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award, the Dorothy Landon Prize from the American Association of Cancer Research, the David A. Karnofsky Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the 2009 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and in 2010 was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Sawyers was a co-founder of Aragon Pharmaceuticals and the founder of Seragon Pharmaceuticals. He is also the founder of ORIC Pharmaceuticals.
Scientific Advisory Board: ORIC Pharmaceuticals
Involvement: TCG II & TCG III
Richard H. Scheller joined 23andMe in April of 2015 as chief scientific officer and head of therapeutic development. He is responsible for translating genetic information into the discovery and development of new therapies for both common and rare diseases.
Prior to joining 23andMe, Dr. Scheller worked at Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. Scheller was responsible for overseeing the strategy for research, drug discovery, business development, and early development activities. He joined Genentech in 2001 as senior vice president of research and was promoted to executive vice president of research in 2003. In 2008, he was named chief scientific officer. Following the company’s merger with the Roche Group in 2009, Dr. Scheller was promoted to executive vice president and head of Genentech research and early development, and joined the Roche enlarged corporate executive committee.
Dr. Scheller served as chairman of the Genentech Foundation’s board of directors.
Dr. Scheller received his bachelor of science in biochemistry in 1975 from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and his doctorate in chemistry in 1980 from the California Institute of Technology. After postdoctoral research fellowships at Caltech and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Scheller was hired as an assistant professor at Stanford University in 1982. In 1993, he was named a professor of molecular and cellular physiology and biological sciences, and in 1994 as an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Stanford University Medical Center. He has been an adjunct professor at UC San Francisco since 2004.
Dr. Scheller’s research elucidating the molecular mechanisms governing neurotransmitter release earned him the 2013 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, the 2010 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience, and the 1997 US National Academy of Sciences Award in Molecular Biology, among other honors. In 2014, he received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Caltech.
He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and has served on numerous advisory boards, including the National Advisory Mental Health Council of the National Institutes of Health. In 2014, he was named a trustee of Caltech.
Scientific Advisory Board: Kallyope, ORIC Pharmaceuticals, Velia
Involvement: TCG II, TCG III, & TCG IV
Dr. Dixit is Vice President and Staff Scientist of Physiological Chemistry at Genentech. He has made many contributions to biomedicine and his early work on apoptosis is prominent in introductory textbooks of biology and medicine [for a historical perspective see Nature (2008, 453:271-273) and Nature Cell Biology (2010, 12:415)]. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Foreign Member, European Molecular Biology Organization. Additionally, he serves on the Boards of the Gates Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Keystone Symposia.
Involvement: TCG III & TCG IV
Dr. Huda Y. Zoghbi is a professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Molecular and Human Genetics, Neurology and Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine. She is also an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) at Texas Children’s Hospital. At HHMI, Dr. Zoghbi and her collaborators have unraveled the genetic underpinnings of a number of devastating neurological disorders, including Rett syndrome and spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1). Their discoveries have provided new ways of thinking about more common neurological disorders, including autism, intellectual disability, and Parkinson’s disease, and could lead to better treatments. Dr. Zoghbi and her colleagues have also identified the mutation responsible for SCA1, one of several polyglutamine neurodegenerative disorders that slowly rob their victims of balance and motor control. Her lab team is searching for compounds that enhance the clearance of mutant proteins in several of these diseases, which might slow disease progression or prevent it altogether.
Scientific Advisory Board: Cajal Neuroscience
Involvement: TCG III & TCG IV
Dr. Charles Zuker is Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and of Neuroscience, Columbia University Medical Center. Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Dr. Zuker is known for his work in sensory neuroscience, including mechanisms of phototransduction, mechanotransduction, and more recently taste. Dr. Zuker and collaborators identified the cells, receptors, and coding logic for the five basic taste qualities (sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami). Dr. Zuker’s research has been recognized by several awards, including the Cogan Award and the Alcon Award for his research on vision, the Spencer Award from Columbia University, and the International Flavors and Fragrances Award for his work in taste. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was a scientific co-founder of Aurora Biosciences and Senomyx.
Dr. Zuker is a co-founder of Kallyope.
Board of Directors: Escient Pharmaceuticals
Scientific Advisory Board: Cajal Neuroscience, Escient Pharmaceuticals
Involvement: TCG III & TCG IV
More recently, the focus of her work has been on fatty liver disease. Here she has discovered genetic variants conferring susceptibility to fatty liver disease (PNPLA3, TM6SF2) and resistance (HSD17B13) to progression of the disorder; she is currently determining the physiological and pathological roles of these proteins.
She was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (2004) and to the National Academy of Sciences (2007). Among her awards, she has received the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences (2015), the Grand Prix Award from the Institute of France (2018), and the Harrington Prize for Innovation and Medicine (2018). Dr. Hobbs is on the Board of Directors at Pfizer, Inc.
Board of Directors: Atavistik Bio
Involvement: TCG IV
Dr. Olson is the founding Chair of the Department of Molecular Biology at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He also founded the Center for Regenerative Science and Medicine at UT Southwestern, which is advancing new strategies for organ regeneration. In addition, Dr. Olson directs the Wellstone Clinical Research Center for Muscular Dystrophy Research at UT Southwestern. He holds the Robert A. Welch Distinguished Chair, the Pogue Chair Distinguished Chair in Cardiac Birth Defects and the Annie and Willie Nelson Professorship in Stem Cell Research.
Dr. Olson and his trainees discovered many of the key genes and mechanisms responsible for development of the heart and other muscles. His laboratory also unveiled the signaling pathways responsible for pathological cardiac growth and heart failure. Olson’s discoveries at the interface of developmental biology and medicine have illuminated the fundamental principles of organ formation and have provided new concepts in the quest for cardiovascular therapeutics. His most recent work has provided a new strategy for correction of Duchenne muscular dystrophy using CRISPR gene editing.
Dr. Olson is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His work has been recognized by numerous awards, including the Basic Research Prize, the Research Achievement Award and the Eugene Markwald Mentorship Award from the American Heart Association. Dr. Olson’s other awards include the Pasarow Medical Research Award, the Pollin Prize, the Passano Award, the Conklin Medal, and the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology. In 2009, the French Academy of Science awarded Dr. Olson the Lefoulon-Delalande Grand Prize for Science. He is among the most highly cited scientists in the world, with his work having been cited over 100,000 times in the scientific literature.
Dr. Olson has co-founded multiple biotechnology companies to design new therapies for heart muscle disease. Most recently, he founded Exonics Therapeutics together with Cure Duchenne Ventures, which is advancing gene editing as a therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Exonics was recently acquired by Vertex Pharmaceuticals.
Scientific Advisory Board: Tenaya Therapeutics, Velia
Involvement: TCG IV
Jennifer Doudna, PhD is a biochemist at the University of California, Berkeley. Her groundbreaking development of CRISPR-Cas9 — a genome engineering technology that allows researchers to edit DNA — with collaborator Emmanuelle Charpentier earned the two the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and forever changed the course of human and agricultural genomics research. She is also the founder and President of the Innovative Genomics Institute, the Li Ka Shing chancellor’s chair in Biomedical and Health Sciences, and a member of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Gladstone Institutes, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is a leader in the global public debate on the responsible use of CRISPR and has co-founded and serves on the advisory panel of several companies that use the technology in unique ways. Doudna is the co-author of “A Crack in Creation,” a personal account of her research and the societal and ethical implications of gene editing.
Scientific Advisory Board: eFFECTOR Therapeutics
Michael Fischbach is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Bioengineering and Microbiology & Immunology at Stanford University, an Institute Scholar of Stanford ChEM-H, and the director of the Stanford Microbiome Therapies Initiative. Fischbach is a recipient of the NIH Director’s Pioneer and New Innovator Awards, an HHMI-Simons Faculty Scholars Award, a Fellowship for Science and Engineering from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, a Medical Research Award from the W.M. Keck Foundation, and a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease award. His laboratory uses a combination of genomics and chemistry to identify and characterize small molecules from microbes, with an emphasis on the human microbiome. Fischbach received his PhD as a John and Fannie Hertz Foundation Fellow in chemistry from Harvard in 2007, where he studied the role of iron acquisition in bacterial pathogenesis and the biosynthesis of antibiotics. After two years as an independent fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital, Fischbach joined the faculty at UCSF, where he founded his lab before moving to Stanford in 2017. Fischbach is a co-founder and director of Federation Bio and Viralogic, a co-founder of Revolution
Medicines, and a member of the scientific advisory boards of NGM Biopharmaceuticals and Zymergen.
Scientific Advisory Board: NGM Biopharmaceuticals, Revolution Medicines
K. Christopher Garcia, PhD is a Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, and of Structural Biology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He received his BS in Biochemistry from Tulane University, and his PhD in Biophysics from Johns Hopkins University. After two years of post-doctoral work at Genentech, Inc. under Dr. David Goeddel in the Dept. of Molecular Biology, where he learned the emerging technologies of protein engineering and recombinant protein expression, Dr. Garcia moved to a second post-doctoral fellowship at The Scripps Research Institute in the laboratory of Prof. Ian Wilson, where he succeeded in determining the first crystal structures of the T cell receptor and then its complex with peptide-MHC. In 1999, Dr. Garcia started his lab at Stanford University School of Medicine in 1999 where he
also became an Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Garcia was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2012, and the National Academy of Medicine in 2016.
Dr. Garcia’s interests reside at the cell surface, and his laboratory is investigating structural and functional aspects of cell surface receptor recognition and activation, in receptor-ligand systems with relevance to human health and disease. Structural information on receptor-ligand complexes is used to engineer variant proteins and/or surrogates to manipulate receptor signaling and cellular function, with an eye towards therapeutic applications. The receptor systems studied derive principally from the immune system (TCR/MHC, cytokines, chemokine GPCR), but additionally encompass several systems that are also important in neurobiology (Neurotrophins, Semaphorins) and development (Notch, Wnt). A focus is on “shared” pleiotropic receptors, to understand the biophysical basis by which different ligands are able to elicit unique intracellular responses and functional outcomes, and to exploit this information to engineer receptor-specific ligands Dr. Garcia has founded or co-founded several biotech companies that are attempting to clinically develop technologies from his lab, including ALXO (SIRP/CD7 antagonist), Synthekine (cytokine engineering), Surrozen (Wnt agonists), 3T (TCR antigen discovery), and Mozart (immune modulation by regulatory T cells).
Scientific Advisory Board: Synthekine (Chairman), Surrozen
Micha Rapé is a pioneer in uncovering molecular mechanisms of cell fate determination, using posttranslational modification with ubiquitin as his starting point. Micha’s work revealed essential ubiquitin signals, substrates and enzymes, as well as mechanisms of ubiquitylation that are essential for human development and disease. Most recently, Micha’s lab discovered the reductive stress response as a core regulator of mitochondrial activity and dimerization quality control, the first example of quality control of protein complex composition. His work led to the first prospective development of a molecular glues targeting E3 ligases, which greatly helped open up the ubiquitin system for drug discovery. To advance new ubiquitin-focused approaches in drug discovery, Micha co-founded Nurix Therapeutics with support from The Column Group.
Micha received his PhD at the Max-Planck Institute of Biochemistry, and he performed postdoctoral work in Marc Kirschner’s lab at Harvard Medical School. In late 2006, Micha joined the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California at Berkeley, where he is currently the Dr. K. Peter Hirth Chair of Cancer Biology and a Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology. Micha is also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
His work has been recognized with a Pew Scholar’s Award, the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise honoring the best immigrant into biomedical sciences, and the National Blavatnik Award in Life Sciences.
Scientific Advisory Board: Nurix
Dan Nomura is a Professor of Chemical Biology and Molecular Therapeutics in the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology in the Division of Molecular Therapeutics at the University of California, Berkeley and an Investigator at the Innovative Genomics Institute. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at UCSF. Since 2017, he has been the Director of the Novartis-Berkeley Translational Chemical Biology Institute focused on using chemoproteomic platforms to tackle the undruggable proteome. He is Co-Founder of Frontier Medicines, a start-up company focused on using chemoproteomics and machine learning approaches to tackle the undruggable proteome. He is also the Founder of Vicinitas Therapeutics based on his group’s discovery of the Deubiquitinase Targeting Chimera (DUBTAC) platform for targeted protein stabilization. He is on the Scientific Advisory Boards for Frontier Medicines, Vicinitas Therapeutics, Photys Therapeutics, Apertor Pharma, Ecto Therapeutics, and Oerth Bio. Nomura is also on the scientific advisory boards of The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research and the MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is also an Investment Advisory Partner at a16z Bio+Health, an Investment Advisory Board member at Droia Ventures, and an iPartner with The Column Group. He earned his B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology in 2003 and Ph.D. in Molecular Toxicology in 2008 at UC Berkeley with Professor John Casida and was a postdoctoral fellow at Scripps Research with Professor Benjamin F. Cravatt before returning to Berkeley as a faculty member in 2011. Among his honors include the National Cancer Institute Outstanding Investigator Award, Searle Scholar, and the Mark Foundation for Cancer Research ASPIRE award.
Ms. Murakami joined The Column Group in 2008. She has worked in the financial industry for over thirty years with the last twenty years focused in venture capital. Most recently, she managed the state-side office of a Chinese venture capital firm in San Francisco and prior to that was Controller at a consulting firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Ms. Murakami earned a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Hawaii.
Ms. Daniel joined The Column Group in 2015 and assists the firm’s portfolio companies in recruiting their scientific teams. After completing her Master’s Degree in Biology at UC Santa Cruz, Ms. Daniel joined the Immunology group at Tularik. She later became a Human Resources Manager and helped to build Tularik’s scientific team. After Tularik she worked for larger biotechnology companies like Genentech and a life science focused Executive Search Firm.
Ms. Tin joined The Column Group in 2015. Ms. Tin manages the creation and implementation of internal and external multi-media communications and coordinates technology and related services vital to day-to-day operations. She also assists in the facilitation and execution of administrative responsibilities throughout the firm and provides day-to-day staff support in company operations. Previously, Ms. Tin was a Records Analyst with PG&E, and prior to that, Office Manager for a real estate firm. Ms. Tin graduated from San Francisco State University with a BS in International Business, Graduate Certificate in Accounting, and MBA with a focus in Finance and Accounting.
Ms. Hunter joined The Column Group in 2021. Ms. Hunter works with newly formed TCG portfolio companies to establish and maintain their day-to-day accounting operations and processes to ensure long-term success.
Most recently, Ms. Hunter was the Manager of FP&A at ESCAPE Bio, leading teams through the multi-year cross-functional budgeting efforts. She also spent years as the Accounting Manager at ESCAPE Bio and several smaller startups. Before that, she spent ten years as a Finance Manager at Skyline Ventures in Palo Alto.
Dr. Stone joined The Column Group in 2022 to assist the firm’s portfolio companies in recruiting their scientific teams. Prior to joining the firm, Dr. Stone built out the team and labs as Head of People and Operations for BridgeBioX, the early discovery arm of BridgeBio. Dr. Stone worked in talent and operations at Verge Genomics, growing the team from 10-25. Her interest in building strong startup teams began while working for Recruitomics Talent Lab, a boutique recruiting firm. Dr. Stone completed her PhD in Chemical Biology at the California Institute of Technology, where she developed a novel chemoproteomic tool for studying infection in the laboratory of Professor David Tirrell. Dr. Stone received her BS in Chemistry at Brown University.
Mr. Liu joined The Column Group in 2022. Mr. Liu is responsible for fund coordination and financial reporting for the TCG funds and its GP and management company entities. Previously, Mr. Liu was an assistant controller at Stockbridge Capital. Prior to that, Mr. Liu was a Senior Manager at KPMG where he managed and supervised the execution of audit engagements of various venture capital and private equity clients in accordance with relevant regulatory and professional auditing and assurance standards.
Mr. Liu is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the state of California and received a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Accounting from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Mr. Levy joined The Column Group in 2022, and is responsible for overseeing the tax and financial reporting for the TCG funds and its GP and management company entities. Previously, Nathan worked as a Tax and Accounting Manager at Dragoneer Investment Group. Prior to that, Nathan was a Senior Tax Manager at BDO USA, LLP working on tax compliance and planning for private equity, venture capital, and hedge fund clients.
Mr. Levy is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the state of California and received a master’s in taxation as well as a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration – Accounting from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
Ms. Altamura joined The Column Group in 2022. Ms. Altamura provides day-to-day administrative support to staff and partners, coordinates the planning of major firm events, and assists with office management. Most recently, she was the Event Manager of Vine Hill House at O’Connell Vineyards where she planned events and managed advertising for the venue. Prior to that, she was Assistant Manager at a nursery where she coordinated schedules, deliveries, and inventory. Ms. Altamura earned a BA, Cum Laude, from the University of Puget Sound.
Dr. Moufarrej joined The Column Group as a Swanson Fellow in 2021 after completing her PhD in bioengineering at Stanford University where she also earned a master’s degree in computer science. As part of her graduate thesis in Stephen Quake’s group, she developed 3 liquid biopsy tests that measure cell-free RNA to predict how far along a pregnancy is and whether a mother is at risk of preeclampsia and preterm delivery early enough to allow for meaningful clinical intervention. For this work, Dr. Moufarrej received the 2021 “Cure it!” Lemelson-MIT Student Prize. Her work has also been published in Science and highlighted by the New York Times, CNN, and Insider, among others like the MIT Technology Review, which named it a top 10 innovation of 2019. She also holds a SB in biological engineering from MIT.
Aadit Shah joined The Column Group as a Swanson Fellow in 2022 while in training for his MD at Stanford University. Aadit holds a BS in Biomedical Engineering from Washington University and an MPhil in Bioscience Enterprise from the University of Cambridge. While completing these degrees, he conducted 4 years of immunology/infectious disease research that resulted in publications in Nature and Cell. He also led the development of a non-mydriatic retinal imager through to acquisition. While at Cambridge and Stanford, he gained exposure to operating and investing experience in therapeutics (particularly immuno-oncology and genetic medicines) with prior work spanning Flagship Pioneering, Tessera Therapeutics, and 5AM Ventures. As an advocate for the larger student innovation community, Aadit oversaw the national network of biomedical incubators: Sling Health. As National Network President, he supported more than 1000 students across 15 institutions and reported outcomes twice in Nature Biotechnology.
Jonathan Karr joined the Column Group as a Swanson Fellow in 2023 after completing his PhD in molecular and cellular biology at UC Berkeley under Robert Tjian and Xavier Darzacq. His thesis work focused on exploring new frameworks for understanding eukaryotic gene regulation that incorporate the findings of recent dynamical studies of nuclear proteins. In collaboration with Dr. Jack Ferrie, he published a new model of enhancer–promoter communication and a treatise on the inadequacy of classical biochemical intuitions as applied to eukaryotic transcription regulation. Just before joining the Group, he published a single-molecule imaging study that demonstrates a fundamental principle of transcription coactivator function—that it depends on integrating multiple transcription factor inputs via multivalent, semi-disordered interactions. He also holds a BS/MS in biochemistry from Colorado State University, where he studied structural biology under Profs. Karolin Luger and Olve Peersen.
Dr. Chen joined the Column Group as a Swanson Fellow in 2023 after completing her PhD in virology and immunology at UC San Francisco. As part of her graduate thesis in Melanie Ott’s group, she discovered a novel immune evasion function of the viral envelope protein of SARS-CoV-2 and first characterized the limited immunity elicited by Omicron variant. Additionally, she helped establish recombinant systems such as viral-like particles, replicon, and infectious clones to aid in the study viral fitness and infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 variants. For these works, Irene received the 2023 Gladstone Distinguished Achievement in Science award. Her work has been published in Nature, Science, and Cell Reports and highlighted by The Atlantic, Forbes, and TWiV. She also holds a BS in biochemistry and cell biology from UC San Diego and studied structural virology under Clodagh O’Shea at the Salk Institute.