Haitao (Mark) Ji, PhD
University of Utah
"Design and Synthesis of Selective Beta-catenin/T-Cell Factor Inhibitors for the Treatment of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis"
Funded by InterMune, Inc.
Dr. Haitao (Mark) Ji is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Assistant Professor in the Center for Cell and Genome Science, University of Utah.
A native of China, Mark received his PhD and BS degrees at the Second Military Medical University of China. After completing his military service, Mark served as a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University. As a postdoctoral fellow under Professor Richard Silverman, he proposed a new concept, minimal pharmacophoric element, and developed a new method for fragment-based inhibitor design, called fragment hopping. By using this new strategy Dr. Ji discovered the most potent and dual selective nNOS inhibitor reported to date.
Dr. Ji’s independent research interests are largely dedicated to the structure-based design and synthesis of small molecules to modulate cellular signalling pathways that are critical in pulmonary fibrogenesis. In the process of designing and synthesizing new small-molecule inhibitors, he also aims to develop novel and widely applicable techniques for future drug discovery. Accordingly, research in his group utilizes multidisciplinary approaches including synthetic organic chemistry, computer modeling, molecular and cell biology.
Dr. Ji has published 68 research papers, five review papers and three book chapters. Mark is married to Grace Zhang. They have one son, Nate.
Rebecca Keith, MD
University of Colorado, Denver
"Therapeutic Targeting of PTPN-13 in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis"
Dr. Keith is an Instructor in the Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Colorado Medical School in Denver. Her clinical interests include fibrotic and collagen vascular associated lung diseases. She conducts her research under the mentorship of David W. H. Riches, PhD, at National Jewish Health in the area of rheumatoid arthritis associated interstitial lung disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
More recently, she has begun to focus on the development of targeted small molecules to inhibit the interactions of protein tyrosine phosphatase, non-receptor type 13 and Fas as candidate therapeutic agents in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Dr. Keith enjoys spending time with her family in the Rocky Mountains.