Saturday, June 9, 2018 | 10:00 AM - 10:55 AM | AUDITORIUM

An increasing number of academic researchers are collaborating with industry in many scientific areas, from patenting their findings and commercializing new technologies, to setting up companies based on novel discoveries and developing new products; however, collaborations with a goal of generating peer-reviewed publications remain an area of untapped possibility.  This panel will focus on developing mutually beneficial, successful collaborations between industry and academic researchers to drive shared research interests and increase the scientific knowledge base. Panelists will talk about their own experiences, obstacles that they may have faced and the strategies they implemented to get mutually beneficial outcomes.


Jonathan Rothblatt, PhD

Director Infectious Disease Therapeutic Area at SanofI

Jonathan is currently R&D Director and Research Project Leader in the Infectious Diseases‒Viral Infections Project Cluster of Sanofi. Since joining Sanofi, Jonathan has contributed to discovery and early development projects as a group leader, section head, external alliance manager, and project team leader. He has led or overseen projects in many areas including Alzheimer’s disease, p21-activated kinase and insulin receptor signaling, and immune checkpoint inhibitors, as well as efforts around toxicogenomics and multiparametric profiling of drugs. Most recently he completed a 3-year assignment co-leading the project team responsible for the preclinical development of a therapeutic monoclonal antibody directed against an emerging virus, taking it from pharmacological characterization and optimization of early lead molecules to approval of the clinical development candidate. Jonathan got his B.Sc. degree at McGill University and completed his Ph.D. in cell biology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, after which he did postdoctoral research at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (Heidelberg) and at University of California-Berkeley. Jonathan continued in academic research as a faculty member at Dartmouth College and as a visiting scientist at Columbia University prior to joining the Sanofi legacy company Hoechst Marion Roussel in 1999.


Janet Buhlmann, PhD

Senior Principal Scientist at Pfizer

Received B.A. in Biochemistry from Mount Holyoke College; after graduating worked as a research technician investigating the mechanisms used by nematodes to escape detection and elimination by the immune system.  Attended Dartmouth College, where received Ph.D. in Biochemistry, specializing in Immunology. After a postdoctoral fellowship investigating role of costimulatory molecules during immune responses at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, became an Instructor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center where the mechanisms by which the loss of RasGRP1 drove development of a spontaneous Lupus-like autoimmune disease were elucidated.  After 12 years in academics, I moved over to the biotech industry working for a small company that focused on immunogenicity assessment of biologics. From there, transitioned to the Centers for Therapeutic Innovation at Pfizer where we work with academics to help them translate their bench discoveries in to novel therapeutics for diseases with high unmet medical needs.


Weining Lu, MD

Associate Professor at Boston University School of Medicine

Dr. Weining Lu is a Principal Investigator, Associate Professor of Medicine, Primary Mentor of Graduate Students and Postdocs in the Renal Section, Department of Medicine, Boston University Medical Center. The primary research interests in Dr. Lu’s laboratory focus on translational research of the kidney and urinary tract development and disease. Dr. Lu’s research program is supported by grants from government (National Institutes of Health, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center), foundation (March of Dimes, National Kidney Foundation), and industry (Pfizer Centers for Therapeutic Innovation). Prior to joining Boston University Medical Center in 2004, Dr. Lu served as an Instructor in Medicine and Technical Director in the genome center at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. Lu received his medical degree from Zhejiang University School of Medicine and his graduate degree from Northeastern University Bouve College of Health Sciences. He completed his postdoctoral training in the Renal Division and Genetics Division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.


Gauri Nair, PhD

Associate Director in the Operational Alliances (External Innovation) group at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research

Gauri is an Associate Director in the Operational Alliances (External Innovation) group at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research Inc. in Cambridge, MA. Before moving to Novartis, Gauri was an associate at Harvard University in the Office of Technology Development from 2013-2015. Gauri has a background in management consulting and sales and marketing.  She has worked for Bio-Rad, India, Life Technologies, India (now a part of ThermoFisher) and Boehringer Mannheim, India (now Roche Life Sciences) as a sales and marketing manager.

Gauri has an MS (Innovation) from Northeastern University and a Ph.D. in Biology from University of Pennsylvania. She did her postdoctoral work at the University of Maryland (College Park) in retroviral molecular biology.  Gauri also has an undergraduate degree in microbiology/biochemistry from Mumbai University (India) and an MSc in Biotechnology from Pune University (India).