Anne (Annie) S. De Groot, M.D.
Founder, CEO & CSO, EpiVax, Inc.
Dr. De Groot earned degrees from Smith College (BA, 1978) and the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago (MD, 1983). She was trained in internal medicine at Tufts New England Medical Center (1986), and then went on to complete additional training in immunoinformatics and vaccine research under Jay Berzofsky at the National Institutes of Health (1989). Following her fellowship at the NIH, she returned to Tufts NEMC for clinical training in infectious disease (1991). She became board certified in Internal Medicine in 1986 and in Infectious Disease in 1992. De Groot obtained her first (K08) NIH grant in 1990. In 1992, she joined the faculty of the Brown University Medical School, where she opened the TB/HIV Research Laboratory. De Groot licensed the EpiMatrix vaccine design technology from her laboratory at Brown and established EpiVax, a bioinformatics and vaccine design company in 1998. Dr. De Groot currently devotes 20% of her effort to the University of Rhode Island as both a Professor and as the Director of the Institute for Immunology and Informatics. Her remaining 80% effort is dedicated to EpiVax, where she directs the company’s business strategy, marketing, and scientific efforts. Annie also serves as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Adjunct) at the Brown University School of Medicine, where she formerly served as the Director of the TB/HIV Research Lab. In addition to serving as a leader in both industry and academia, Dr. De Groot also provides clinical care to patients at the Rhode Island TB clinic as well as to patients at Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic, a 501c3 free clinic which Dr. De Groot co-founded in 2007. Along with serving as a member of the healthcare community, Dr. De Groot is also founder and Co-Chief editor of Infectious Diseases in Corrections report (an on-line electronic journal, established 1998) and founder and Scientific Director of the GAIA Vaccine Foundation (501c3, 2002).
De Groot has received uninterrupted federal funding for her research activities through multiple NIH (K08, R21, R01, SBIR, U19) and foundation grants since 1989. She was the recipient of a National Foundation for Infectious Diseases-Eli Lilly Award, two Rhode Island Foundation awards and a Commercial Innovation Award (from the Rhode Island Center for Cellular Medicine). More recently, she was recognized as one of the “Best and the Brightest” in Science and Technology by Esquire Magazine (2003) for her work on the GAIA HIV vaccine. She has published more than 150 articles and chapters describing the development of epitope-driven vaccines and the application of immunoinformatics tools. In addition to her active research on vaccines for HIV, TB, Tularemia, Smallpox and EBV, she is a pioneer in the field of deimmunizing protein therapeutics.
Chief Information Officer/ Chief Operating Officer
William Martin is the principal architect and developer of the EpiMatrix System. Building on the work done in Dr. De Groot’s Brown University laboratory, Mr. Martin has revised and expanded the EpiMatrix toolkit. In addition to developing new and improved predictive matrices for many Class I and Class II HLA alleles, Mr. Martin has developed a suite of protocols, ancillary tools and database structures allowing for fast and efficient analysis of input protein sequences. Since joining Dr. De Groot in 1998 Mr. Martin has developed algorithms, software, and protocols related to genome alignment and analysis, the identification of T cell epitopes, vaccine design, and the deimmunization of therapeutic proteins. As CIO at EpiVax, Mr. Martin manages the network, content, business process, and information management systems in place at EpiVax. In collaboration with Dr. De Groot, Mr. Martin has published many peer reviewed articles related to the prediction of T cell epitopes, vaccine design and protein deimmunization. Before joining EpiVax, Mr. Martin worked as a Team Leader, Business Analyst, Database Architect, Application Developer, Clinical Data Manager, and Research Assistant at PAREXEL International Corporation, and Abt Associates.
Lenny Moise, Ph.D.
Scientific Director Vaccine Research
Dr. Moise completed his ScB in Biochemistry at Brown University in 1993, and went on to pursue graduate studies in the Molecular and Cellular Biology and Biochemistry (MCB) Program at Brown University, where he worked under Dr. Edward Hawrot in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biotechnology (MPPB). His doctoral thesis topic was NMR solution structure of the principal bungarotoxin binding site on the alpha7 neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in complex with bungarotoxin. After he received his PhD from Brown University in May 2002, he was an NIH COBRE Postdoctoral Research Associate in Dr. Hawrot’s lab, studying the functional effects of bungarotoxin binding site transplantation into other proteins.
In July 2005, Lenny joined the TB/HIV research laboratory at Brown University as an Instructor in Medicine, studying vaccine design and T cell immunology. In June 2006 Lenny joined the EpiVax team as Director of Vaccine Research. He has been working on development of vaccines against tularemia, smallpox, and H. pylori, and has been leading the effort in deimmunization of botulinum neurotoxin.
Leslie Cousens, Ph.D.
Scientific Director Protein Therapeutics
Dr. Cousens earned her PhD in Biology and Medicine at Brown University (1999) studying cytokine regulation of T cell-mediated immune responses to viral infections in vivo. and has continued to pursue her interest in immunology. As a post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Cousens initially focused on the cytokine and cell-mediated T cell response elicited upon infection of mice with the intracellular bacterium listeria monocytogenes. Expanding beyond cellular interactions in immunology, she then worked to define molecular mechanisms of cytokine-mediated regulation of T cell survival. Subsequently, as a Research Assistant Professor of Medicine at Boston University, in Cancer Immunotherapy Laboratory at Roger Williams Hospital, she applied her immunology background to the preclinical design, development, and clinical evaluation of novel T cell-based cancer therapies. Dr. Cousens joined the EpiVax team (2010) as Director of Protein Therapeutics where she leads research and development of Tregitope technology towards the goal of promoting T cell tolerance induction that would alleviate the burden of repeated and long-term medical interventions such as those associated with chronic autoimmune diseases and transplant maintenance.