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Scientific Advisory Board
 
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“I’m delightfully surprised and impressed by the selectivity, safety and clinical effects of Menerba, Bionovo’s drug candidate for menopausal hot flashes. To date, it is perhaps the most impressive SERM I’ve encountered. The utilization of natural compounds with historical clinical utility, and the targeted mechanism of action seem to result in a safer drug with exciting clinical results. I believe this strategy is propitious and will provide new therapies for many indications that currently have unmet or poorly met medical needs.” 

–Bert O’Malley, M.D.
2008 Recipient of the National Medal of Science

Scientific Advisory Board

We have assembled scientific and medical advisory boards that include prominent scientific and product development advisors who provide expertise in the areas of female health including menopause, breast cancer, cell biology, immunology, hormonal and metabolic disorders, biostatistics and pharmaceutical development.

Name Affiliation Area of Expertise
Len Bjeldanes, Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley Molecular Toxicology/Bioactive Compound Isolation and Identification
Paul Pui-Hay But, Ph.D. Food and Drug Authentication Laboratory Ltd., Hong Kong Botanical Authentication and Chinese Medicine Quality Control
Uwe Christians, M.D., Ph.D. University of Colorado Pharmacology
Isaac Cohen, O.M.D., L.Ac. Bionovo, Inc. Herbology, Pharmacology, Cell Biology and Pharmaceutical Development
Gary L. Firestone, Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley Molecular and Cell Biology
Richard Gless, Ph.D. Arete Therapeutics Chemical Research Management
Bert W. O'Malley, M.D. Baylor College of Medicine Molecular and Cell Biology, Nuclear Receptor Regulation
Moshe Rosenberg, D.Sc. University of California, Davis Microencapsulation Properties of Proteins, Lipids and Carbohydrates
Terry Speed, Ph.D. Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia Bioinformatics
Zung Vu Tran, Ph.D. University of Colorado Biostatistics and Bioinformatics
Richard Weiner, Ph.D. University of California, San Francisco Neuroendocrinology, Cancer
Ethan Weiss, M.D. University of California, San Francisco Cardiology

Len Bjeldanes, Ph.D.
Dr. Bjeldanes is Professor and Chair of the University of California, Berkeley, Department of Nutritional Science and Toxicology and Director of the Graduate Group in Molecular Toxicology. Dr. Bjeldanes has been a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley for over 30 years. He is an expert in isolating bioactive compounds from natural products and structural identification. He focuses on the mechanisms of action of natural products as chemopreventive agents. Dr. Bjeldanes has co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and he extensively published scientific data supporting the role of dietary indoles as protective agents against breast, prostate and endometrial cancer.

Paul Pui-Hay But, Ph.D.
Dr. But is the Chief Scientist for the Food and Drug Authentication Laboratory Ltd., Hong Kong, China, and a leading investigator and consultant on botanical authentication and Chinese medicine quality control. Dr. But holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), and holds master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. He has held positions of distinction at CUHK as well as with Hong Kong government committees focused on Chinese medicine, medicinal material research, and quality control. Dr. But has eleven issued patents, including patents of DNA sequences and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) restriction fragment length polymorphism testing for the authentication of traditional Chinese medicines. Dr. But has over 230 publications spanning thirty years.

Uwe Christians M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Christians is an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado Health Science Center and an expert in therapeutic drug monitoring, clinical pharmacokinetics, drug metabolism, drug transport, drug interactions and mechanisms of toxicity. Dr. Christians specializes in the biodisposition of drugs and their efficacious and toxic metabolites at the cellular level, in isolated organs and in healthy volunteers and patients, so as to correlate the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics for drugs in various patient populations. Specific study areas include: 10 metabolic isoenzymes, particularly cytochromes P450 3A and their relevance to the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of immunosuppressive agents, anticancer therapeutics, antiretroviral drugs and therapies used in women’s health.

Isaac Cohen, O.M.D., L.Ac.
Dr. Cohen is a co-founder of Bionovo, Inc., and has served as its Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer and a Director since February 2002. He became the Company’s Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer and a Director in April 2005. Mr. Cohen has been a Guest Scientist at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Cancer Research Center and UCSF Center for Reproductive Endocrinology since 1996. Mr. Cohen was in private practice at The American Acupuncture Center, located in Berkeley, California from 1989-2005.

Gary L. Firestone, Ph.D.
Dr. Firestone is Professor of Cell & Developmental Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology.  He is also the Program Director of the Cancer Biology Pre-doctoral and Post-doctoral Training Program at the University of California, Berkeley Cancer Research Laboratory. Dr. Firestone specializes in cell signaling pathways that inhibit the uncontrolled growth of epithelial-derived tumor cells. In his lab, molecular, genetic and cell biological experimental strategies are being utilized to explore the mechanisms by which extracellular signals such as steroid hormones, growth factors and certain dietary compounds coordinately regulate the proliferation and cell-cell interactions of reproductive tumor cells.

Richard Gless, Ph.D.
Dr. Richard Gless is currently the Vice President of Chemistry at Arete Therapeutics where he oversees the discovery and development of first-in-class small molecule inhibitors of soluble epoxide hydrolase for multiple disease indications.  Prior to Arete, Dr. Gless was Vice President of Chemistry at Galileo Pharmaceuticals where he supervised the discovery and development of therapeutics targeting redox signaling metabolic pathways.  Prior to joining Galileo, he was Vice President of Chemistry at Signature BioScience and site manager of the company’s Richmond site with responsibility for all aspects of chemical operations and supervision of Signature’s medicinal chemistry programs in oncology.  Dr. Gless has spent more than 20 years leading and managing chemical research groups.  He was Vice President of Chemistry at Cambridge Discovery Chemistry where he directed contract research programs for various disease indications at Cambridge Discovery’s U.S. facility and held various management positions at Zeneca, Inc., including supervision of Zeneca’s U.S. combinatorial chemistry and process research groups.  Dr. Gless holds a Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley.

Bert W. O'Malley, M.D.
Dr. O'Malley received his B.S. degree from the University of Pittsburgh, his M.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and completed his Internship and Residency at Duke University Department of Medicine. He was a Clinical Associate at NCI, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland, from 1965 to 1967; and served as Head, Molecular Biology Section, Endocrine Branch, NCI, NIH, from 1967 to 1969. In 1969, he moved to Vanderbilt University School of Medicine where he was Professor and Occupant of the Lucius Birch Chair and Director of the Reproductive Biology Center. In 1973, Dr. O'Malley moved to his current professional home at Baylor College of Medicine, where he serves as Tomas C. Thompson Professor and Chairman, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Director of the Baylor Center for Reproductive Biology. Among the awards and honors that Dr. O'Malley has received are the Ernst Oppenheimer Award, Gregory Pincus Memorial Medal, Distinguished Achievement in Modern Medicine Award, Axel Munthe Award in Reproductive Biology, British Endocrine Society Medal, Fred Conrad Koch Medal, Pasarow Award in Cancer Research, Endocrine Transatlantic Medal, George W. Beadle Award, Rodbell Award (NIH/NIEHS), and the Feltrinelli International Prize for Biology, as well as election by his peers to membership in the Royal Academy of Medicine of Ireland, National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Sciences of Texas. Dr. O'Malley has also served as president of the Endocrine Society. Dr. O'Malley received honorary degrees from the New York Medical College (D.Sc., in 1979); the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden (M.D., in 1984); the National University of Ireland (D.Sc. in 1985); and the University of Maryland (D.Sc., in 2001). Dr. O'Malley's landmark discoveries revealed the mechanism of steroid hormone action to be at the level of nuclear DNA transcription. Dr. O'Malley went on to demonstrate the critical importance of a previously undiscovered superfamily of mediators for their actions -- namely, the nuclear receptor coregulators. These discoveries provided a coherent foundation for understanding epigenetic promotion of reproductive tissue growth and development by steroid hormones, and provided the foundation for all future regulatory studies of the impact of estrogen and progesterone on implantation of a fertilized egg, pregnancy maintenance, and prenatal embryonic development, and for the hormone mediated embryonic and pubertal growth of breast, uterine, ovarian, prostate, and brain tissues under normal and cancer conditions. In 1992, the O'Malley lab used proteolytic enzyme and antibody epitope mapping to demonstrate specific distinct receptor structures for pure agonists, pure antagonists, and mixed antagonists/agonists of estrogen receptors (ER) and progesterone receptors (PR). This early work of the O'Malley lab contributed the first substantiated understanding of the mechanism of action of how agonists and antagonists of female hormones structurally activate or inactivate a receptor's ligand binding domain for eventual transcriptional regulation. His work was furthered when he discovered that intracellular coactivator/corepressor ratios determine the tissue specificities of SERMs.

Moshe Rosenberg, D.Sc.
Dr. Rosenberg is a professor at the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Rosenberg's research is focused on developing a basic understanding and applicable information related to the physico-chemical, functional, and, in particular, microencapsulating properties of proteins, lipids and carbohydrates. The information is then utilized by Dr. Rosenberg's group for developing new encapsulation technologies and advanced systems for delivering nutrients and bio-active compounds. Dr Rosenberg received his Bachelor of Science degree from Hebrew University and his Master's and Doctorate degrees from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.

Terry Speed, Ph.D.
Dr. Speed is a professor in the Department Statistics at the University of California, Berkeley and Senior Principal Research Scientist and head of the Bioinformatics Division, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia. At the university and the institute, Dr. Speed teaches graduate-level statistics and bioinformatics and is co- investigator on genetic, genomic and systems biology projects. Dr. Speed has served on a number of academic scientific advisory boards such as the Mathematical Biosciences Institute at Ohio State University, the Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute, CA, the Department of Biology of the Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, France, and the Department of Statistics, Oxford University, UK. He is a member of the International Statistical Institute since 1987 and is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences. He was awarded the 2002 Pitman Medal (Statistical Society of Australia), the 2003 Moyal Medal (Macquarie University), and was the joint recipient of 2004 Outstanding Applications Paper Award, American Statistical Association. Dr. Speed has served as a consultant to various industry companies such as Stillwater Sciences, Berkeley, CA, GeneData, AG, Basel, Switzerland, Gene Logic, Inc, Gaithersberg, MD, and Affymetrix, Inc, Santa Clara, CA. Dr. Speed is recognized as one of the world's leaders in the emerging field of Bioinformatics. He brings to Bionovo more than 35 years of experience in biostatistics, more recently specializing in the design and analysis of studies in genetics and genomics.

Zung Vu Tran, Ph.D.
Dr. Tran is Scientific Director of CHOP-Westat Biostatistics and Data Management Core (BDMC) at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). The BDMC, with a 30-member staff, is a full-service Core that supports a wide range of research activities for CHOP investigators. He is also Research Professor of Pediatrics and Biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Dr. Tran has taught numerous graduate-level biostatistics courses and is co-investigator and senior biostatistician for several on-going NIH-funded clinical trials. He has received numerous peer-reviewed federal and foundation research grants, both as principal investigator and co-investigator. Dr. Tran brings to Bionovo nearly 30 years of experience in biostatistics, specializing in the design and analysis of clinical trials. He also has considerable expertise in meta-analysis methodology, survey research methodology, as well as the management of large databases. Dr. Tran has served on numerous NIH study sections over the past 17 years and has extensive senior level management experience in academic as well as industry settings. He has served as a consultant for a number of pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

Richard Weiner, Ph.D.
Dr. Weiner is an emeritus professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, and is a renowned authority on neuroendocrinology and cancer research. Dr. Weiner has over forty years of experience in these areas, and has particular expertise in the areas of signaling pathways and hormonal regulation of the neuronal pathways regulating the menstrual cycle. Dr. Weiner holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Pennsylvania State University, and holds a doctoral degree from the University of California, San Francisco and did postdoctoral work at UCLA. He previously held positions of distinction at the University of Tennessee, the University of Southern California and the Salk Institute. Dr. Weiner has over 275 publications spanning forty years.

Ethan Weiss, M.D.
Dr. Ethan Weiss is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Weiss earned his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and he completed his internship and residency at the John Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Weiss came to the University of California, San Francisco in 1998 as a cardiology fellow where he spent three years under the scientific mentorship of Dr. Shaun Coughlin in the Cardiovascular Research Institute studying the effects of thrombin signaling in platelets. He then completed his clinical fellowship and served as Chief Cardiology Fellow in 2002. Dr Weiss' clinical focus includes acute care cardiology, coronary artery disease and general cardiology with special interests in thrombosis, preventive cardiology, and acute coronary syndromes. Dr. Weiss' laboratory uses forward genetic models to enhance the understanding of mechanisms of hemostasis and thrombosis. In addition, his group is working to understand mechanisms of sex differences in blood clotting and to define the mechanisms whereby estrogen increases the risk of clotting.