● 10+ years of interdisciplinary product and managing experience, transforming traditional businesses with frontier digital technologies
● Ex hegdefund portfolio manager, focused on healthcare, TMT, and consumer
● MSc Accounting & Finance, The London School of Economics
Douglas McCloskey, Ph.D.
● Systems biologist experienced in developing automated Big Omics Data generation and analysis workflows
● Group leader, Center for Biosustainability (CfB) at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
● Ph.D., Bioengineering, University of California, San Diego in the Bernhard Ø. Palsson lab
● Recipient of the Siebel Scholar – awarded annually for academic excellence and demonstrated leadership to 93 top students from the world‘s leading graduate schools
● Publication H-index of 21
Dimitris Christodoulou, Ph.D.
Co-founder/Chief Strategy Officer
● Strategist & computational biologist with experience in data analytics, multi-omics integration & simulation
● Ex-Senior Consultant at Deloitte Consulting (Zurich), led the design and implementation of business and technology strategies as well as data solutions for global MNCs
● Visiting Scholar in Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School
● Ph.D. & Post-Doc, Computational Biology, ETH Zurich
● Published multiple top tier publications (i.e. Nature, Cell Systems, iScience)
Xiaoqiang Hou, Ph.D.
Co-founder/Chief Operating Officer
● Deputy Secretary-General of Internet Hospital Association
● 20 years experience in research management, and clinical hospital management
● Research background in tumor and rare diseases, pathogenic mechanisms and vaccines
● Presided over a number of National Key Research Projects
● Ph.D. in Virology, Jilin University
Haihong Liu, M.D.
Technical Director of Clinical Laboratory
● Ex-Medical Laboratory Specialist of General Hospital of Beijing Military Region
● Genetic Metabolic Disease Laboratory Director of Bayi Children's Hospital
● Specialized in molecular biology and immunology diagnosis
● Evaluation expert of Beijing natural science foundation
● M.D. in preventive medicine, Academy of Military Medical Sciences
Wei Ye, Ph.D.
VP Scientific Affairs
● Head of Bioinformatics Platform, Bio-Med Big Data Center, Shanghai Institute of Biological Sciences, CAS, lead efforts of building NODE (National Omics Data Encylopedia)
● 10 years experience in multi-omics bioinformatics analysis
● Director of Bioinformatics, Shanghai Tissue Bank Co. Ltd.
● Project Assistant at Roche pRED China
● Ph.D. in Biology, Shanghai Jiaotong University
Atefeh Kazeroonian, Ph.D.
Computational Modelling Director
● Computational biologist, experienced in mechanistic modelling and omics data integration with a focus on the immune system
● Group leader in computational biology and T cell immunology, Institute of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Hygiene, Technical University of Munich
● Ph.D., Computational Biology, Helmholtz Center in Munich in the Fabian Theis lab
● Visiting scholar, University of California, San Francisco
● Published multiple top tier publications (i.e. Nature Immunology, PNAS, Bioinformatics)
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Robin Chan, Ph.D.
VP of Strategic Partnerships
● 10+ years of experience in research and life science industry
● Founding director of Lipidomics Core Laboratory, Columbia University
● Assistant Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology, Lipid Metabolism and Neurodegenerative Diseases, Columbia University
● U.C. Berkeley Skydeck BioChina Fund partner
● PhD, Biochemistry, National University of Singapore, in the Lab of Markus R. Wenk; MBA, Columbia Business School
● Published 35+ top-tier publications (i.e. Nature, Nat Commun., Nat Neurosci., Cell Host Microbe), received research grants from National Institute of Health (NIH) and other non-profit research foundations
Chunjian Huang, Ph.D.
VP of Immunology
● 20+ years international experience in immunology-focused research institutes and biotechnology companies (e.g. cancer immunotherapy, autoimmunity, asthma and inflammation)
● Served as Director at Department of Oncology and Immunology, WuXi AppTec. Led R&D progress that enabled the development of new modalities and was involved in multiple successful IND applications
● Served as Principal Investigator at Innovent Biologics. Led team for first-in-class drug target discovery and successfully completed the POC of one FIC target within one year
● PostDoc, Cleveland Clinic (Department of Cancer Biology); Ph.D. in Immunology, Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences; B.Sc. in Biology, Fudan University
Wei Ye, Ph.D.
Co-founder/SVP of Technology Operations
● 10+ years experience in bioinformatics research institutes and pharmaceutical companies (focus on NGS, multi-omics data analysis, CADD)
● Served as Director of the Bioinformatics Platform, Shanghai Academy of Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Led multiple national omics database setup and data analysis programs
● Served at the Roche R&D Center Bioinformatics and worked on several drug discovery projects
● Ph.D. in Biology (Bioinformatics), Shanghai Jiaotong University
● Published 20+ SCI papers, including 8 first-authored papers, with 500+ citations
Immune system dysfunction, including higher levels of peripheral monocytes and inflammatory cytokines, is an important feature of Parkinson's disease (PD) pathogenesis, although the mechanism underlying the process remains to be investigated. In the central nervous system, it is well-known that α-synuclein (α-syn), a key protein involved in PD, activates microglia potently, and it is also reported that α-syn exists in the peripheral system, especially in erythrocytes or red blood cells (RBC) at exceedingly high concentration. The current study focused on the possibility that RBC-derived α-syn mediates the sensitization of peripheral monocytes in PD patients.
The hyperactivation of monocytes was assessed quantitatively by measuring mRNA levels of typical inflammatory cytokines (including IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α) and protein levels of secreted inflammatory cytokines (including pro-inflammatory cytokines: IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, IL-8, IFN-γ, IL-2, and IL-12p70 and anti-inflammatory cytokines: IL-4, IL-10, and IL-13). Western blot, nanoparticle tracking analysis and electron microscopy were used to characterize RBC-derived extracellular vesicles (RBC-EVs). Inhibitors of endocytosis and leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2), another key protein involved in PD, were used to investigate how these two factors mediated the process of monocyte sensitization by RBC-EVs.
Increased inflammatory sensitization of monocytes was observed in PD patients and PD model mice. We found that α-syn-containing RBC-EVs isolated from PD model mice or free form oligomeric α-syn induced the inflammatory sensitization of THP-1 cells, and demonstrated that endocytosis was a requirement for this pathophysiological pathway. Furthermore, the hyperactivation of THP-1 cells induced by RBC-EVs was associated with increased LRRK2 production and kinase activity. The phenomenon of inflammatory sensitization of human monocytes and increased LRRK2 were also observed by the treatment of RBC-EVs isolated from PD patients.
Our data provided new insight into how hyperactivation of monocytes occurs in PD patients, and identified the central role played by α-syn-containing RBC-EVs in this process.