Rommie Amaro, Ph.D.


Dr. Amaro is an Assistant Professor in Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Director of the National Biomedical Computation Resource at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). She received her B.S. (Chemical Engineering, 1999) and Ph.D. (Chemistry, 2005) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Amaro’s work revolves around characterizing the structure, function, and (thermo)dynamics of a wide variety of medically relevant proteins. Her lab primarily applies state-of-the-art biophysical simulations and, when needed, develops new methods to investigate these biomolecules. She has pioneered systematic methods to incorporate structural information from classical atomistic molecular dynamic simulations into drug discovery and design schemes. This key innovation enables the discovery of new docking sites or features that rigid structure docking cannot elucidate. Dr. Amaro is the recipient of an NIH New Innovator Award, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, and the American Chemical Society Division of Computers in Chemistry (COMP) Outstanding Junior Faculty Award.

G. Wesley ‘Wes’ Hatfield, Ph.D.,

Co-founder, President, CEO and Board Member

Wes has nearly thirty years of experience in the development of biotechnology companies both as a founder and as a private consultant. He and Prof. Lathrop are the co-founders of Verdezyne Inc. (; formerly CODA Genomics, Inc.), a synthetic biology company located in Carlsbad, CA, and are co-inventors of the CODA technology. He serves as a consultant to private and government science funding agencies, and for many years has been instrumental in forging collaborations between the University of California and the California biotechnology industry. On the academic side, Dr. Hatfield is Professor Emeritus of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics in the School of Medicine and the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science in the School of Engineering of the University of California, Irvine. His primary areas of scientific expertise include molecular biology, biochemistry, microbial physiology, functional genomics, and computational biology. He has received national recognition and awards for his scientific and entrepreneurial contributions.

Peter Kaiser, Ph.D.


Dr. Kaiser received his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Salzburg, Austria, and his Ph.D. from the University of Innsbruck, Austria. He did postdoctoral training at The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, USA, before joining the faculty at the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Kaiser currently is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Biological Chemistry in the UCI School of Medicine. He has made significant contributions to the fields of cell cycle control, the ubiquitin proteasome system, and cancer biology in general. Dr. Kaiser’s group developed widely-used advanced tools for proteomics, described proteolysis-independent functions for ubiquitin, demonstrated achievability of sub-type selective small molecule inhibitors for ubiquitin ligases, identified a unique metabolic requirement of cancer that connects epigenetic stability with cancer metabolism, and developed a panel of high-throughput compatible assays for identification of small molecule reactivators of the tumor suppressor p53. Dr. Kaiser has served on numerous panels to evaluate research program funding in the US, Canada, Asia, and Europe. Dr. Kaiser is a recipient of the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Clinical Research Awards for Discovery; a Erwin Schrödinger Fellow of the Austrian Science Fund; a Fellow of the Max Kade foundation, USA; and an APART-Fellow of the Austrian Academy of Science.

Richard Lathrop, Ph.D.


Dr. Lathrop received his B.A. in mathematics from Reed College and his S.M., E.E., and Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence from MIT. He was a research scientist at the MIT Artificial intelligence Laboratory before joining the University of California, Irvine, where he is now a Professor of Computer Science. Dr. Lathrop’s research involves applying advanced computation and intelligent systems to problems in biology and medicine. He is a co-founder with Wes Hatfield of Verdezyne Inc. (formerly CODA Genomics, Inc.), a synthetic biology company located in Carlsbad CA and was a co-founder of Arris Pharmaceutical Corp. He has received Best Paper Awards from the Intl. Conf. on Genome Informatics and the ACM/IEEE Intl. Design Automation Conf.; an Innovative Application Award from the AAAI/IAAI Conf.; and a Research Award for Discovery from the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is a co-inventor on US Patents Nos. 5,526,281 (“Machine Learning Approach to Modeling Biological Activity for Molecular Design and to Modeling Other Characteristics”) and with Wes Hatfield on US Patent 7,262,031 (“Method for Producing a Synthetic Gene or Other DNA Sequence”). He was the founding treasurer of the Intl. Society for Computational Biology and currently serves on their Board of Directors.

Scott Rychnovsky, Ph.D.


Dr. Rychnovsky received his B.S. from UC Berkeley in 1981, and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Columbia University in 1986. After postdoctoral appointments at Harvard and Yale, he began his academic career at the Univ. Minnesota in 1988. He moved to UC Irvine in 1995 as a full professor and was Chair of the Chemistry Department from 2010-2013. His specialty is synthetic organic chemistry, with expertise in new methods development, structure determination, and natural product synthesis. Dr. Rychnovsky has published over 160 scientific articles. He was a consultant with Schering Plough from 1998-2009, and has been an Associate Editor for the Journal of Organic Chemistry since 2007. He was chair of the NIH Synthetic and Biological Chemistry study section. Dr. Rychnovsky was named a Searle Scholar, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Teacher-Scholar, and an Arthur C. Cope Scholar. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society. Prof. Rychnovsky was honored with the Pedler award from the Royal Chemical Society in 2012.