Events Calendar

"Special" Seminar: First Do No Harm: Applying Whole Patient Care to Early Stage Therapeutic Design and Development

Thursday, April 20, 2023
9:30 am - 10:30 am

Location: EER 3.646

While therapeutic advances over the last century can dramatically extend life after terrible diagnoses, even the most modern disease treatments may have brutal and painful side effects. Physicians have been moving toward a “whole patient” focus that places a high value on quality-of-life during treatment, but this effort is limited by the available therapies for many diseases. Building on a background in protein engineering, I will discuss recent and planned contributions to the development of antibody therapies for infectious disease and cancer which have been influenced by my experiences as a patient and caretaker. First, pertussis continues to be a major contributor to years of life lost across the world, particularly in newborns who are poorly protected by vaccination and for whom there are only extremely limited and harsh treatments. I will describe our preclinical development of an antibody that singlehandedly prevents clinical disease in neonatal nonhuman primates. Second, I will summarize our progress toward reducing on-target off-tumor side effects of anti-cancer antibodies by leveraging the relative acidity of the tumor microenvironment. By engineering environmental selectivity into both the antigen binding surface and the antibody’s activation of immune effectors, we aim to reduce side effects that interrupt treatment and impact patient quality-of-life. Finally, I will summarize future plans as director of the new Advanced Protein Therapeutics core focusing on treating pancreatic, brain, breast, and other cancers.

Dr. Annalee (Annie) Whitefield Nguyen obtained her Bachelor of Science degree with Highest Honors from the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at UT Austin in 2000. She focused on fluorescent protein engineering during her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara under the mentorship of Patrick Daugherty. After a brief stint in industry, Annie spent a few lovely years as a stay-at-home mom to her two children. She was then thrilled to return to UT Austin to work for Professor Jennifer Maynard. Annie has been in her role as a research associate with the Maynard Lab for 10 years and was recently appointed director of Jennifer’s CPRIT-funded Advanced Protein Therapeutics core facility.

Speaker: Dr. Annalee Nguyen, Research Associate (Maynard)