Career Panel

Oliver Loson, Ph.D.
Assistant Director for Technology Transfer, Caltech’s Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships
 
Oliver studied neurosciences at the University of California, Riverside, where he earned a bachelor’s of science degree, and was awarded the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences Rosemary S.J. Schraer Award. While at UC Riverside, Oliver researched the neurochemical regulation of the suprachiasmatic nucleus, and also researched the distribution and biophysical characteristics of neurotransmitter vesicles in astrocytes. Oliver and his research were supported by the NIH’s Minority Access to Research Careers fellowship while at UC Riverside. Oliver received a doctorate of biochemistry and molecular biology from Caltech for his research of the regulation of mitochondrial shape. While at Caltech, Oliver and his research were supported by the NIH’s Kirchstein National Research and Service Award fellowship and also by the American Physiological Society’s Porter Pre-doctoral Fellowship. After graduating, Oliver joined Caltech’s Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships, where he is now the Assistant Director for Technology Transfer. Oliver is a registered patent agent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.


Daniel Tamae, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
California State University, Northridge 
 
Dr. Tamae received his B.S. in Biochemistry from CSU Los Angeles in 2001. He then worked in the Dept. of Radiation Research at the City of Hope for several years. In 2011, he completed his graduate work at the City of Hope with Prof. John Termini by studying mutagenic DNA adducts and DNA repair pathways. Dr. Tamae did his post-doctoral training with Prof. Trevor M. Penning at the University of Pennsylvania.
Currently, Dr. Tamae is an assistant professor in the Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry at CSU Northridge. He teaches general chemistry and his lab researches the links between cancer biology and metabolism.


John Rossi, M.S.
Director, Translational Sciences
Kite Pharma, Inc.
 
I obtained a B.Sc. in Biology at Pitzer College and a M.Sc. in Molecular & Cellular Biology from Portland State University. After receiving my M.Sc. degree I was accepted into a PhD program at Portland State University in what would eventually become the Center for Life in Extreme Environments, Department of Biology. Due to a lack of immediate funding I decided to explore other employment options in industry and academia to earn some much needed money and also buy some time to apply to other PhD programs. This decision forever altered my career path. I ended up accepting a position at Amgen Inc in Thousand Oaks California as a Research Associate III in the now defunct Department of Functional Genomics. At the two year mark after accepting employment at Amgen I received a title change and also a promotion to the Associate Scientist level. Around this same time Amgen initiated the formation of a Translational Sciences group with a focus on development of biomarker strategies to support clinical development of pipeline candidates. I applied for a lateral position change and was hired on to support laboratory focused work developing novel strategies to elucidate signaling pathway utilization and crosstalk in primary solid human tumor disaggregates. 10 years later I had moved up to the level of Senior Scientist and oversaw global biomarker development for a phase 3 registrational trial in oncology (trebananib, AMG386). I also was given a biomarker development leadership position to oversee other programs at pre-clinical, FIH and phase 2 stages (AMG780, AMG224 and AMG176)
 
In late 2014 several of my Amgen colleagues in Early Development migrated over to Kite Pharma due to the early promise of cellular based immunotherapies in the treatment of cancer. I was recruited over and started at Kite in February of 2015. At Kite I was tasked with developing a biomarker strategy and also building an effective biomarker team to support the clinical development of axicabtagene ciloleucel (axi-cel)/ KTE-C19. During my 2+ years at Kite my team has contributed directly to the axi-cel BLA and MAA submissions through pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic evaluation of this product and by supporting related development activities. Amongst many achievements at Kite, I have represented Kite Pharma through external scientific presentations and collaborative manuscripts with leading academic researchers such as Steven Rosenberg and James Kochenderfer at the NCI. Scientific accomplishments include the discovery of novel metrics to characterize CAR T cells based on their functionality, novel biomarker knowledge of how CAR T cells work in clinic, mechanistic information on CAR related toxicities, novel insights into the biology of the tumor microenvironment including immune checkpoints, and the pivotal role of IL-15 in the context of CAR T cell function. Over this period I have also been promoted two times and now have a title of Director, Translational Sciences. I oversee a team of 8 people with PhD degrees and have leadership of biomarker development for all of Kite Pharma’s CAR programs.