David Chess, Project Operations director
Dr. David Chess has over 10 years of experience in academic research and drug discovery. He began his industry career at Janssen Research & Development, where he was a Senior Scientist in the Cardiovascular & Metabolism therapeutic area. As part of the heart failure team, he supported lead optimization activities for a biologic therapy and participated in NME declaration. David then transitioned to Stealth BioTherapeutics in Newton, MA, where he assisted with pre-clinical development of mitochondrial-targeted peptides for the treatment of rare metabolic diseases. Immediately prior to joining BioMotiv, he served as Principal Scientist at a seed-funded start-up company in Cambridge, MA, where he drove discovery efforts and managed contract research organization partnerships for cell-based therapeutic platforms.
David received his Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University, where he examined the effects of dietary macronutrient composition on pathological left ventricular remodeling. He completed post-doctoral fellowships at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Boston University School of Medicine, where he investigated numerous aspects of mitochondrial biology and metabolic homeostasis. David graduated with honors from Xavier University with a B.S. in Natural Sciences and received his M.B.A. in Entrepreneurship from Babson College.
Robert N. Willette, PhD, Project Leader
Dr. Willette has over 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry as a discovery pharmacologist, and he has authored more than 150 original peer reviewed research papers. Prior to joining Sujana as a project leader, he was VP, unit head, and senior fellow in the Heart Failure & Renal Discovery Performance Unit at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Pharmaceuticals. He has also served as President of the Mid-Atlantic Pharmacology Society and as a Thomas Jefferson University adjunct professor, Nephcure Foundation scientific advisor, and currently serves as an industry mentor at the Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania in the Institute of Translational Medicine.
Dr. Willette received his doctoral degree from the Department of Pharmacology at Rutgers University, School of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey. He pursued postdoctoral training in cardiopulmonary biology at the Veterans Administration in NJ and the Department of Neurosurgery at Rutgers University and neurobiology at the Weill Medical College, Cornell University.