Steven Almo, Ph.D.

Co-Founder and Chair

Steven Almo is the Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he is Professor of Biochemistry and of Physiology & Biophysics. Dr. Almo holds the Wollowick Family Foundation Chair in Immunology and is Director of Einstein’s Macromolecular Therapeutics Development Facility, a resource dedicated to the development and optimization of protein-based therapeutics. Dr. Almo is recognized for his broad contributions to structural biology and has published more than 300 papers. His laboratory has played key roles in the development and implementation of high-throughput approaches for protein production, structure determination and functional annotation. Dr. Almo received his Ph.D. in Biophysics from Harvard University, while working with Greg Petsko in the Chemistry Department at MIT, and is best known for his high resolution structural and biochemical characterization of the CTLA-4 and PD-1 immune checkpoint proteins and their respective ligands. The strategy for clonal-specific T cell modulation, which underlies Cue Biopharma’s therapeutic discovery pipeline, was developed in Dr. Almo’s laboratory.

Kenneth Pienta, M.D.

Clinical Advisor

Kenneth Pienta is a highly-respected leader in the understanding of cancer metastases and the role of the tumor microenvironment in cancer development and immunosuppression. Dr. Pienta is the Donald S. Coffey Professor of Urology, as well as a Professor of Oncology, Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Currently, he is the Director of Research at the Brady Urological Institute and also serves as the co-Director of the Johns Hopkins Individualized Health Initiative (Hopkins inHealth) to better define the practice of precision medicine. He has been the principal investigator on numerous local and national clinical trials and has a proven track record in developing multi-disciplinary translational research programs, diagnostics, and therapeutics. Dr. Pienta is the author of more than 550 peer-reviewed articles, and is a two-time American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor Award recipient. Dr. Pienta received a B.A. in human biology from Johns Hopkins University and an M.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and is board certified in oncology.

Abul K. Abbas, M.D.

Dr. Abul K. Abbas received his MBBS (MD equivalent) in India, completed training in Pathology at Harvard Medical School and joined the faculty at Harvard Medical School and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he rose to become Professor of Pathology and Head of the Immunology Research Division. In 1999, after twenty years on the Harvard Medical School faculty, he moved to UCSF as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pathology, where he served in this position until 2018. Dr. Abbas has received several honors, including election to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, election as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Rous-Whipple Award and Robbins Educator Award of the American Society of Investigative Pathology.  He has served as one of the founding Editors and Associate Editor of Immunity, Associate Editor and Section Editor for The Journal of Immunology, Associate Editor of Cell, Consulting Editor of The Journal of Clinical Investigation, founding Editor of the Annual Review of Pathology: Mechanisms of Disease, and Co-Chief Scientific Advisor of Science Immunology. From 2011-2013, he was the President of the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS). Dr. Abbas’ research interests are in immunology, with a focus on the control of immune responses and the causes of autoimmunity. His laboratory has used experimental models to analyze the generation and maintenance of regulatory T cells. He has published over 200 peer-reviewed papers and invited reviews and is the author of four widely read textbooks, two in immunology and two in pathology. He has taught immunology at Harvard Medical School and UCSF and has organized and conducted immunology courses worldwide.

Rafi Ahmed, Ph.D.

Dr. Ahmed is a world-renowned immunologist and distinguished thought leader whose research has significantly shaped the scientific community’s current understanding of immunity in the context of viral infections and cancer. His extensive work on defining T cell exhaustion along with detailing molecular underpinnings of T cell differentiation and effector responses have been seminal in establishing novel areas of research and therapeutic applications. Dr. Ahmed’s laboratory pioneered highly sophisticated and leading-edge cellular and molecular techniques to study antigen-specific responses and immunological memory in murine, primate, and human systems. Dr. Ahmed serves as the Director of the Emory Vaccine Center at Emory University. He is also the co-leader of the Cancer Immunology research program at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Ahmed is an elected member of the National Academy of Science. He is also recognized as a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and a Fellow of the Academy of Immuno-Oncology.

Michael Kalos, Ph.D.

Dr. Michael Kalos is an internationally recognized expert in T cell therapy and immunotherapy and brings over 25 years of experience and expertise in cell therapy, oncology vaccines, and immuno-oncology. Most recently Michael served as Executive Vice President and Head of R&D at ArsenalBio, a synthetic biology-based cell therapy start-up. At ArsenalBio Michael led development of research and development and product development strategy for the company’s first product. Prior to ArsenalBio Michael served as Vice President of Immuno-oncology and Oncology Cell Therapies at Janssen, the pharmaceutical companies of Johnson and Johnson, where he led corporate internal and external strategy and efforts in cell therapy, neoantigen vaccines, and immuno-oncology. Prior to Janssen, Michael served as Chief Scientific Officer of immuno-oncology at Eli Lilly and Company, where he established and led internal and external corporate strategy in immuno-oncology, including biologics, bi-specifics, vaccines, and cell therapy. Prior to joining the biopharmaceutical sector, Michael spent 10 years in academia, where he focused on the development of integrated translational biomarker programs to support the development of cell therapy and immunotherapy programs. The laboratory he founded and directed at the University of Pennsylvania played a key role in the success of the cell therapy program at the University of Pennsylvania, including clinical development of the CTL019 program that was licensed to Novartis and led to the approval of Kymriah. Dr. Kalos obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and completed post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Phil Greenberg at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Dr. Kalos has co-authored over 85 peer-reviewed manuscripts, including multiple highly cited articles in high-impact journals that have helped define the space of CAR- and TCR- based T cell therapy, as well as book chapters in the field of cancer immunotherapy, and has 26 issued patents in the field of cell therapy, immunotherapy, and vaccines. He actively serves and has served as an advisory member for international immunotherapy consortia and societies as well as biopharmaceutical companies.

Karolina Palucka, M.D., Ph.D.

Karolina Palucka is an expert in cancer immunotherapy and how vaccines effect immune function. Dr. Palucka is Professor of Immunology at the Jackson Laboratory. Her lab specializes in human immunology and is focused on experimental immunotherapy. Her group pioneered the development of dendritic cell-based vaccines for patients with cancer or HIV.  Dr. Palucka served as the director of the Ralph M. Steinman Center for Cancer Vaccines and was the Michael A.E. Ramsay Chair for Cancer Immunology Research at the Baylor Institute for Immunology Research in Dallas, TX.

Hidde Ploegh, Ph.D.

Hidde Ploegh is a member of the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. Previously, Ploegh was a Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. Dr. Ploegh is recognized for his contributions to molecular immunology and has published more than 400 papers, and is also the recipient of numerous awards. His laboratory has played a key role in developing sortase-based strategies for protein modification, and its use to modify sdAbs for use as reagents, diagnostics, and therapeutics. Dr. Ploegh is a correspondent of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences and a member of EMBO, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Leiden under Jack Strominger and is best known for his contribution to the understanding of antigen processing and immune evasion.