About the Research Team
Earl White, Ph.D.
Director of Research and Development/Quality Laboratories
Prior to Joining Caliber, Dr. White founded MDx BioAnalytical Laboratory, a molecular diagnostics company employing algorithms for identifying biomarkers in many diseases including autoimmune diseases such as Sjögren’s Syndrome (SjS), Alzheimer’s disease and oncology diseases. Dr. White previously served as Vice President of Advanced Analytical Sciences for Large Scale Biology Corporation (LSBC), where he established the Analytical Center of Excellence, directed the advanced analytical resources and served as Director of Quality Control for the Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer vaccines program. Prior to joining LSBC, Dr. White was Senior Staff Scientist and Head of the Mass Spectrometry Group for the Research and Development Department of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Dr. White retired from 30 years of service in the U.S. Army Reserve in April 2009, as a lieutenant colonel. He served in various positions including Senior Analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency and was a member of the Emergency Medical Response to Weapons of Mass Destruction team for the 2nd Medical Brigade in San Pueblo, California.
Dr. White received his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Chemistry from Jackson State University. He received his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he specialized in mass spectrometry.
Sylvain Marcel, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist, Molecular Biology
Dr. Sylvain Marcel is responsible for the generation and optimization of plant expression vectors and plant infiltration procedures. Since 2001, Dr Marcel has worked in various laboratories in England, Germany, Switzerland and the U.S., where he has acquired experience in plant genetic engineering, cellular imaging, and gene expression analysis. His passion for genetic engineering and the use of plants as bioreactors led him to complete a Ph.D. in Molecular Farming in Professor Rainer Fischer’s group at the RWTH Aachen, Germany, in 2005. During his doctoral studies, he advanced the understanding of cellular deposition and N-glycosylation of a fungal recombinant protein produced in different plant expression systems. Dr. Marcel has authored several scientific publications in international peer-reviewed journals in the field of plant-based recombinant protein production.
Shawn Guojun Nie, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist, Process Development
Dr. Nie is responsible for process development and manufacturing in Caliber Biotherapeutics’ product development and manufacturing laboratory. He has over 11 years of experiences in process development and production in the biopharmaceutical industry. His areas of expertise include harvest, purification, scale up, and technology transfer to CMOs and clinical manufacturing, analytical characterization, and formulation. Dr. Nie has successfully purified many novel and challenging recombinant proteins, monoclonal antibodies, and virus from mammalian cell culture, bacteria, and transiently-modified plants. He has extensive experience in working with CMOs and Clinical Manufacturing and served as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) during CMO manufacturing. Prior to joining Caliber Biotherapeutics, Dr. Nie served as head of Downstream Process Development at GenVec and directed the purification process development and technology transfer to domestic and international CMO for cGMP production of virus drugs and vaccine candidates for use in Phase I through Phase III clinical trial. Dr. Nie also wroked at Human Genome Sciences and Baxter BioScience as a downstream scientist to develop purification processes for monoclonal anitbodies and proteins followed by technology transfer to in-house Clinical Manufacturing to produce drug candidates for clinical use. Dr. Nie has authored over a dozen peer-reviewed papers and solved many challenging scientific and tecnnology issues in his career. Dr. Nie received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Utah State University. He was a Postdoctor fellow researcher at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Vally Kommineni, PhD.
Scientist, Molecular Biology
Dr. Kommineni has over 13 years of experience in molecular biotechnology, with particular specialties in the designing vectors and expression analysis in cell based systems. Prior to joining Caliber Biotherapeutics, Dr. Kommineni, served as an Assistant Research Scientist, in Molecular Genetics & Biotechnology Laboratory, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX. She has experience in designing recombinant fusion proteins to achieve site-specific integration of genes in mammalian genome, codon optimization, gene expression analysis, gene targeting with zinc-finger nuclease technology and assay development in both in vitro and in vivo conditions. Prior to that position, Dr. Kommineni worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate and CSIR Pool Officer in the Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India, where her work focused on the development and expression of therapeutic proteins in plants. She completed her PhD from University of Hyderabad, India, where she acquired extensive experience in protein purifications, characterization and in vivo and in vitro translations. Dr Kommineni has several peer-reviewed scientific publications.
Don C. Wilkerson, Ph.D.
Dr. Wilkerson is responsible for leading Caliber’s plant production team. Prior to this position, Dr. Wilkerson served for 28 years as a Professor in the Department of Horticultural Sciences at Texas A&M University – College Station. While at TAMU-CS, Dr. Wilkerson worked in the areas of greenhouse crop production, plant nutrition and water management. He also worked closely with commercial nursery and greenhouse crop producers throughout the US, assisting with problem diagnosis and management strategies. This background has largely contributed to the successful development of the innovative vertical farming techniques used in Caliber’s plant-made pharmaceuticals operation.
Dr. Wilkerson received his Bachelor’s degree in Plant Science from Arkansas State University, Master’s in Horticulture from the University of Arkansas and Ph.D. in Horticulture from Louisiana State University.