John Williams, PhD

Dr. Williams graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Chemistry.  He obtained his PhD, again in Chemistry, at Columbia University under the direction of Dr. Ann McDermott using solid state NMR to measure protein dynamics.  Subsequently, he went to EMBL Heidelberg as a Alexander von Humboldt fellow, learning protein crystallography from Dr. Rik Wierenga, solving the Src kinase structure in the process.  He returned to NYC, joining Dr. Wayne Hendrickson’s lab as a Leukemia and Lymphoma Special Fellow where he continued to study protein kinases  and dynein motor proteins.  He took his first position at Thomas Jefferson University where he turned his attention to protein engineering and antibody design.  In 2008, he joined the Beckman Research Institute at City of Hope. His research program primarily focuses on structural and biophysical methods to identify sources of energy additivity and multivalency in macromolecular complexes and use these properties to develop new tools and novel therapeutics. Based on an ‘atoms-up’ approach, he and his research team have developed chemically-induced molecular traps; tumor-activated, masked antibodies, BIONICs, and new monoclonal antibody (mAb) technology called meditopes.  Some of these technologies have been licensed out and are making their way to the clinic, including a masked CTLA4 mAb which is now part of Xilio Therapeutics (NASDAQ: XLO – whom are running three clinical phase 1/2 trials).   Dr. Williams is working closely with the T1D team at City of Hope with the goal of generating novel therapeutics to treat T1D.