Ira Mellman came to Genentech in the Spring of 2007 as Vice President of Research Oncology, after more than 20 years as a faculty member at the Yale University School of Medicine, where he was chair of his department (Cell Biology), a member of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Scientific Director of the Yale Cancer Center, and Sterling Professor of Cell Biology and Immunobiology. Dr. Mellman has a BA from Oberlin College & Conservatory, a PhD in Genetics from Yale, and performed postdoctoral work at the Rockefeller University with Ralph Steinman and Zanvil Cohn. Dr. Mellman’s laboratory is known not only for advances in fundamental cell biology particularly in the area of membrane traffic (including the discovery of “endosomes”) but also for applying these insights to understanding the cellular basis of the immune response, especially dendritic cell function. While at Yale, these interests led to his having founded CGI Pharma, which was recently purchased by Gilead. Ira ran all of oncology research at Genentech until the end of 2013 when he decided to concentrate his efforts on the rapidly developing area of cancer immunotherapy and became Vice President of Cancer Immunology, building a new discovery and development organization to support this effort, which already accounts for greater than 50% of Genentech’s oncology portfolio. A key feature of this effort is an unprecedented degree of integration between basic and clinical science to drive target validation, biomarker discovery, and patient selection. Ira is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the European Molecular Biology Organization, and the former Editor in Chief of the Journal of Cell Biology. He has also served on the editorial boards of Cell, the Journal of Experimental Medicine, EMBO Journal, among others. He is an elected member of the boards of the Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer, the American Society for Cell Biology, and the Cancer Research Institute. He remains a somewhat frustrated composer and songwriter, and has recorded two CDs in the little-known genre of “bio-rock”.
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