Senda Biosciences Announces Formation of World-Class Scientific Advisory Board

Senda Biosciences

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 7, 2021 /​PRNewswire/​— Senda Biosciences, a Flagship Pioneering company creating novel categories of medicines based on Programmable Medicines, today announced the formation of its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). Senda’s SAB is composed of leading experts across immunology, microbiology, biochemistry, and neurology, and will collaborate with Senda’s leadership to support and advance the new research discipline of Programmable Medicines. This discipline focuses on how molecular connections among botanical, bacterial, and human cells—coevolved over millennia—define health and disease.

We are thrilled to have attracted some of the brightest minds in their fields to our SAB,” says Guillaume Pfefer, PhD, chief executive officer of Senda. The deep expertise of the SAB will be pivotal to the advancement of our novel approach to medicines development, rooted in an unparalleled understanding of interspecies molecular connections. This distinguished group will contribute invaluable guidance to Senda as we continue to pursue new ways to harness the power of the pharmacy within us’ to treat some of society’s most intractable diseases and help patients in need.” Professor Luke O’Neill, PhD, chair of biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin and member of Senda’s Board of Directors, says, The science being pursued by Senda is unique and represents the next frontier in the understanding of human biology. Senda’s Intersystems BIology platform has applications in a wide variety of therapeutic areas and holds the potential to transform the lives of patients. The members of the SAB are recognized leaders in their respective fields, and their diversity and scientific excellence will be an invaluable resource for Senda as its first programs approach the clinic.”

Backgrounds of Scientific Advisory Board Members

Wendy S. Garrett, MD, PhD
Dr. Wendy Garrett is the Irene Heinz Given Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases and co-director of the Harvard Chan Center for the Microbiome in Public Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Garrett is also a medical oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Garrett’s research focuses on the interplay between the immune system and the gut microbiota in health, inflammatory bowel disease, and colorectal cancer. Dr. Garrett has identified specific species, pathways, and metabolites produced by the microbiota that influence health and disease states.

Roger Innes, PhD
Dr. Roger Innes holds the Class of 1954 Professorship in Biology at Indiana University Bloomington and directs IUB’s Electron Microscopy Center. He received his PhD in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology at the University of Colorado Boulder and completed postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley. He is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Microbiology, and is currently president-elect of the International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. Dr. Innes’ research focuses on the immune system in plants, with a particular interest in how plants detect pathogens and how they translate detection into an active immune response. The Innes laboratory has developed genetic-based methods to enhance disease resistance in crop plants and thus significantly reduce farmer reliance on pesticides, while increasing yields.

Steve Jacobsen, PhD
Dr. Steve Jacobsen is a professor in the Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. His training is in plant genetics, physiology, and development, and his lab has been instrumental in defining the mechanism of action of several gene- silencing pathways in plants and animals. Dr. Jacobsen is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Sciences. He earned his PhD at the University of Minnesota and did postdoctoral work at the California Institute of Technology.

Vijay Kuchroo, DVM, PhD
Dr. Vijay Kuchroo is the Samuel L. Wasserstrom Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School; senior scientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; co-director of the Center for Infection and Immunity, Brigham Research Institutes; an Institute member of the Broad Institute; and senior investigator, Klarman Cell Observatory, since its inception. He is also the director of the Evergrande Center for Immunologic Diseases at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Kuchroo’s major research interests include autoimmune diseases, particularly the role of co-stimulation, the genetic basis of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and multiple sclerosis, and cell surface molecules and regulatory factors that regulate induction of T‑cell tolerance and dysfunction.

Luke O’Neill, PhD
Dr. Luke O’Neill is the chair of biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin and leads the college’s Inflammation Research Group. He has a PhD in pharmacology from the University of London and carried out postdoctoral research at the University of Cambridge, in the U.K. His research is in the area of the molecular basis of inflammation, with a focus on innate immunity, toll-like receptors, inflammasomes, and metabolic reprogramming in macrophage activation. In 2018, he was named by Clarivate / Thompson Reuters as one of the world’s most influential scientists, being in the top 1% in immunology. Dr. O’Neill has won numerous awards for his research, including the European Federation of Immunology Societies medal, the International Cytokine and Interferon Society Milstein Award, the Royal Dublin Society Boyle Medal for Scientific Excellence, and the Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal for Life Sciences. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 2016 and also recently published a best-selling popular-science book, Humanology: A Scientist’s Guide to Our Amazing Existence.

Randy Schekman, PhD
Dr. Randy Schekman is a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. As a graduate student he studied the enzymology of DNA replication with Arthur Kornberg at Stanford University. His current interest is in cellular membranes, which he developed during a postdoctoral period with S.J. Singer at the University of California San Diego. He has won many awards, including the Gairdner International Award, the Albert Lasker Award in Basic Medical Research, and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which he shared with James Rothman and Thomas Südhof. Dr. Schekman served as the editor of the Annual Reviews of Cell and Developmental Biology and as editor-in-chief of eLife and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Schekman leads an effort with major philanthropic support to identify and fund basic research on the mechanisms of the initiation and progression of Parkinson’s disease.

Ramnik Xavier, MD, PhD
Dr. Ramnik Xavier is a core member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, the Kurt Isselbacher Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, co-director of MIT’s Center for Microbiome Informatics and Therapeutics, the director of the Center for Computational and Integrative Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and the director of the Klarman Cell Observatory at the Broad Institute. As a clinical gastroen­terol­o­gist and molecular biologist, Dr. Xavier studies the molecular mechanisms involved in innate and adaptive immunity as well as the genetic variants associated with autoimmunity.

About Senda Biosciences
Senda Biosciences is pioneering the field of Programmable Medicines to create novel treatments for human disease. Programmable Medicines focuses on how molecular connections among botanical, bacterial, and human cells—coevolved over millennia—define health and disease. Senda’s Programmable Medicines discovery platform, built using new techniques in machine learning and computational biology, has been able to generate novel, actionable insights into the trillions of interspecies molecular connections in the human body, and it harnesses the power of this pharmacy within us” with novel pharmacological approaches. The power of the Senda platform is illustrated by six preclinical programs in oncology, neurology, chronic disease, and metabolic disease. Senda was founded by the life sciences platform company Flagship Pioneering. To learn more, please visit the company’s website at