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Our Team

F. Raymond Salemme, PhD

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Structure-Based Drug Design

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Ray Salemme, PhD is the President and founder of Imiplex. He a scientist-entrepreneur with over 40 years experience in academia, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical drug discovery. He has been a pioneer in the development and application of structural biology, biophysics, and computational methods for protein engineering and drug discovery. Dr. Salemme is an author of over 100 publications in structural biology and biophysics, and an inventor on 41 Issued US Patents, including nanotechnology, computational methods for drug discovery, engineered protein compositions of matter, and methods and instrumentation for high throughput screening and protein characterization using thermodynamic methods.
Dr. Salemme obtained a BA in Molecular Biophysics at Yale, where he worked with F.M. Richards, a US pioneer in X-ray crystallography for 3D protein structure determination. Subsequently, Dr. Salemme obtained a PhD with Joseph Kraut at UCSD, where he determined one of the first X-ray protein structures at atomic resolution and characterized the structural determinants for electron transport in heme proteins. Dr. Salemme joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Arizona in 1973, where he determined the X-ray structure of photosynthetic electron transfer proteins and developed the theoretical basis for the recurrence of stable structural motifs like twisted beta sheets and alpha helical bundles in proteins.
Following a sabbatical year at Yale in 1982, where Dr. Salemme was exposed to early developments in recombinant DNA technology, he left his position as a tenured full professor at UofA to join Genex, one of the first biotechnology companies, where he established its Protein Engineering Division. At Genex, he pioneered the use of multiwire proportional counters for high throughput X-ray data collection. Following Genex, Dr. Salemme joined DuPont Central Research and Development in Wilmington, DE, and built a multidisciplinary group specializing in X-ray diffraction analysis and computational modeling of polymers and proteins, as well as structure-based drug design for DuPont Merck Pharmaceuticals. Following DuPont, he established a structural biology and computational chemistry department at Sterling Winthrop Pharmaceuticals.
In 1993 Dr. Salemme founded 3-Dimensional Pharmaceuticals, a venture-backed biotechnology company that integrated structure-based drug design and combinatorial chemistry using a comprehensive computational framework for discovery process control. At 3DP, he developed and commercialized Thermofluor (aka DSF or thermal shift assay), a technology now widely used for label-free, high-throughput drug screening and protein characterization. 3DP went public on NASDAQ in 2000, and was ultimately acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2003. Subsequently Dr. Salemme served as CEO and built the discovery platform at Redpoint Bio, a company developing compounds that modulate chemoreceptors for nutritional applications and diabetes control. Throughout his career, Dr. Salemme has served on numerous federal review and policy panels for the life sciences, as well as the NIST Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology.
John L. Kulp, PhD

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Fragment-Based Drug Design

John L Kulp III, PhD, is Chief Technical Officer and the most recent addition to the Imiplex team. John brings the company broad technical and business expertise based on over 9 years experience in academia, federal research labs and biotechnology startups. His technical experience encompasses both experimental and computational methods of protein structural biophysics and drug research, including protein structure determination using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), computational methods for protein structural analysis, synthetic peptide chemistry, and computer-aided drug design with a specialty focus on fragment-based computational methods. John holds a BA in Chemistry from Drew University, and a PhD in Chemistry from NYU where his thesis used NMR methods to characterize chemically modified α-helical peptides for development as a new class of drug molecules. At NYU, John was the recipient of the McCracken and Kramer Fellowships awarded to outstanding PhD candidates in Chemistry.
Subsequently John carried out postdoctoral studies at the US Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC where he developed peptide nanopores as stochastic sensing elements and patented a new class of β-helical peptide architectures. Following completion of his postdoctoral work, John worked as federal staff research scientist where developed a computational methods to study biomolecular interactions at interfaces. Following work at the Naval Research Laboratory, John held the position of Senior Scientist at BioLeap Inc, a drug discovery company using computational fragment superposition and quantum chemistry methods for drug lead generation. Work performed at BioLeap lead to several successful industry collaborations and investigational compounds. John most recently founded Conifer Point Pharmaceuticals LLC, a company that provides computational design support for biotechnology companies and NIH SBIR grants on diverse translational drug discovery programs. John has 19 peer-reviewed publications and filed patents covering areas that include NMR structure determination of proteins, design of constrained peptides for drug and biosensor applications, and computational methods for drug design.
Patricia C. Weber, PhD

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HCV Drug Discovery

Patricia C. Weber, PhD is Chief Scientific Officer and Imiplex co-founder. Dr. Weber’s career spans over 30 years in academia, biotechnology and drug discovery. Dr. Weber received her BS in Chemistry from the University of Montana and her PhD in Chemistry from the University of Arizona. Originally trained as a protein X-ray crystallographer, Dr. Weber carried out postdoctoral studies of DNA-binding proteins with Nobel laureate Thomas Steitz at Yale University. Subsequently Dr. Weber embarked on a career in biotechnology and drug discovery, including senior positions at Dupont Merck Pharmaceuticals and Schering Plough Research Institute where she established and supervised multidisciplinary groups for structure-based drug design, and contributed to numerous discovery programs that produced clinical drug candidates, including antithrombotic agents, antivirals for HIV and Hepatitis C, and BACE inhibitors for Alzheimer’s disease, among others. Subsequently, Dr. Weber worked as Chief Scientific and Business Development Officer of ExSar Corp, a biotechnology company using hydrogen-deuterium exchange (Hx/Dx) coupled with mass spectrometry to characterize protein stability and ligand binding. Her management and technical experience spans protein production and purification, biophysical characterization of proteins using DSC and spectroscopic methods, enzymology, protein mass spectroscopy, protein structure determination using NMR spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography, and structure-based drug design using computational and molecular modeling methods.
Dr. Weber is a contributing member of the Faculty of 1000, has been active in numerous NIH review and private foundation advisory roles, and has also served as an industrial mentor for the NSF iCORPS Program. Dr. Weber is an author on over 100 published papers, and an inventor on 20 US patents covering drug discovery methods, engineered proteins for nanotechnology applications and compounds developed using structure-based drug design.
Mark Rould, PhD
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tRNA-tRNA Synthetase Complex

Mark Rould, PhD is Research Professor and Director of the Center for X-ray Crystallography at the University of Vermont. Mark assists the Imiplex team through the development of custom software for engineering nanostructures and through the structure determination of engineered components using X-ray crystallography. Mark graduated summa cum laude from the University of Arizona. He received his PhD in 1991 from Yale University, solving the first crystal structure of an aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase bound to its cognate tRNA, in the laboratory of Prof. T.A. Steitz. Following completion of his PhD, Mark worked with Professor Carl Pabo at MIT, where he participated in the crystallographic determination of more than a dozen macromolecular structures, primarily protein-DNA complexes. Mark joined UVM in 1998.
Dennis Sprous, PhD
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Molecular Field Computation

Dennis Sprous, PhD is a computational chemist with diverse experience ranging from quantum mechanics, to molecular dynamics, structure-based drug design, and cheminformatics. Dr. Sprous works as part of the Imiplex protein engineering team in the development of new codes and the application of computational tools for the design and development of engineered nanostructures. Dr. Sprous has a BS in Chemistry from Tennessee Tech, and a PhD in Chemistry from UAB, where he worked with Steve Harvey on DNA molecular dynamics simulations. Following UAB, Dr. Sprous worked with David Beverage at Wesleyan where he continued DNA MD studies and developed Generalized Born continuum solvation models to improve simulation fidelity. Subsequently, Dr. Sprous spent several years as a software developer for Tripos, where he participated in the development of several core computational tools for structure-based drug design and cheminformatics. Most recently, Dr. Sprous has developed a consulting business for computational chemistry and structure-based drug design.
Frank Ruffo CPA
Frank Ruffo CPA is Chief Financialo Officer of Imiplex. Frank has over 20 years of management experience in medical device, biotech and specialty pharmaceutical companies, ranging from early stage startups through fully integrated operations. Frank is a specialist in start-up biotechnology operations. Mr. Ruffo works part time for Imiplex and additional biotech startups in the greater Philadelphia area, including BioLeap Inc. and Vicept Therapeutics.
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