Agilent Thought Leader Program

This invitational program promotes fundamental scientific advancements by contributing financial support, products and expertise to the research of influential thought leaders in the life sciences, diagnostics, and chemical analysis.



Thought Leader Award Recipients:

Dr. Ram Sasisekharan

Dr. Ram Sasisekharan
Alfred H. Caspary Professor of Biological Engineering and Health Sciences & Technology
Massachusetts Institute of technology
Cambridge, MA

Awarded in April 2017

Dr. Sasisekharan has been a professor of biological engineering at MIT since 1996, and has served as the director of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology from 2008-2012. The Sasisekharan lab employs multidisciplinary strategies to develop and integrate orthogonal analytical technologies to further research into complex biopharmaceuticals. The lab originated its efforts with GAGs (such as heparin) to develop analytical and enzymatic tools with the pertinent and defined substrate-product profiles required to understand their structure-function relationships. Timely development and characterization of therapeutic mAb to treat infectious diseases and cancer are currently of paramount interest to his lab. Dr. Sasisekharan has been recognized by numerous accolades and awards, and his ideas and concepts have been the founding basis of many biotechnology companies. (press release)

Dr. Dwight R. Stoll

Dr. Dwight R. Stoll
Associate Professor of Analytical Chemistry
Co-chair of the Chemistry Department
Gustavus Adolphus College
Saint Peter, Minnesota

Awarded in March 2017

Dr. Stoll is widely recognized for his efforts and contributions to analytical chemistry and separation sciences. His active research projects include the development of rapid multidimensional liquid chromatography for targeted and untargeted analysis in complex matrices and optimization of isocratic and gradient elution HPLC. He has pioneered the development of 2D-HPLC and its applications in BioPharma.

Dr. Stoll has received numerous awards and recognitions including the John B. Phillips Award for contributions to multidimensional gas chromatography, the LCGC’s Emerging Leader in Chromatography Award. In 2014 he was named to The Analytical Scientist’s list of ‘Top 40 Under 40’ analytical scientists and received the American Chemical Society Division of Analytical Chemistry Award for Young Investigators in Separation Science in 2015. In 2016 he received the Palmer Award from the Minnesota Chromatography Forum and the Gustavus Faculty Scholarly Achievement. Earlier this year he received the Eastern Analytical Symposium Young Investigator Award. (press release)

Dr. Shane A. Snyder

Dr. Shane A. Snyder
Professor - Chemical and Environmental Engineering
Co-Director of the Arizona Laboratory for Emerging Contaminants (ALEC) and the Water & Energy Sustainable Technology (WEST) Center
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ

Awarded in October 2016

Dr. Snyder is widely recognized for his efforts and contributions to the analysis and management of water pollutants. His research focuses on the development and application of methodologies to identify and quantify known and unknown environmental contaminants using a wide-array of state of the art analytical instrumentation. Likewise, his work includes use of in vitro bioassays to analyze toxicological effects of water contaminants. Additionally, Dr. Snyder's engineering research focuses on the development of water treatment technologies that minimize energy consumption and maximize water quality.

Dr. Snyder is Co-Editor in Chief of the international journal Chemosphere and was selected as fellow of the International Water Association in 2016 for his work combating water challenges worldwide. (press release)

Dr. Rohit Bhargava

Dr. Rohit Bhargava
Founder Professor of Engineering and Chemistry | Director, Cancer Center at Illinois
Depts. of Bioengineering, Electrical & Computer Sciences, Mechanical Science & Engineering, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Urbana, IL

Awarded in October 2016

Dr. Bhargava is widely recognized for his pioneering role on the development of infrared spectroscopic imaging. His work has included the development of novel theory and modeling of infrared imaging and its use for spectral analysis, the development of instrumentation and of computational methods to extract high-fidelity information to enable challenging studies to be conducted. His work has focused on the applications of spectroscopic imaging to biomedical sciences, especially on cancer biology and clinical applications by research case studies. Instruments developed in his laboratory have been used to provide new means to characterize and define cancer using chemical imaging. (press release)

Dr. Scott W. Lowe

Dr. Scott W. Lowe
Chair, Cancer Biology & Genetics Program, Sloan Kettering Institute
Chair, Geoffrey Beene Cancer Research Center
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, NY

Awarded in August 2016

Dr. Lowe studies have contributed to the understanding of several important tumor suppressor genes, including p53, APC and PTEN. Likewise, he has built numerous genetic screens and animal models that have played important roles in the identification and characterization of new drug targets, as well as in identifying vulnerabilities of cancer cells that might be susceptible to new therapies. Some of these screens and animal models have made extensive use of shRNAi libraries. More recently, Dr. Lowe has adopted the CRISPR/Cas 9 to further exploit the benefits of this technology to advance our understanding and management of cancer. (press release)

Dr. Peter Robinson

Dr. Peter Robinson
Professor of Computational Biology
The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine
Farmington, CT

Awarded in February 2016

Dr. Robinson is well known for the development of the Human Phenotype Ontology, a standardized vocabulary of phenotypic abnormalities encountered in human disease, and he has created methods to identify a number of novel disease genes. Dr. Robinson studied mathematics and computer science at Columbia University and medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He completed training as a pediatrician at the Free University of Berlin and Charité University Hospital. (press release)

Dr. Shilin Chen

Dr. Shilin Chen 
Director, Institute of Chinese Materia Medica,
China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences
Beijing, China

Awarded in February 2016

Dr. Chen is the Director of the Institute of Chinese Materia Medica at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences in Beijing. His work on the field of medicinal chemistry of natural products, associated with the determination of the active ingredient of traditional Chinese medicines and the identification of their mechanism of action, is well recognized. This includes but is not limited to the family of antimalarial drugs such as artemisinin. Likewise, Dr. Chen has pioneered the use of genomic approaches, such as NGS sequencing and DNA barcoding for identification of medicinal plant species. (press release)

Dr. Jeffrey I. Gordon

Dr. Jeffrey I. Gordon 
The Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor and
Director of the Center for Genome Sciences & Systems Biology
Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis, MO

Awarded in October 2015

Dr. Gordon is recognized internationally as a pioneer and leader of the Microbiome research field. His efforts, including the influential 2005 NHGRI white-paper entitled "Extending Our View of  Self: the Human Gut Microbiome Initiative (HGMI)" lead to the creation of the NIH "Human Microbiome Project Roadmap for Medical Research" funding initiative in 2007. Dr. Gordon's research is focused on understanding the mutualistic interactions that occur between humans and the trillions of commensal microbes that colonize each person’s gastrointestinal tract. His research employs germ-free mice as model hosts as well as metagenomics, metabolomics, microbiology, biochemistry and nutritional sciences to study the composition of the human gut microbiome and their roles and  consequences for human health and development. Of particular interest to him and his group are areas related to malnutrition, obesity as well as to neuro and  immune modulation and development. (press release)

Dr. Lawrence J. Lesko

Dr. Lawrence J. Lesko 
Department of Pharmaceutics
College of Pharmacy
University of Florida,
Orlando, Florida

Awarded in March 2015

Dr. Lesko directs the Center for Pharmacometrics and Systems Pharmacology at University of Florida’s College of Pharmacy in Lake Nona. Before joining UF, Dr. Lesko worked nearly 20 years in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research as the Director of the Office of Clinical Pharmacology.  He was also Chair of the Clinical Pharmacology Coordinating Subcommittee of the FDA’s Medical Policy Coordinating Committee and authored or co-authored numerous Guidance for Industry, and started the FDA’s Voluntary Genomics Data Submission Program and Mechanistic Drug Safety Program. (press release)

Dr. Arturo A. Keller

Dr. Arturo A. Keller
Department of Environmental Biogeochemistry
Bren School
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA

Awarded March 2015

Dr. Arturo Keller directs the Center for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology at UCSB. He has earned international recognition for his research into the uptake, accumulation and biotransformation of nanoparticles in natural waters and soil. A particular interest of his research is focused on the analysis of nanoparticles for its safe and sustainable introduction by the agro industry. (press release)

Dr. Jules Griffin

Dr. Jules Griffin
Department of Biochemistry
University of Cambridge
United Kingdom

Awarded: September 2014

Dr. Jules Griffin is an Honorary Professor at Imperial College London, a Fellow of King's College and  Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge. He also heads the MRC Lipid Profiling and Signalling program. His work focusses on the use of high resolution mass spectrometry to measure lipids in biofluids and tissue extracts in order to better understand the causes and consequences of type 2 diabetes and obesity (collectively referred to sometimes as the Metabolic Syndrome) and developing computer software tools for storing and processing the large quantity of data produced by these experiments. (press release)

Dr. Cordon-Cardo

Dr. Carlos Cordon-Cardo
The Irene Heinz Given and John LaPorte Given Professor
and Chair of Pathology for the Mount Sinai Health System
Dept. of Pathology
The Mount Sinai Hospital
New York, NY

Awarded: August 2014

Dr. Cordon-Cardo is a distinguished clinician and researcher recognized internationally for his groundbreaking research in experimental pathology and molecular oncology. His research has focused on the analyses of multidrug resistance, alteration of tumor suppression genes in human cancer and on the isolation and characterization of human cancer stem cells. He has also contributed to the development and implementation of the oncology molecular pathology discipline and helped create the "systems pathology platform. (press release)

Dr. Carolyn Mountford

Dr. Carolyn Mountford
Centre for MR in Health
School of Health Sciences
Faculty of Health and Medicine
University of Newcastle
Australia

Awarded: April 2013

Dr. Mountford is a professor of radiology at The University of Newcastle Australia School of Health Sciences, and Harvard Medical School. She is the director of Newcastle's Magnetic Resonance Centre for Clinical Research and director of the Center for Clinical Spectroscopy at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Dr. Mountford is known for her innovative work using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy technology in cancer research. (press release)

Dr. John Rabinowitz

Dr. John A. McLean
Stevenson Professor
Department of Chemistry
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN

Awarded: March 2014

In Vanderbilt's Department of Chemistry, Prof. McLean and colleagues focus on the conceptualization, design, and construction of structural mass spectrometers, specifically targeting complex samples in systems, synthetic, and chemical biology as well as nanotechnology. His group applies these strategies to forefront translational research areas in drug discovery, personalized medicine, and 'human-on-chip' synthetic biology platforms. (press release)

Dr. Joshua D. Rabinowitz

Dr. Joshua D. Rabinowitz
Professor of Chemistry and Integrative Genomics
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ

Awarded: October 2013

Dr. Rabinowitz has made seminal conceptual and methodological contributions to the metabolomics field. These include the development of isotopic labeling, sample preparation, data analysis, and information visualization techniques for liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry data. (press release)

Dr. Paul B. Watkins

Dr. Paul B. Watkins
Professor of Medicine, Toxicology, and Experimental Therapeutics
Director, Institute for Drug Safety Sciences
The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences
Research Triangle Park, NC

Awarded: October 2013

Paul B. Watkins, M.D., is the Professor of Medicine, Professor of Toxicology, and Professor of Experimental Therapeutics at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), and serves as Director of the Institute for Drug Safety Sciences. As an internationally recognized expert in drug safety, Dr. Watkins has extensive research experience in drug-induced liver injury (DILI), which includes basic investigation in drug metabolism and transport, clinical studies, causation assessment, and regulatory affairs. (press release)

Dr. Junying Yuan

Dr. Junying Yuan
Director of the Interdisciplinary Research Center on Biology
Chinese Academy of Science
Shanghai, China

Awarded: November 2013

Dr. Junying Yuan is a pioneer and leading researcher in the field of cell death. The Agilent Thought Leader award will support metabolomics and integrated biology efforts for the identification of neurodegenerative diseases biomarkers at the Chinese Academy of Science's newly established Interdisciplinary Research Center on Biology and Chemistry. (press release)

Dr. Guibin Jiang

Dr. Guibin Jiang
Director of State Key Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Haidian District,
Beijing, China

Awarded: October 2013

Dr. Jiang's research is mainly focused on analytical chemistry and environmental chemistry. His methodical and comprehensive research has resulted in significant achievements on analytical development and environmental characterization of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and the speciation of organometallic compounds, which have contributed to the improvement and internationalization of these scientific fields in China. (press release)

Dr. Emmanuel Barillot

Dr. Emmanuel Barillot
Director of Bioinformatics and Systems IT
Institut Curie
Paris, France

Awarded: August 2013

Dr. Barillot's area of work is in the development of a database of cellular signaling pathways and a visualization tool to help the pharmaceutical industry develop more effective cancer treatments. (press release)

Dr. Hashim Al-Hashimi

Dr. Hashim Al-Hashimi
J. Lawrence Oncley Collegiate Professor of Chemistry and Biophysics
Dept. of Chemistry and Biophysics
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI

Awarded: March 2013

Dr. Hashim Al-Hashimi is an influential researcher in the realm of structural biology. Dr. Al-Hashimi and his team at the University of Michigan are developing advanced methods to characterize Hoogsteen base pairs — a rare form of DNA that is structurally distinct from the typical double helix — using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Hoogsteen base pairs, named after biochemist Karst Hoogsteen, are of particular interest because of their unusual structure and biological functions. Dr. Al-Hashimi and his team believe their research could lead to significant advances in DNA-targeted drug discovery and other applications. (press release)

Dr. Ronald DePinho

Ronald DePinho, M.D.
President, MD Anderson Cancer Center
University of Texas
Houston, TX

Awarded: December 2012

Dr. Ronald A. DePinho, a world-renowned oncologist and researcher, has received an Agilent Thought Leader Award in support of his research into metabolic reprogramming in the earliest stages of cancer. He is internationally recognized for basic and translational research in cancer, aging and age-associated degenerative disorders. He is only the fourth full-time president in the 70-year history of MD Anderson. (press release)

Dr. Robert E. Gerszten

Robert Gerszten, M.D.
Director of Clinical and Translational Research
Institute for Heart, Vascular and Stroke Care
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA

Awarded: November 2012

Dr. Robert E. Gerszten received an Agilent Thought Leader award in support of his research on the discovery of metabolite biomarkers for cardiovascular and related metabolic diseases. Dr Gerszten has pioneered the use of proteomics and metabolomics approaches to identify biomarkers of these diseases using the Framingham heart study cohort. (press release)

Dr. Jens Frisvad

Dr. Jens Frisvad
Professor, Department of Systems Biology
Center for Microbial Biotechnology
Technical University of Denmark
Lyngby, Denmark

Awarded: May 2012

Prof. Frisvad's research is primarily in the area of fungi. His work focuses on the biochemical diversity in molds with a view to finding new enzymes and secondary metabolites which can be used in new drugs. In addition, he works on projects involving the study of mycotoxins and molds from Penicillium and Aspergillus, in an effort to prevent toxin-formation in food, indoor climates, and biotechnological products. (press release)

Dr. Russell Thomas

Dr. Russell Thomas
Senior Investigator
Director, Institute for Chemical Safety Sciences
Director, Center for Genomic Biology and Bioinformatics
Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences

Awarded: December 2011

Russell S. Thomas, Ph.D., of the Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences has been selected for an Agilent Thought Leader Award to support his work developing methods to predict drug-induced liver injury. The award includes funding from the Agilent Technologies Foundation as well as instrumentation from the company, including a 6460 triple quadrupole LC/MS and an Agilent microarray scanner. Dr. Thomas is director of the Institute for Chemical Safety Sciences at the Hamner, where researchers are applying a systems biology approach in an effort to predict drug-induced liver injury. (press release)

Dr. Chris Evelo

Dr. Chris Evelo
Department Head, Bioinformatics BiGCaT
Maastricht University
Maastricht, Netherlands

Awarded: November 2011

Dr. Chris Evelo at the department of bioinformatics at Maastricht University is the recipient of an Agilent Thought Leader Award supporting development of software to integrate different types of biological data. The goal of this award is to help accelerate breakthroughs in disease research by facilitating integrative systems biology approaches. The Evelo Lab helped develop WikiPathways.org as a community-curated platform for structuring multi-omics data and the associated open-access pathway analysis tool PathVisio. (press release)

Dr. Steven Carr

Dr. Steven Carr
Senior Scientific Leader, Protein Biochemistry and Proteomics
Broad Institute
Cambridge, MA

Awarded: October 2011

Dr. Steven Carr of the Broad Institute (affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University) has been selected for an Agilent Thought Leader Award. The award will support Carrs efforts to develop new technologies for analyzing proteins and peptides, intended to help doctors diagnose illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. (press release)

Prof. Gerhard Wagner

Dr. Gerhard Wagner
Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA

Awarded: August 2011

Dr. Gerhard Wagner of the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School received an Agilent Thought Leader award in support of his effort to develop methods for studying biologically relevant systems that pose a serious challenge for modern structural biology tools. Prof. Wagner's work will greatly enhance the impact of NMR spectroscopy for large protein assignment and structure determination by matching the capabilities of modern high-field instruments with suitable acquisition and processing methods. (press release)

Dr. Adam Arkin

Dr. Adam Arkin
Director, Synthetic Biology Institute
Dean A. Richard Newton Memorial Professor,
Department of Bioengineering
University of California, Berkeley
Director, Physical Biosciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

Awarded: April 2011

Adam Arkin, director of SBI and of the Physical Biosciences Division at LBNL, is the Dean A. Richard Newton Memorial Professor in UC Berkeleys Department of Bioengineering. He is also co-director of the Virtual Institute of Microbial Stress and Survival, director of bioinformatics at the Joint Bioenergy Institute, and co-director of BIOFAB (International Open Facility Advancing Biotechnology). His research centers on uncovering the evolutionary design principles of cellular networks and populations and exploiting them for applications. He and colleagues are developing a framework to facilitate applications in health, the environment, and bioenergy by combining comparative functional genomics, quantitative measurement of cellular dynamics, biophysical modeling of cellular networks, and cellular circuit design. (press release)

Dr. Bart Weimer

Dr. Bart Weimer
Professor, Population Health & Reproduction
School of Veterinary Medicine
University of California, Davis

Awarded: January 2011

Dr. Weimer's laboratory group at the School of Veterinary Medicine focuses on microbial physiology and function. Research on host/microbe interactions has led to the elucidation of the competitive binding of beneficial bacteria to the gut epithelium and the resulting displacement of pathogenic bacteria such as salmonella. Using genomics and functional genomics gene expression, metabolomics, proteomics, and metagenomics Dr. Weimer's program examines the mechanisms of gene interplay to produce a specific phenotype and the metabolism involved in the process.

Dr. David Botstein

Dr. David Botstein
Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics
Princeton University

Awarded: November 2010

Dr. David Botstein, professor and director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics and the Center for Quantitative Biology at Princeton University, received an Agilent Thought Leader award in support of his research in the area of genomics. This award of cash funding and Agilent products to the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics will allow Dr. Botstein to produce the most complete genomic, proteomic and metabolomic data sets from any eukaryote (organism with cells containing membrane-enclosed structures including nucleus) to date. (press release)

Dr. Hailu Kinde

Dr. Hailu Kinde, DVM, MPVM
UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory

Awarded: October 2010

Dr. Hailu Kinde, professor at the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System, received an Agilent Thought Leader award in support of his research in the area of food safety. This award of cash funding and Agilent products to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine will allow Dr. Kinde to focus on the development of a new process that can reduce the time required to identify food-borne pathogens from several days to only a few hours. (press release)

Dr. Thomas Hartung

Dr. Thomas Hartung
Director for the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT)
Bloomberg School of Public Health
Johns Hopkins University

Awarded: August 2010

Dr. Thomas Hartung received an Agilent Thought Leader award in support of his research on for the use of toxicity pathways to predict developmental neurotoxicity. Through this award of funding from the Agilent Foundation and a company donation of instruments to the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dr. Hartung will focus his research on the identification of novel toxicity pathways by combining two promising cell culture models with emerging metabolomics. This work could help identify possible contributions of chemicals to disorders such as autism and attention hyperactivity disorders. (press release)

Dr. James J. Collins

Dr. James Collins
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering

Awarded: July 2010

Dr. James Collins is developing innovative ways to reprogram organisms, particularly bacteria, to perform desired tasks, such as attacking tumors and guiding development of stem cells. These programmed bacteria could lead to cheaper drugs, greener fuels, and more effective treatments for antibiotic-resistant infections and diseases. He is a pioneer in systems biology, stochastic resonance, biological dynamics, and neurostimulation, with the goal of improving the function of physiological and biological systems. (press release)

Dr. George Church

Dr. George Church
Professor of Genetics
Harvard Medical School
Director of the Center for Computational Genetics
Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering
Boston, MA

Awarded: July 2010

Dr. George Church is Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Director of NIH-CEGS and DOE-GTL Genomics Centers. He has pioneered technology innovations early in the development of key fields in chemistry and biomedicine with 10 US Patents granted and several pending. As part of technology transfer to the commercial sector he has served on 22 scientific advisory boards. In 1976, his crystallographic software lead to the first high-resolution folded-RNA structure (a decade before similar structures important for ribozymes, aptamers, and RNAi). (press release)

Dr. Don Ingber

Dr. Don Ingber
Wyss Institute Founding Director
and Core Faculty Member
Platform Leader, Biomimetic Microsystems

Awarded: July 2010

Dr. Ingber is Founding Director of the Wyss Institute and a leader in the emerging field of biologically inspired engineering. He oversees a multifaceted effort to identify the mechanisms that living organisms use to self assemble and to apply these design principles to develop advanced materials and devices. Dr. Ingber was the first researcher to recognize that tensegrity architecture (in which a system stabilizes itself mechanically by balancing local compression with continuous tension) is a fundamental principle in the way living organisms are structured at the nanometer scale. (press release)

Dr. Janne Lehti

Dr. Janne Lehtio
Karolinska Institute
Department of Oncology-Pathology
Science for Life Laboratory

Awarded: June 2010

Dr. Janne Lehtio has worked on clinical proteomics both in academia and biotech industry. In 2004, Dr. Lehtio was selected to build mass spectrometry based proteomics at Karolinska University Hospital and continues his proteomics research there. Today, Dr. Lehtio leads a mass-spectrometry-based proteomics group at Karolinska Institutet focusing on quantitative proteomics methods development and cancer proteomics. In recent year his lab has developed several methods for clinical proteomics and currently uses these methods to understand proteome changes related to cancer therapy.

Dr. Pauline Rudd

Dr. Pauline Rudd
Professor of Glycobiology
University College Dublin
National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT)

Awarded: May 2010

Dr. Pauline Rudd received an Agilent Thought Leader award in March 2010 in support of emerging glycomics research through a grant of funding and instruments to the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) at the University College Dublin in Ireland. The goal of the research is to develop novel approaches to analyze protein glycosylation as part of the characterization process of recombinant protein drugs and to study disease glycan biomarkers using liquid chromatography mass spectrometry. (press release)