Scientific Advisory Board

NIT’s highly distinguished Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) members bring rich scientific insights to help guide our efforts to advance a pipeline of novel immunotherapeutics to treat cancer and infectious diseases.

Rafi Ahmed, Ph.D.
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the Emory University, School of Medicine
Director of the Emory Vaccine Center

Dr. Ahmed is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a world-renowned immunologist whose work during the past decades has been highly influential in shaping the current understanding of memory T cell differentiation and anti-viral T and B cell immunity. His works uncovered a major role of the PD-1 inhibitory receptor in the promotion of T cell dysfunction during chronic infection, and directly led to the successful use of PD-1 checkpoint blockade therapy in cancer patients. Dr. Ahmed’s additional work on humoral memory complements his research on T cell memory and contributes to the development of novel vaccines.
David Lebwohl, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer at Semma Therapeutics, a subsidiary of Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Dr. Lebwohl brings decades of successful drug development experience. Previously, he was the Senior Vice President and Franchise Global Program Head for the CAR T-cell Program at Novartis. In this position, he led the development of Kymriah®, resulting in the approval of the first CAR T-cell therapy worldwide. While at Novartis, Dr. Lebwohl also served as the Global Head of Oncology Clinical Development and Global Program Head responsible for the development and approval of Afinitor®. Prior to joining Novartis, Dr. Lebwohl held positions of increasing responsibility at Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Crystal L. Mackall, M.D.
Ernest and Amelia Gallo Family Professor of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine at Stanford University
Founding Director of the Stanford Center for Cancer Cell Therapy
Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Stanford

Dr. Mackall has led an internationally recognized translational research program spanning basic studies of T cell homeostasis and tumor immunology, and clinical trials of immune-based therapies for cancer. Dr. Mackall’s clinical trials are notable for the incorporation of deep biologic endpoints that further our understanding of the basis for success and failure of novel immunotherapeutics. Her work is credited with identifying an essential role for the thymus in human T cell regeneration and discovering IL-7 as the master regulator of T cell homeostasis.
Debasish Roychowdhury, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer at Partner Therapeutics
Dr. Debasish Roychowdhury is a hematologist/oncologist with many years of experience in patient care, and academic research, as well as over two decades of pharmaceutical industry and biotech experience. Dr. Roychowdhury has served in numerous leadership roles and has experience across multiple functional areas, including clinical development, regulatory, portfolio and strategy development, and has worked with regions across the globe.
During his career in pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Roychowdhury was the Senior Vice President and Head of the Global Oncology Division at Sanofi. Prior to that position, he served as the Vice President for Clinical Development at GlaxoSmithKline and directed the Oncology Global Regulatory group at Eli Lilly and Company.