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Scripps Research Appoints Cancer Biologist

Published: Monday, August 06, 2012
Last Updated: Monday, August 06, 2012
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Christoph Rader is appointed as associate professor in the Department of Cancer Biology and the Department of Molecular Therapeutics.

Before coming to Scripps Florida, Rader was a senior scientist at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland. Prior to that, he was an assistant professor on the La Jolla, California, campus of Scripps Research.

“We want to welcome Christoph back to Scripps Research,” said John L. Cleveland, chair of the Scripps Research Department of Cancer Biology. “In California, his groundbreaking antibody research helped pioneer a hybrid cancer therapy, and at NIH he was responsible for developing several innovative approaches to antibody drug and target discovery. He’s a great addition to our department and to the institute as a whole.”

“It’s a great pleasure to return to Scripps Research—and to be part of Scripps Florida,” said Rader, 46, who lives with his wife and two sons in Jupiter. “The faculty here is terrific, not only in cancer biology, but also in molecular therapeutics and chemistry. What I missed most at the NCI was being able to work more closely with chemists—they were 45 minutes away. Now, chemists are minutes from my office.”

Rader has already taken advantage of that proximity, launching collaborations with Scripps Florida chemists William R. Roush and Thomas Kodadek.

Rader’s research is focused on developing antibody therapies to treat cancer. “Monoclonal antibody therapy of cancer is a tremendously exciting and rewarding field that thrives on multidisciplinary expertise in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, pharmacology, and medicine,” said Rader. “Prompted by current knowledge, we have gone back to the drawing board to design, engineer, test, and deliver the next generation of monoclonal antibodies that target cancer cells with even higher precision and potency. Scripps Florida is an ideal place for hanging our drawing board and developing novel technologies at the interface of chemistry and biology.”

Rader studied biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Bayreuth in Germany (1986-1988) and at the University of Zurich in Switzerland (1988-1995), where he graduated with a diploma in biochemistry in 1991. In 1995, he was awarded a PhD with honors from the University of Zurich for his work on immunoglobulin superfamily molecules.

Rader did postdoctoral work with Professor Carlos F. Barbas III at Scripps California, where he specialized in antibody engineering, phage display, and catalytic antibody technologies. Following his promotion to assistant professor at Scripps Research in 1999, he won the prestigious Investigator Award from the Cancer Research Institute in 2000. Shortly after, he was part of a Scripps Research team that invented the concept of chemical programming of monoclonal antibodies to generate hybrid cancer therapeutics, a cross between traditional small molecules and a certain type of monoclonal antibody. After commercialization, this innovation has brought several new drugs into phase I and II clinical trials for the treatment of various cancers and metabolic diseases.

Rader joined the NCI in 2003 to head the Antibody Technology Section in the Experimental

Transplantation and Immunology Branch. In 2007, he received the NCI Director's Intramural Innovation Award for Principal Investigators for a novel chemical programming concept. His achievements include more than 80 publications and 13 patents or patent applications in the area of antibody engineering and conjugation technologies.

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