Jeff Porter is the Head of Developmental and Molecular Pathways (DMP) for the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR). Among his duties is the challenging task of developing the biological pathways research, a fundamental tool for the success of NIBR.
The DMP group has developed a dynamic multidisciplinary platform that merges pathway biology and disease area expertise with enabling technology. Their efforts have led to many publications and discovery of targets that have the potential to help patients in need. In particular, their research has identified key players in the mTor and Hedgehog pathways that have shown promise in early clinical trials.
Jeff received a B.A. degree in Chemistry from Hendrix College, Conway, AR, followed by a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in the Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. His research work focused on the molecular genetics of Drosophila phototransduction.
Jeff’s postdoctoral work, performed at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Johns Hopkins, focused on the biogenesis of Hedgehog signaling proteins and their role in animal development. In addition to defining the structure and function of the Hedgehog ligand, his work demonstrated that the Hedgehog protein precursor undergoes a unique autoprocessing reaction that renders the signaling domain cholesterol modified.
Following his postdoctoral work, Jeff moved to Ontogeny Inc. (later becoming Curis Inc. via merger), a Cambridge, MA-based biotechnology company that focused on the pathways and principles of developmental biology as an approach to the treatment of degenerative disorders as well as oncology. Over his years at Ontogeny/Curis, Jeff assumed roles of increasing responsibility, beginning as a staff scientist and leaving as a Vice President of Research.