Lovelace Biomedical Staff Spotlight – Dharmesh Desai, PhD
Welcoming and Learning About Lovelace Biomedical’s New Director of Immunology & Large Molecule Bioanalysis
Dharmesh, give us a little background on yourself.
My background is in cellular immunology, and the bulk of my career post-academia has been in the bioanalytical space, mostly in large molecule biologics. I have worked with a number of antibody, protein and peptide therapeutics, as well as enzyme replacement therapies.
As part of the bioanalytical group, it is our charge to develop and validate assays that measure both pharmacokinetic (PK, what the body does to the drug) and pharmacodynamic (PD, what the drug does to the body) parameters. PD includes assessing immunogenicity of the biologic therapeutic in a preclinical/clinical setting.
I am also familiar with the currently expanding gene therapy field, including AAV, lentiviral, bacterial, and CAR-T modalities.
Why did you choose to work in this important field of biomedical research?
Curiosity and science drive me. I always had a knack for biology – although I wish I was as intuitive about physics! I was drawn to immunology because of the adaptiveness of the immune response. I was intrigued with the ability to modulate the immune response; for example, dampen in cases of autoimmunity, and accelerate in cases of infection or cancer.
What do you enjoy about your particular role at Lovelace?
I really enjoy the process in each position I am in. I really like to see what I can do to help improve the process, efficiency, and reliability in the quality of our work. That is particularly important in my position at Lovelace since it is sort of a “new” department we are building up.
LBRI is unique in its expertise with airborne/inhalation models for drug development. At Lovelace Biomedical Research Institute we support multiple disciplines in many different therapies.
How important is your expertise to studies and development for Lovelace and our clients?
We would like to expand our portfolio of expertise to include large molecule bioanalysis. So, it is exciting to start the program at LBRI with my unique skills, expertise, and background in that field.
What about the challenges?
Each therapeutic has its own challenge, nothing is cookie-cutter. Having the depth and breadth of experience in different biologics, is important for if/when any challenges come up!