Annie De Groot, M.D., Director
Dr. De Groot earned degrees from Smith College (B.A., 1978) and the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago (M.D., 1983). She was trained in internal medicine at New England Medical Center (1986), and then went on to complete additional training in immunoinformatics and vaccine research under Jay Berzofsky at the National Institutes of Health (NIH,1989). Following her fellowship at the NIH, she returned to NEMC for clinical training in infectious disease (1991). She was board certified in Internal Medicine in 1986 and in Infectious Disease in 1992. In 1992, she joined the faculty of the Brown University Medical School, where she opened the TB/HIV Research Laboratory. She designed the EpiMatrix algorithm at Brown University with the assistance of Gabe Meister, Bill Jesdale and Bill Martin. With Bill, she founded EpiVax, Inc. in 1998 and licensed the EpiMatrix technology. She has been the CEO/CSO and President of EpiVax since 1998.
At EpiVax, Dr. De Groot supervises the science and business strategies at EpiVax. She spends one per week on academic pursuits at Brown University, where she is associate professor of Medicine and Community Health and at University of Rhode Island where she teaches vaccinology to undergraduate students (Spring Semester) and provides clinical care to patients at the Rhode Island TB clinic one afternoon per week. She founded and edited IDCR (1998-2008) and is founder and Scientific Director of the GAIA Vaccine Foundation (501c3, 2002). In addition to her active research on vaccines, she is a pioneer in the field of deimmunisation (of protein therapeutics). She and Bill Martin developed the DeFT approach to reengineering protein pharmaceuticals in 2002 and discovered “Epi-13” also known as “Tregitope”, new molecules with potential for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, in 2007.
De Groot has received more than $26 million in uninterrupted federal funding for her research activities through multiple NIH (K08, R21, R01, SBIR) and foundation grants since 1989. She was the recipient of a National Foundation for Infectious Diseases-Eli Lilly Award, two Rhode Island Foundation awards and a Commercial Innovation Award (from the Rhode Island Center for Cellular Medicine). In 2003 she was recognized by Women and Infants Hospital as “Woman of the Year in Science”. She was recognized as one of the “Best and the Brightest” in Science and Technology by Esquire Magazine (2003) for her work on the GAIA HIV vaccine. In 2006 she was named “Doctor of the Year” by the Rhode Island Medical Women’s Association. In 2007 she received the Al Fisher “Red Ribbon Award” for her AIDS work in West Africa, from AIDS Project Rhode Island. She has published more than 100 articles and chapters describing the development of epitope-driven vaccines and the application of immunoinformatics tools.
She nourished a productive laboratory (the TB/HIV Research Laboratory) at Brown before shifting her primary effort from Brown to EpiVax in 2006. As CEO of EpiVax, she successfully established client relationships with Amgen, Eli Lilly, Wyeth, Pfizer, Roche, Abbott and a range of smaller biotech companies. In 2009, she was awarded a $13 million grant from the NIH to set up the Institute for Immunology and Informatics at the University of Rhode Island, where she is also a research professor. As Principal Investigator of the grant, Dr. De Groot also leads the Multi-Path project which focuses on developing a vaccine against mutiple bioterror agents. Last but certainly not least, she is the proud mother of two beautiful and intelligent young adults.