Our Team

David D. Ho, MD and Yaoxing Huang, PhD

Co-Founders

Dr. Ho is currently Irene Diamond Professor at The Rockefeller University and Scientific Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, a world-renowned biomedical research institute in New York City. He has been at the forefront of AIDS research since the beginning of the epidemic. His seminal studies unveiling the dynamic nature of HIV replication in vivo were published in Nature, Science and the New England Journal of Medicine and revolutionized our basic understanding of the disease. This knowledge led him to champion the groundbreaking approach of combination antiretroviral therapy that resulted in unprecedented control of HIV among patients. To date, more than 14 million patients worldwide have benefitted from combination antiretroviral therapy. As a major driving force in the fight to end the disease, Dr. Ho has received numerous honors and awards for his scientific accomplishments from his academic peers, national governments and the public at large. He is the recipient of a Presidential Citizens Medal, as well as 13 honorary doctorates. In addition to his election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine, he was recognized as Time magazine’s “Man of the Year” in 1996.

Dr. Huang is currently an Associate Professor at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and has spent 25 years conducting HIV research. He has authored over 30 publications on HIV pathogenesis, vaccine discovery and development, and antibody engineering and development. Dr. Huang has led or contributed to the discovery, characterization, and preclinical development of both DNA and attenuated viral vector vaccines against HIV that were selected for advancement to clinical evaluation. More recently, he has focused his research efforts on the discovery and engineering of bispecific antibodies for HIV prevention, treatment and eradication.

Drs. Ho and Huang have collaborated on several successful scientific projects over the past 20 years and have advanced multiple vaccine and antibody candidates from the bench to the bedside. RenBio’s formation and growth is the fruition of their latest collaborative endeavor.

Neal N. Padte, PhD

Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Dr. Padte joined RenBio at pre-incorporation, led the company’s formation and early-stage growth, and currently oversees all scientific-, operations- and business-related activities for the company. He has over 10 years of experience managing scientific, legal, financial and regulatory activities related to the discovery and development of novel antibody and vaccine clinical candidates, including the development, management and growth of strategic alliances with several industry, government and academic partners. In addition to his responsibilities at RenBio, Dr. Padte manages the preclinical through Phase 1 development activities for multiple products in the pipeline at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center in partnership with RenBio co-founders David D. Ho, MD and Yaoxing Huang, PhD. Earlier in his career, Dr. Padte worked at Praulex, Inc., a start-up biotechnology company in the Princeton, NJ area acquired by Amersham Pharmacia Biotech (currently GE Healthcare Life Sciences). Dr. Padte received his PhD in Cellular, Molecular and Biophysical Studies from Columbia University and his Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Boston University.

Rachel A. Liberatore, PhD

Senior Research Scientist

Dr. Liberatore has over 10 years of research experience developing and directing discovery and proof-of-concept studies using multiple models of human diseases. Her postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Dr. Paul Bieniasz at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, an affiliate of The Rockefeller University, were focused on understanding viral pathogenesis, with a primary focus on retroviruses. Her work contributed to the understanding of virus-host interactions and the mechanisms by which certain antiretroviral restriction factors can inhibit the spread of retroviruses. She also developed a novel system with which to elicit antiviral antibodies and study the interaction between HIV and its cellular receptors. Dr. Liberatore received her PhD in Cellular, Molecular, and Biophysical Studies from Columbia University and her Bachelor of Arts in Molecular Biology from Princeton University.

Chasity D. Andrews, PhD

Scientific Project Manager and Senior Research Scientist

Dr. Andrews has over 8 years of preclinical development experience with antibody, vaccine and antiviral therapeutic candidates. This work has spanned small and large animal model development, cGMP manufacturing and GLP toxicology programs, and their related regulatory filings. Dr. Andrews conducted her postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of David D. Ho at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, an affiliate of The Rockefeller University. Some of her lead author publications during this tenure included demonstrating the antiviral protective efficacy of cabotegravir in rhesus macaques in collaboration with ViiV Healthcare and GlaxoSmithKline, and demonstrating the protective efficacy of antibody gene transfer against lethal influenza and Ebola infections in mice. Earlier in her career, Dr. Andrews worked at AlphaVax Human Vaccine in Research Triangle Park, NC. Dr. Andrews received her PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Michigan and her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina.

Jaka Cemazar, PhD

Research Engineer

Dr. Cemazar has over nine years of experience in engineering development, characterization, and manufacture of microfluidic and electroporation devices, and the application of electric fields to biological cells in vitro and in vivo. He is also an inventor on a patent application for novel flow-through electroporation devices. Dr. Cemazar received his Bachelor of Science and PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia.

Paul D. Hanavan, PhD

Research Scientist

Dr. Hanavan’s research expertise is in hit-to-lead research for multiple oncology indications. He has extensive experience in assay development, in vitro mechanistic studies and mouse model development, and has contributed to multiple peer-reviewed publications across a variety of fields such as immunology, neuroscience, and metabolic biology. His doctoral work led to the identification of promising inhibitory compounds for a novel therapeutic target and resulted in his inventorship on a patent application for antineoplastic compounds and methods to suppress tumor growth. Dr. Hanavan received his Bachelor of Science in Biology and PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Arizona State University.

Xin Kevin Yao, PhD

Research Scientist

Dr. Yao has over eight years of research experience in antibody engineering and characterization in vitro and in vivo. He received his PhD from Fudan University and his Bachelor of Medicine from Shanghai Medical University, both located in Shanghai, China.

Jessie Willen

Research Associate

Ms. Willen has over eight years of experience in molecular biology, mammalian cell culture, and protein purification. She has also worked extensively with animal model development and colony management. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from The George Washington University.

Annelyn P. O’Rourke

Accounting Manager

Ms. O’Rourke has over 20 years of experience in various accounting functions for healthcare and biotechnology companies, previously serving as Controller for the Amsterdam Nursing Home and an Auditor for Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield. Ms. O’Rourke received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Queens College and passed the NYS Public Accountancy exam.