Dr. Garcia developed the founding principles upon which Synthekine is based, and the company was formed around intellectual property in-licensed from his laboratory. Dr. Garcia is currently a Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology and of Structural Biology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He is also an Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He received his B.S. in biochemistry from Tulane University, and his Ph.D. in biophysics from Johns Hopkins University. After two years of post-doctoral work at Genentech, Inc. under Dr. David Goeddel in the Dept. of Molecular Biology, where he learned the emerging technologies of protein engineering and recombinant protein expression, Dr. Garcia moved to a second post-doctoral fellowship at The Scripps Research Institute in the laboratory of Prof. Ian Wilson, where he succeeded in determining the first crystal structures of the T-cell receptor and then its complex with peptide-MHC. In 1999, Dr. Garcia started his lab at Stanford University School of Medicine where he has progressed to Full Professor. Dr. Garcia was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2012 and the National Academy of Medicine in 2016. Dr. Garcia’s laboratory continues the investigation of structural and functional aspects of cell surface receptor recognition and activation, in receptor-ligand systems with relevance to human health and disease. The Garcia Lab uses structural information on receptor-ligand complexes to engineer variant proteins and/or surrogates to manipulate receptor signaling and cellular function, with an eye towards therapeutic applications. The receptor systems studied derive principally from the immune system (TCR/MHC, cytokines, chemokine GPCR). Their focus is on “shared” pleiotropic cytokine receptors to understand the biophysical basis by which different ligands are able to elicit unique intracellular responses and functional outcomes, as well as to exploit this information to engineer receptor-specific ligands. Dr. Garcia has founded or co-founded several biotech companies, including Synthekine, Surrozen (Wnt agonists), 3T (TCR antigen discovery) and ALX Oncology (SIRP/CD7 antagonist).
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