Scientific Advisors

Zucai Suo, Ph.D.

Nucorion Co-Founder and Chair of Scientific Advisory Board

Zucai Suo, PhD, is Eminent Professor and Dorian and John Blackmon Chair in Biomedical Science at Department of Biomedical Sciences, Florida State University College of Medicine. Dr. Suo co-founded Nucorion Pharmaceutical, Inc. in 2015. Dr. Suo was a senior biochemist at Eli Lilly & Company and performed antiviral drug discovery research from 2000 to 2001. Subsequently, Dr. Suo was Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at The Ohio State University from 2001 to 2018. From 2012 to 2016, Dr. Suo served as President of the Chinese-American Chemistry & Chemical Biology Professors Association in USA. Dr. Suo was elected to be a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2013 and a faculty member of Faculty 1000 in 2011. Dr. Suo has won numerous awards including a National Science Foundation Career Award in 2005. Dr. Suo received both his BS and MS in physical chemistry from Fudan University in Shanghai, China, his PhD in biological chemistry from Pennsylvania State University, and was a Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Medical School.

Stephen J. Benkovic, Ph.D.

Dr. Benkovic is an Evan Pugh University Professor and holds the Eberly Chair in Chemistry at The Pennsylvania State University. He has been recognized by many awards including the Pfizer Award in Enzyme Chemistry, the Repligen Award for Chemistry of Biological Processes, the Alfred Bader Award, the Chemical Pioneer Award, the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science, the Ralph F. Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry, the National Medal of Science, and the National Academy of Science Award in Chemical Sciences.  He is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Inventors, and the American Philosophical Society. Dr. Benkovic’s research has focused on the assembly and kinetic characteristics of the protein machinery that is responsible for DNA replication; the importance of dynamic coupling of proximal and distal residues in the catalytic cycle of dihydrofolate reductase; the intracellular observation through purinosome imaging of de novo purine biosynthesis, and the collaborative development of novel sound based technologies for studying cellular communication.  With Lucy Shapiro, he cofounded Anacor Pharmaceuticals that pioneered the development of boron containing compounds as successful therapeutics for dermatology. Anacor was recently acquired by Pfizer.

John Kozarich, Ph.D.

Dr. Kozarich is Chairman and President of ActivX Biosciences in La Jolla. From 1992 to 2001, he was vice president at Merck Research Laboratories and previously held professorships at the University of Maryland and Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Kozarich is also an adjunct professor of Chemical Physiology at the Scripps Research Institute and serves on boards, including QLT, Inc., Corium Intl. and the Board of Trustees of the Gordon Research Conferences. He is also a recent recipient of the Distinguished Scientist Award from the San Diego Section of the American Chemical Society. Dr. Kozarich earned his BS in chemistry, summa cum laude, from Boston College, his PhD in biological chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University.

Jack W. Szostak, Ph.D.

Dr. Szostak is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University, and the Alex Rich Distinguished Investigator in the Dept. of Molecular Biology and the Center for Computational and Integrative Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Szostak’s early research on telomere structure and function, and the role of telomere maintenance in preventing cellular senescence was recognized by the 2006 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award and the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. In the 1990s Dr. Szostak and his colleagues developed in vitro selection as a tool for the isolation of functional RNA, DNA and protein molecules from large pools of random sequences. Dr. Szostak’s current research interests are in the laboratory synthesis of self-replicating systems and the origin of life.

Lin Zhi, Ph.D.

Dr. Zhi is Vice President of Chemistry & Pharmaceutical Sciences of Ligand Pharmaceuticals and specializes in the area of small-molecule drug discovery and development. He has been instrumental in producing many of Ligand's development compounds and programs for over twenty years and is the inventor of LTP Technology platform. Dr. Zhi received his B.S. and M.S. from Beijing University. He obtained his Ph.D. in chemistry from Emory University and did postdoctoral training at Stanford University. He is a coauthor of more than 60 publications and an inventor/coinventor of more than 90 issued US patents.