Jess joined Belharra in 2022 as Director, Program Management, a group focused on advancing molecules and biomarkers from the bench into the clinic. She has over 15 years of experience in pharma and biotech advancing small molecules from target validation to drug candidates.
Jess received her Ph.D. in Chemical Biology from the University of Michigan and continued to build on her interests in chemical biology with a focus on understanding selectivity of covalent inhibitors in vivo through a postdoctoral fellowship at The Scripps Research Institute with Professor Ben Cravatt. Jess then applied this to drug discovery with a focus on defining the mechanism of action of small molecule drugs using biochemical, in vivo PD, efficacy and translational biomarkers at Merck Research Laboratories in the areas of inflammation and immunology. Jess then joined Abide Therapeutics, a small biotech with a covalent chemoproteomic platform, in 2013. She led teams that delivered several drug candidates for neurological conditions during her time at Abide and then at Lundbeck following their 2019 acquisition of Abide. At Belharra, she is fulfilling her goal to create a more hopeful future for patients through scientific discovery.