Roles and responsibilities
- Leader of the NRC's Molecular Modeling Team (Immunobiology Department, Human Health Therapeutics Research Centre)
- Leader of NRC-funded projects on anti-COVID-19 biotherapeutics (NRC's National Programs Office)
- Member of the NRC's President Research Excellence Advisory Committee (2020-2023)
Current research and/or projects
With a strong background in bio, organic, and physical chemistry, I am an established computational chemist with 25 years of experience and broad expertise in molecular modeling applied to (bio)pharmaceutical research; ranging from cheminformatics-based small-molecule lead discovery and optimization to structural bioinformatics-based computational biology, and from molecular simulations of protein-ligand complexes to engineering of therapeutic proteins and antibody humanization.
Research and/or project statements
- Studied a broad spectrum of molecular targets including cytosolic enzymes (with a focus on cysteine proteases), extracellular receptor domains (with a focus on growth factor receptors) and secreted proteins, from viral, bacterial, parasitic, fungal, plant and mammalian origins.
- Deep interest in advancing the computational methods for biomolecular applications, being particularly active in the development of continuum solvation models and binding-affinity scoring functions for protein-ligand interactions.
- Active in applying computational structural modeling to the design of therapeutic proteins, which has led to intellectual property for various biologics including single-chain growth factor traps, improved antibodies with differential tumor/normal tissue targeting, and humanized antibodies.
- Contributions to the development of an in silico platform for de novo design and affinity maturation of therapeutic antibodies.
- Leading biotherapeutic discovery and development to fight COVID-19 infections and associated organ injuries.
- Post-Doctorate, Molecular Modeling, NSERC, NRC Canada (1997)
- Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, West University of Timisoara, Romania (1995)
- M.Sc., Organic Chemistry, Polytechnic University of Timisoara, Romania (1993)
- Adjunct Professor since 2012 with the Institute of Parasitology of McGill University, teaching graduate courses in Structural Bioinformatics (BTEC555, Winter) and Therapeutic Antibody Design (BTEC650, Fall)
- Instructor since 2017 with the Cambridge Healthtech Institute (USA), teaching training seminars and short courses at international events (PEGS Boston and PepTalk San Diego).
- Member of the Editorial Advisory Board, Molecular Biology Section, International Journal of Molecular Sciences since 2021.
Member of the American Chemical Society
- 2020 NRC Intellectual Property Award – Impact
- 2020 NRC Outstanding Achievement Award – NRC’s Value for Canada
- 2018 NRC-HHT Excellence Award – NRC Values
- 2016 NRC Outstanding Achievement Award – Research & Technology Breakthrough
- 2009 NRC Outstanding Achievement Award – Industrial Partnership
- 2008 NRC-BRI Director General’s Award – Technology Transfer
- 2005 NRC-BRI Director General’s Award – Science
Inventions and patents
32. Sulea, Traian; Zwaagstra, John; Baardsnes, Jason; Corbeil, Christopher; Jaramillo, Maria Luz; Purisima, Enrico; Rohani Larijani, Nazanin. Antibody variants with pH-dependent antigen binding for selective targeting of solid tumors. PCT/IB2020/053024, filed 30-3-2020.
31. Marcil, Anne; Jaramillo, Maria Luz; Moreno; Maria, Sulea, Traian. Antigen-binding agents that specifically bind epidermal growth factor receptor variant III. PCT/CA2020/050378, filed 3-3-2020.
30. Marcil, Anne; McComb, Scott; Weeratna, Risisni; Sulea, Traian; Jaramillo, Maria Luz; Wu, Cunle; Bloemberg, Darin. Anti-EGFRvIII antibodies and antigen-binding fragments thereof. PCT/CA2020/050376, filed 3-3-2020.
29. Smith, Benjamin A.; Lehmann, Andreas; Cameron, Thomas, O.; Pepinsky, R., Blake; Wen, D.; Farrington, Graham, K.; Raghunathan, Gopalan; Pederson, Nels, E.; Stanimirovic, Danica; Sulea, Traian; Haqqani, Arsalan, S. Humanized and stabilized FC5 variants for enhancement of blood brain barrier transport. PCT/US2019/058286, filed 28-10-2019. WO/2020/092202, published 7-5-2020.
28. Hussack, Gregory; Tanha, Jamshid; Henry, Kevin; Sulea, Traian. Serum albumin binding antibodies for tunable half-life extension of biologics. PCT/CA2019/050514, filed 24-4-2019. WO/2019/204925, published 31-10-2019.
27. Martina, Marzia; Chakravarthy, Balu; Durocher, Yves; Marcil, Anne; Arbabi Garhoudi, Mehdi; Sulea, Traian; Bandareli, Umberto; Moreno, Maria, Stanimirovic, Danica. Antibodies and antibody fragments against hNav1.7 channel and their use in pain and cancer indications. PCT/CA2019/050676, filed 17-5-2019. WO/2019/218082, published 21-11-2019.
26. Gilbert, Michel; Sulea, Traian; Jaramillo, Maria, L.; Durocher, Yves; Acchione, Maurizio. Antibody glycoconjugates and methods of production and use. PCT/CA2018/051410, filed 8-11-2018. WO/CA2019/090424, published 16-5-2019.
25. Sulea, Traian; Hussack, Greg; Tanha, Jamshid; Purisima, Enrico. Clostridium Difficile-specific antibodies and uses thereof. PCT/IB2018/055047, filed 9-7-2018. WO/2019/012406, published 17-1-2019.
24. Zwaagstra, John, C.; Sulea, Traian; Jaramillo, Maria; O’Connor, Maureen, D.; Lenferink, Anne, E.G. TGF-b-receptor ectodomain fusion molecules and uses thereof. PCT/IB2018/051320, filed 1-3-2018. WO/2018/158727, published 7-9-2018.
23. Moffett, Serge; Sulea, Traian. Anti-PSMA antibodies and uses thereof for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. PCT/IB2018/050644, filed 1-2-2018. WO/2018/142323, published 9-8-2018.
22. Stanimirovic, Danica; Sulea, Traian; Kemmerich, Kristin; Wilson, David; Stratton, Jennifer; Pollard, Matthew; Clarke, Adam. Antibody variants transmigrating the blood-brain barrier and uses thereof. PCT/IB2017/057844, filed 12-12-2017. WO/2018/109663, published 21-6-2018. US patent 11,906,973, issued 2-2-2021.
21. Hinck, Andrew P.; Sulea, Traian. Engineered TGF-beta monomers and their use for inhibiting TGF-beta signaling. PCT/US2017/062233, filed 17-11-2017. WO/2018/094173, published 24-5-2018. US patent 11,091,523, issued 17-8-2021.
20. Stanimirovic, Danica; Kemmerich, Kristin; Durocher, Yves; Sulea, Traian. Humanized antibodies transmigrating the blood-brain barrier and uses thereof. PCT/IB2017/054036, filed 4-7-2017. WO/2018/007950, published 11-1-2018. US patent 10,738,115, issued 11-08-2020.
19. Zwaagstra, John, C.; Sulea, Traian; Jaramillo, Maria; O’Connor, Maureen, D.; Lenferink, Anne, E.G. TGF-b-receptor ectodomain fusion molecules and uses thereof. PCT/IB2016/055204, filed 31-8-2016. WO/2017/037634, published 9-3-2017.
18. Tessier, Philippe; Tardif, Melanie; Sulea, Traian. Humanized anti-S100A9 antibody and uses thereof. PCT/CA2016/050810, filed 11-7-2016. WO/2017/008153, published 19-1-2017.
17. Stanimirovic, Danica; Kemmerich, Kristin; Haqqani, Arsalan S.; Sulea, Traian; Arbabi-Ghahroudi, Mehdi; Massie, Bernard; Gilbert, Rénald. Insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor-specific antibodies and uses thereof. PCT/CA2014/000862, filed 04-12-2014, WO/2015/131258, published 11-9-2015. US patent 10,100,117, issued 16-10-2018.
16. Stanimirovic, Danica; Kemmerich, Kristin; Haqqani, Arsalan S.; Sulea, Traian; Arbabi-Ghahroudi, Mehdi; Massie, Bernard; Gilbert, Rénald. Insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor-specific antibodies and uses thereof. PCT/CA2014/000861, filed 04-12-2014, WO/2015/131257, published 11-9-2015. US patent 10,112,998, issued 30-10-2018. European patent EP3114141, granted 6-5-2020.
15. Stanimirovic, Danica; Kemmerich, Kristin; Haqqani, Arsalan S.; Sulea, Traian; Arbabi-Ghahroudi, Mehdi; Massie, Bernard; Gilbert, Rénald. Insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor-specific antibodies and uses thereof. PCT/CA2014/000860, filed 04-12-2014, WO/2015/131256, published 11-9-2015. US patent 10,106,614, issued 23-10-2018. European patent EP3114140, granted 27-2-2019.
14. Stuible, Matthew; Tremblay, Gilles B.; Sulea, Traian; Moraitis, Anna N.; Filion, Mario. Anti-SIGLEC-15 antibodies. PCT/CA2013/000646, filed 17-7-2013. WO/2014/012165, published 23-1-2014. US patent 9,493,562, issued 15-11-2016. European patent EP2875051, granted 20-2-2019.
13. Brodt, Pnina; Massie, Bernard; Sulea, Traian. Soluble IGF receptor Fc fusion proteins and uses thereof. PCT/CA2012/050899, filed 14-12-2012. WO/2013/086636, published 20-6-2013. European patent EP2791338, granted 20-2-2019. US patent 10,538,575, issued 21-1-2020.
12. Tremblay, Gilles B.; Moraitis, Anna; Sulea, Traian; Filion, Mario. Antibodies against kidney associated antigen 1 and antigen binding fragments thereof. PCT/CA2012/000296, filed 28-3-2012. WO/2012/129668, published 4-10-2012. US patent 8,937,163, issued 20-1-2015, US patent 9,393,302, issued 19-7-2016. US patent 9,828,426, issued 28-11-2017. US patent 10,597,450, issued 24-3-2020. European patent EP2691421, granted 9-11-2016. Australian patent AU2012234754, granted 12-1-2017.
11. Tikhomirov, Ilia, A.; Jaramillo, Maria, L.; O’Connor-McCourt, Maureen, D.; Sulea, Traian; Gilbert, Renald; Gaillet, Bruno; Baardsnes, Jason; Banville, Myriam. Antibodies selective for cells presenting EGFR at high density. PCT/CA2012/050034, filed 20-1-2012. WO/2012/100346, published 2-8-2012. US patent 10,570,211, issued 25-2-2020.
10. Tikhomirov, Ilia, A.; Jaramillo, Maria, L.; O’Connor-McCourt, Maureen, D.; Sulea, Traian; Gilbert, Renald; Gaillet, Bruno; Baardsnes, Jason; Banville, Myriam. Antibodies selective for cells presenting erbB2 at high density. PCT/CA2011/050747, filed 2-12-2011. WO/2012/075581, published 14-6-2012. US patent 10,208,129, issued 19-2-2019.
9. Zwaagstra, John, C.; O'Connor-McCourt, Maureen, D.; Sulea, Traian; Collins, Catherine; Banville, Myriam. Covalently dimerized bivalent binding agents. PCT/CA2011/001306, filed 28-11-2011. WO/2012/071649, published 7-6-2012. US patent 8,987,417, issued 24-3-2015. European patent EP2646472, granted 30-8-2017.
8. Tremblay, Gilles B.; Filion, Mario; Sulea, Traian. Anti-clusterin antibodies and antigen binding fragments and their use to reduce tumor volume. PCT/CA2010/001882, filed 24-11-2010. WO/2011/063523, published 3-6-2011. US patent 8,802,866, issued 12-8-2014. US patent 9,512,211, issued 6-12-2016.
7. Tremblay, Gilles B.; Filion, Mario; Sulea, Traian. Antibodies that specifically block the biological activity of kidney associated antigen 1. PCT/CA2010/001795, filed 3-11-2010. WO/2011/054112, published 12-5-2011.
6. Tremblay, Gilles B.; Filion, Mario; Sulea, Traian. Antibodies that specifically block the biological activity of a tumor antigen. PCT/CA2009/001586, filed 3-11-2009. WO/2010/060186, published 3-6-2010. US patent 9,855,291, issued 2-1-2018.
5. O'Connor-McCourt, Maureen, D.; Sulea, Traian; Zwaagstra, John; Baardsnes, Jason; Collins, Catherine. Hetero-multivalent binding agents for members of the TGFb superfamily. PCT/CA2009/001293, filed 17-9-2009. WO/2010/031168, published 25-3-2010. US patent 8,658,135, issued 25-2-2014.
4. O'Connor-McCourt, Maureen, D.; Sulea, Traian; Zwaagstra, John; Baardsnes, Jason. Antagonists of ligands and uses thereof. PCT/CA2008/000547, filed 19-3-2008. WO/2008/113185, published 25-9-2008. US Patent 8,318,135, issued 27-11-2012. US Patent 8,574,548, issued 5-11-2013. US Patent 8,734,760, issued 27-5-2014. European patent EP2140005, granted 11-12-2013.
3. Lindner, Holger A.; Menard, Robert; Sulea, Traian. Variants of aminoacylase, nucleic acids coding same, and uses thereof. WO 04/113524. Filed 23-6-2004.
2. Sulea, Traian; Purisima, Enrico O.; Menard, Robert; Wang, Jing. Non-covalent inhibitors of cysteine proteases with a tripeptide backbone. WO 03/097664. Filed 15-5-2003.
1. Menard, Robert; Nagler, Dorit K.; Sulea, Traian. Development of an in vivo functional assay for proteases. US 10/462,645; CAN 2,432,676. Filed 17-6-2003.
Sulea, T.; Rohani, N.; Baardsnes, J.; Corbeil, C.R.; Deprez, C.; Cepero-Donates, Y.; Robert, A.; Schrag J.D.; Parat, M.; Duchesne, M.; Jaramillo, M.L.; Purisima, E.O.; Zwaagstra, J.C. Structure-based engineering of pH-dependent antibody binding for selective targeting of solid-tumor microenvironment. MAbs 12: 1682866 (2020).
Schrag J.D.; Picard, M.-E.; Gaudreault, F.; Gagnon, L.-P.; Baardsnes, J.; Manenda, M.S.; Sheff, J.; Deprez, C.; Baptista, C.; Hogues, H.; Kelly, J.F.; Purisima, E.O.; Shi, R.; Sulea, T. Binding symmetry and surface flexibility mediate antibody self-association. MAbs 11: 1300-1318 (2019).
Hill, J.J.; Tremblay, T.-L.; Corbeil, C.R.; Purisima, E.O.; Sulea, T. An accurate TMT-based approach to quantify and model lysine susceptibility to conjugation via N-hydroxysuccinimide esters in a monoclonal antibody. Sci. Rep. 8: 17680 (2018).
Sulea, T.; Hussack, G.; Ryan, S.; Tanha, J.; Purisima, E.O. Application of Assisted Design of Antibody and Protein Therapeutics (ADAPT) improves efficacy of a Clostridium difficile toxin A single-domain antibody. Sci. Rep. 8: 260 (2018).
Sulea, T.; Vivcharuk, V.; Corbeil, C.R.; Deprez, C.; Purisima, E.O. Assessment of solvated interaction energy function for ranking antibody-antigen binding affinities. J. Chem. Inf. Model. 56: 1292-1303 (2016).
Sulea, T.; Purisima, E.O. The solvated interaction energy method for scoring binding affinities. Methods Mol. Biol. 819: 295-303 (2012).
Sulea, T.; Cui, Q.; Purisima, E.O. Solvated interaction energy (SIE) for scoring protein-ligand binding affinities. 2. Benchmark in the CSAR-2010 scoring exercise. J. Chem. Inf. Model. 51: 2066-2081 (2011).
Zhu, X.; Menard, R.; Sulea, T. High incidence of ubiquitin-like domains in human ubiquitin-specific proteases. Proteins 69: 1-7 (2007).
Sulea, T.; Lindner, H.A.; Purisima, E.O.; Menard, R. Deubiquitination, a new function of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus papain-like protease? J. Virol. 79: 4550-4551 (2005).
Sulea, T.; Purisima, E.O. Optimizing ligand charges for maximum binding affinity. A solvated interaction energy approach. J. Phys. Chem. B 105: 889-899 (2001).
Nagler, D.K.; Zhang, R.; Tam, W.; Sulea, T.; Purisima, E.O.; Menard, R. Human cathepsin X: A cysteine protease with unique carboxypeptidase activity. Biochemistry 38: 12648-12654 (1999).