Featured Researcher: Ingrid Wertz – Bristol Myers Squibb
Ingrid Wertz, MD, PhD
Executive Director, Protein Homeostasis Center of Excellence
Ingrid Wertz is the executive director of the Protein Homeostasis Center of Excellence. Ingrid and her team are responsible for developing protein degrader medicines for patients in need by harnessing degradation systems naturally present within the human body. Ingrid collaborates with drug discovery teams throughout the company and leads teams in San Diego and Brisbane, CA, and Lawrenceville, NJ, to enhance the depth and breadth of therapeutics at Bristol Myers Squibb in this growing field of research.
“Leveraging the natural protein degradation process allows us to specifically target and eliminate disease-relevant proteins that have been largely undruggable,” she said. “Our team’s goal is to validate and advance this strategy that we believe will have broad-reaching applications across therapeutic areas, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and inflammatory disorders.”
Ingrid and her team have been instrumental in advancing the field of protein degradation, building upon the legacy, scientific expertise, and clinical success that Bristol Myers Squibb has established over the past two decades. She is building a team of more than 30 scientists that specialize in structural biology, proteomics, cell biology, biochemistry/biophysics, and medicinal chemistry.
Prior to joining Bristol Myers Squibb, Ingrid was a principal scientist in the departments of Discovery Oncology and Early Discovery Biochemistry at Genentech, where she led the company’s degrader platform aimed at co-opting ubiquitin system enzymes for therapeutic benefit. Ingrid is widely published in the protein degradation field in journals such as Cell, Science, and Nature and is a leader in this area in the scientific community. She received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Biotechnology Training grant to complete her graduate studies at Genentech in conjunction with University of California, Davis and received her MD from Washington University in St. Louis as a Medical Scientist Training Program fellow.
Interests and Expertise
To unwind from work, Ingrid enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter and son, and is also lucky to have extended family nearby in the Bay Area who she can visit frequently.
In her free time, Ingrid appreciates the outdoors while running or road biking, and enjoys creating breads and cakes for holidays and birthday celebrations.
Ingrid competed nationally in gymnastics, completing her athletic career at UC Berkeley. She currently serves as a mentor to a gymnast from her alma mater and remains close to her Golden Bears teammates. She can still do a back handspring!
When asked what the best part of her job is, she noted, “Working with so many collaborative and motivated colleagues who have different areas of expertise, and watching the magic happen when they come together, and their talents synergize to create something truly novel.”