Biography & Research:
Ilya obtained his Ph.D. in Biophysics from the Belarus National Academy of Sciences in 1975 and received a postdoctoral fellowship in the Laboratory of Membrane Biophysics in the Institute of Photobiology, where he was studying signalling structural rearrangements of cell membranes in response to external stimuli. From 1991 till 1995 was employed at ImmunoPharmaceutics, Inc. (San Diego, CA), where he participated in discovery and development of novel drugs to treat Pulmonary hypertension. In 1996, he has co-founded a Biotechnology company, AXIOM Biotechnologies, Inc. (San Diego, CA), where he served as a Vice President and developed an automated system for high throughput evaluation of drug potencies to interact with receptors in a cell-based functional format, which then was acquired by Sequenom. Since 2001, Ilya worked at ChemDiv, Inc. (San Diego, CA), where he served as Vice President of Biology and was responsible for both the in-house and pharmaceutical industry collaborators-initiated drug discovery projects. He has published more than 100 scientific articles and was PI on several Phase I and Phase II SBIR and STTR grants. Dr. Okun’s areas of interest are focused around molecular mechanisms involved into different aspects of cellular failures that lead to decline in neuro-homeostasis.