VP Molecular Biology

Maria P. MacWilliams Ph.D. is Vice President of Molecular Biology at Tavotek Biotherapeutics. Dr. MacWilliams has over 30 years experience with synthetic protein design and development of novel cell based assays. Her scientific career spans many diverse areas of science including protein engineering, structure-function studies of DNA recombinases and nucleases, analyses of small molecule drug complexes, soil metagenomics, and environmental microbiology. Dr. MacWilliams has strong expertise in developing assays to elucidate complex molecular interactions.

Dr. MacWilliams obtained her B.S. in Biology with Honors from Saint Joseph’s University (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) and her Masters and Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. After a short post-doctoral stint during which she established a new research direction for her Ph.D. mentor and a collaborator, she did post-doctoral research at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel (Basel, Switzerland). Dr. MacWilliams held faculty appointments at Seton Hall University and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. In addition to her major contributions to science education at the college level, she is committed to community outreach programs in support of scientific understanding for all. Dr. MacWilliams is most proud of the 38 masters, undergraduate and high school students she has mentored during her time in academia.

After nearly two decades in academia, she transitioned to the pharmaceutical industry, working in antibody engineering and high-throughput screening at Janssen and then developing gene editing techniques to create novel cell-based therapeutics at IO Biosciences. Her publication record includes 14 research articles in high-impact journals as well as several methods articles and numerous scientific meeting presentations.