Vice President, Research
Jennifer Nelson joined Flagship Pioneering in 2022 as Vice President, Research working on Avak Kahvejian’s origination team. In this role she helps launch and develop bioplatform companies, oversees platform-related strategy, research, and builds throughout the ProtoCo and early NewCo stages.
Jennifer has 14 years of industry experience and has been part of the Flagship ecosystem for almost 10 years. Her most recent position was Head of Vaccines at Laronde, where she led a team of scientists exploring novel applications for eRNA. In addition to overseeing in vivo proof of concept work for various infectious disease indications, Jennifer also contributed to portfolio and IP strategy, as well as early build-out of platform and manufacturing capabilities. Prior to Laronde, Jennifer took on roles of increasing responsibility at Moderna Therapeutics. Ultimately, she led a team responsible for developing novel ways of making and modifying mRNA therapeutics to tune biological performance. Jennifer began her industry career working on aptamers (unique oligonucleotide-based molecules selected to bind a specific target molecule) at both Archemix Therapeutics and later GSK. Among other projects, she worked on a TFPI aptamer acquired by Baxter and an IL-23 aptamer explored for the topical treatment of psoriasis. In graduate school Jennifer studied the biochemical properties of the hammerhead ribozyme (a catalytically active RNA) building fundamental understanding on how RNA structure contributes to its function.
Jennifer is an author on numerous articles and patents focused on various nucleic acid technologies including ribozymes, aptamers, mRNA, and circular RNA.
Jennifer holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of Colorado Boulder, a Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in Extension Studies, field: Management from Harvard University and a BA from Northwestern University.