About / Scientific and Medical Advisory Board

William Baer, MD, PharmD

William Baer, MD, PharmD William Baer, MD, PharmD is Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer of VARI-ClinXus, LLC, a non-profit, translational research arm of the Van Andel Institute. Dr. Baer is a longtime practitioner of internal medicine at Grand Valley Medical Specialists. He has been active with many Critical Path Institute’s (C-Path) Predictive Safety Testing Consortium (PSTC) working groups, served as chair of the Translational Medicine Working Group, and is well suited to help lead the emerging life sciences community in West Michigan. With a background in pharmacology and a continuing interest in pharmacogenomic research, Dr. Baer brings medical knowledge, visionary leadership and collaborative spirit to the task of achieving efficiencies in clinical research and drug development.Dr. Baer is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Nurses Choice Award: Physician of the Year from Spectrum Health Hospital Systems in 2008. Dr. Baer serves in various board/medical director capacities with a number of innovative and forward thinking organizations including Metagenics, Inc. and he is co-chair of the Translational Medicine Working Group of C-Paths PSTC. Dr. Baer received his MD from West Virginia University School of Medicine and did his residency with Michigan State University.

Charles F. Burant, MD, PhD

Charles F. Burant, MD, PhD Charles F. Burant, MD, PhD, is the Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Professor of Metabolism at the University of Michigan Medical School. Dr. Burant received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and his graduate and medical degrees from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. He completed his residency training at the University of California, San Francisco along with a fellowship in Endocrinology at the University of Chicago. Dr. Burant joined the faculty at the University of Michigan Medical Center in 1999. His clinical interests are in the area of metabolic syndromes and management of type 2 diabetes. Dr. Burant’s research laboratory investigates the mechanisms of insulin resistance and uses animal models of diabetes to identify pathways important in understanding diabetes progression. Additionally, his lab also studies adult pancreatic progenitor cells and how they might be used to generate new insulin secreting beta-cells.

Rolf Kletzien, PhD

Sr. Vice President of Research, Co-Founder

Rolf Kletzien, PhD Dr. Rolf Kletzien is a co-founder of MSDC and is internationally known for his scientific and clinical contributions to the understanding of the molecular and cellular basis of human therapeutics. He holds numerous patents and is the author of more than 70 publications focused mainly on endocrine control of intermediary metabolism and cell growth, including the seminal 1996 study published in Biochemical Pharmacology that first showed the effect of thiazolidinediones on brown adipose tissue differentiation. He co-founded MSDC in 2006 and helped create a new pharmaceutical business model based on replacing the services and infrastructure of large pharmaceutical companies with a capital-efficient yet robust combination of internal and external world-class drug discovery and development scientists.

Dr. Kletzien entered the pharmaceutical industry in 1989 with The Upjohn Company and played important roles in the discovery and development of therapeutics in diabetes, infectious diseases, and cancer. He held numerous leadership positions there, as well as with Pharmacia & Upjohn, Pharmacia, and Pfizer, including executive management posts overseeing domestic and European scientists in cancer research, cellular & molecular biology, protein sciences, genomics, and biotechnology. Until 2005 he served as vice president of genomics and biotechnology for Pfizer. He is currently an adjunct professor of biology at Western Michigan University.

In 1983, Dr. Kletzien was named to the scientific advisory board for the US Air Force, where he was awarded the “Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service” in 1986. He has served on the boards of the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health Endocrinology and Medical Biochemistry Study Sections, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and is a member of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Kletzien was named a research fellow in pharmacology at Harvard Medical School and the Dana/Farber Cancer Center and later accepted a faculty appointment in the department of biochemistry at West Virginia University School of Medicine. There he received the Outstanding Teaching Award and was the recipient of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Career Development Award in diabetes.

Dr. Kletzien has a BS in biochemistry and a PhD in oncology from the University of Wisconsin. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at McArdle Laboratory of Cancer Research and was a post-doctoral research associate in the department of biochemical sciences at Princeton University.

Douglas R. Morton Jr., PhD

Douglas R. Morton Jr., PhD Douglas R. Morton Jr., PhD is a consultant to the pharmaceutical industry, specializing in discovery, early development and strategic alliances. He was previously CEO of the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center located in Kalamazoo, Michigan, an incubator and accelerator that provides wet-laboratory space, access to venture funding and business services to emerging companies in the life sciences arena. Dr. Morton spent the majority of his career in the pharmaceutical industry, joining The Upjohn Company in 1973. He remained with the surviving entity, serving in a series of increasingly significant discovery research management positions. At the time of Pharmacia’s merger with Pfizer in 2003, Dr. Morton was Group Vice President, Technology Acquisitions and Operations for Discovery Research.

Dr. Morton holds an AB in chemistry from Kenyon College and a PhD in organic chemistry from Columbia University. He completed postdoctoral studies in organic chemistry at Stanford University. Dr. Morton now serves on the Scientific Advisory Board and Management Committee of the Southwest Michigan First Life Science Venture Fund, the SAB for Hopen Life Sciences, the IAB for Cleveland Clinic Foundation Innovations and the Managing Directors for the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center. He also serves on the board of directors of Tolera Therapeutics, Inc., TCH Pharmaceuticals, Inc., NephRx Corporation and Renovo Neural, Inc.