Featured Professor: Matthew Sills

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Dr. Matthew Sills, who joined the Professional Science Masters program in July, 2015, worked in the pharmaceutical industry in the area of drug discovery for 27 years at both large pharmaceutical and small biotechnology companies. He began his career in the pharmaceutical industry at Ciba-Geigy (later Novartis), where he was primarily involved in the area of Lead Discovery.

He directed a group of 40 scientists, who were responsible for activities in the areas of assay development, protein expression and production, high throughput screening, automation, information technologies, in silico screening and compound management. During this time, Dr. Sills served as President of the Society for Bimolecular Screening (currently the Society for Laboratory Automation and Science) from 2000-2001.

In 2003, Dr. Sills joined Pharmacopeia, where he helped to develop the company’s internal research program. In addition to leading scientific project teams in the areas of inflammation and cardiovascular disease, he directed the preclinical pharmacology and toxicology group, which was responsible for internal and external studies in the areas of GLP toxicology, safety pharmacology, genotoxicity, drug metabolism and other IND-enabling nonclinical studies.

In 2009, Dr. Sills joined AD4-Pharma, a small biotech company focused on early-stage drug discovery in oncology, as Chief Science Officer. There, he was responsible for directing internal and external biological research.

In 2012, Dr. Sills joined Merck as the Director of the Assay Operations, a group of 30 scientists that evaluated compounds in in vitro and cellular assays for more than 25 lead optimization programs in multiple therapeutic areas, including cardiovascular, neuroscience and diabetes research. More recently, Dr. Sills was an adjunct professor at the College of Pharmacy at Fairleigh Dickinson University, where he developed and taught an elective course for 3rd year Pharmacy students. 

Dr. Sills obtained his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Pennsylvania and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the NIH. Prior to his graduate studies, he graduated from the Rutgers College of Pharmacy. Although reluctant to give the year of his graduation, he does acknowledge that it was a 5-year curriculum and the degree conferred was a B.S. degree.

At Rutgers, he met his wife of 35 years (they were married VERY young), who obtained a PharmD degree and also works in the pharmaceutical industry. Their sons, Evan and Adam, made sure to avoid the sciences and currently work in the areas of cyberintelligence and industrial engineering, respectively.

When not working, Dr. Sills enjoys music, including classical rock (or what his sons call “Oldies"), smooth jazz and classical music. In addition to playing the piano, he also sings in a local choir. Dr. Sills volunteers in his local community, and enjoys spinning classes (i.e. stationary bike), hiking vacations and traveling.  He has been a life-long New York Yankee baseball fan, although he mentioned that antacids have become a requirement for following the team this year.