CTI Leadership

CTI Leadership

CTI is part of Pfizer’s BioTherapeutics Research Group. With our first partnership established in October 2010, we now have more than 80 CTI colleagues working to transform the drug discovery process, ultimately speeding the process to bring powerful, targeted treatments and cures to patients.


    Uwe Schoenbeck, Ph.D. 
    Chief Scientific Officer
    External Science & Innovation (ES&I)
    Senior Vice President, Pfizer Worldwide R&D

    Chief Scientific Officer Uwe Schoenbeck leads Pfizer’s External Science & Innovation (ES&I) team, part of Worldwide R&D, which seeks to build a premier integrated external portfolio and innovative sourcing group to access and progress the best science from academic institutions, industry and biotechs. This global team identifies and establishes partnerships to gain first access to cutting edge science, innovative disease targets, drug candidates as well as platform technologies, from exploratory to clinical proof of concept and covers both small and large molecule approaches together with gene and cell therapies. ES&I maintains an in-depth network into key scientific global hubs through a science liaison model serving not only the needs of the Pfizer research units and R&D strategic priorities, but open to emerging and innovative ideas harvested from its targeted exploration centers, incubators, seed funds and investments vehicles.

    Prior to joining Pfizer in 2009, Uwe was Vice President, External R&D Innovation for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and was a member of the Wyeth’s R&D Executive Committee where he was responsible for developing and implementing Wyeth’s External R&D strategy and operations. Preceding his time at Wyeth Uwe served as the Vice President, Cardiovascular Research for Boehringer Ingelheim in Ridgefield, CT, and was responsible for the global cardiovascular research strategy and drug discovery program from target identification to Pre-Development including life cycle management for marketed and advanced pipeline products. Prior to joining Boehringer in 2003, he held the position of Assistant Professor of Medicine, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

    Uwe received his degree from the University of Kiel, Germany, and completed postdoctoral training in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, before joining as a faculty member. Uwe has served as a reviewer for multiple peer-reviewed journals (incl. Circulation, Circulation Research, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Journal of Experimental Medicine, Journal of Immunology, Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), Nature Medicine, and the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences U.S.A.) and has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, review articles/book chapters and abstracts with particular contributions in areas such as molecular & cell biology, cardiovascular research, immunology and metabolism.

  • Dr. DAVID SHIELDS East Coast Site Head Open or Close
    Dr. DAVID SHIELDS East Coast Site Head

    David Shields, Ph.D. 
    CTI East Coast Site Head
    External Science & Innovation (ES&I)
    Executive Director, Pfizer Worldwide R&D

    Dr. David Shields is the East Coast Head for CTI and leads CTI activities in New York, Boston and Europe. Prior to his role at CTI, Dr. Shields was the Research Lead for the Pfizer Pediatric Oncology Team and the Director of Oncology Therapeutics Discovery in focus areas such as immuno-oncology, epigenetics and cell cycle biology. Dr. Shields has held Group Leader positions across portfolio stages at Pfizer from Target Discovery to Translational Research, led Combination and Resistance Strategy for Pfizer Oncology Research and directed pre-clinical translational support for assets such as Sutent (sunitinb), Inlyta (axitinib) and Ibrance (palbociclib).

    Dr. Shields holds a Certificate in Medical Laboratory Sciences from Cork Institute of Technology, Ireland, a BSc(Hons) in Biomedical Sciences from University College Cork, Ireland and a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Alberta, Canada. Subsequent to his graduate studies, Dr. Shields conducted post-doctoral training at The Scripps Research Institute and University of California, San Diego, and was a Research Project Scientist at Moores UCSD Comprehensive Cancer Center. He has authored more than 25 scientific publications. Dr. Shields is a member of the IMI2 Strategic Governing Group for Oncology and is the Pfizer Lead for the public/private ITCC-P4 Pediatric Oncology consortium project.


    Joseph Dal Porto, Ph.D. 
    CTI West Coast Site Head
    External Science & Innovation (ES&I)
    Executive Director, Pfizer Worldwide R&D

    Dr. Dal Porto is the West Coast Site head overseeing CTI activities for both the San Francisco and San Diego offices. In 2011, Joe was the first hire for CTI-SF, now CTI-California, in 2011 and helped launch the inaugural programs for CTI with UC San Francisco. Prior to CTI, Joe was Co-Founder and Director of Research and Development for Modus Biomedicine which was a spin-out from his work at Roche Biosciences, Palo Alto. At Roche, he served as a project and group leader in the Immunology and Inflammation Discovery Division. Dr. Dal Porto is an expert in cellular and molecular immunology and has worked in the fields of inflammation, autoimmunity and immuno-oncology for over 10 years. He has been involved in small and large molecule drug development and provided scientific support for several clinical-stage programs.

    Dr. Dal Porto received his B.S. in Biochemistry from The Johns Hopkins University, and remained in Maryland to obtain his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine. His graduate studies were focused in the field of cellular immunology in the laboratory of Dr. Garnett Kelso, where he examined the mechanisms behind humoral immune responses (i.e., clonal selection, affinity maturation, memory, etc.). Moving from the outside to the inside of the cell, Joe received an Ares-Serono Young Investigator award to study lymphocyte signaling as a post-doc in the laboratory of Dr. John Cambier at the National Jewish Medical Research Center and University of Colorado Health Science Center (Denver, CO). He remained in Denver to pursue a junior faculty position at NJMRC/UCHSC before taking a position with Roche, Palo Alto. In 2006, he was the recipient of an NIH RO1 grant for work in the field of molecular signaling in autoimmunity. Joe has numerous publications in top-tier peer-reviewed journals, authored several book chapters, as well as having presented his work at the international level.


    Sam O’Connor 
    External Science & Innovation (ES&I)
    Executive Director, Pfizer Worldwide R&D

    Sam O’Connor joined CTI in 2014, leading the strategic and operational functions for CTI. Sam trained as a molecular microbiologist in Australia prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry in 1997, when she joined Medicines Australia, the non-profit professional and trade association representing Australia’s prescription pharmaceutical industry. She joined Pfizer in 1999 to initiate and lead Pfizer’s R&D investment program in Australia, during which time she also served as Non-Executive Director on the National Board of Directors of AusBiotech, the non-profit association representing the Australian biotech industry. Sam moved to Pfizer’s UK research site in 2003, taking up responsibilities for in- and out-licensing and strategic alliances across a range of therapeutic and technology areas. She also received her MBA during her time in the UK. In 2011, Sam moved to Pfizer’s US operations in Cambridge MA, continuing in her Business Development role prior to joining CTI in 2014. Having been responsible for building and managing many hundreds of partnerships between industry, academia, patient foundations, financial investors and policy makers across Australasia, Europe and the Americas, and across many therapeutic and technology areas, Sam has an unwavering belief in the ever-growing role cross-functional partnerships play in driving innovation and the evolution of organizations.