Dr. Kotterman is an experienced researcher with roughly 10 years of experience in virology, molecular biology and gene therapy vector discovery. She is currently a co-founder and Director of Discovery Research at 4D Molecular Therapeutics, a gene therapy company, where she oversees AAV vector discovery efforts for over 10 different tissues and therapeutic areas.

Melissa received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and her Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. Her Ph.D. research focused on using directed evolution to develop gene delivery vectors based on adeno-associated virus (AAV) as tools for use in both basic research and in therapeutic applications.
Specifically, she developed AAV vectors to improve gene delivery to human embryonic stem cells and adult neural stem cells. In addition, she helped to discover novel AAV variants that resist neutralization by antibodies in human sera. Melissa has co-authored over 15 patents, publications, and presentations relating to AAV gene delivery.

Melissa’s relevant scientific publications include:

  • Engineering adeno-associated viruses for clinical gene therapy. Kotterman MA, Schaffer DV. Nat Rev Genet. 2014 Jul;15(7):445-51.
  • Viral Vectors for Gene Therapy: Translational and Clinical Outlook. Kotterman MA, Chalberg TW, Schaffer DV. Annu Rev Biomed Eng. 2015;17:63-89.
  • Enhanced selective gene delivery to neural stem cells in vivo by an adeno-associated viral variant. Kotterman MA, Vazin T, Schaffer DV. Development. 2015 May 15;142(10):1885-92.
  • Antibody neutralization poses a barrier to intravitreal adeno-associated viral vector gene delivery to non-human primates. Kotterman MA, Yin L, Strazzeri JM, Flannery JG, Merigan WH, Schaffer DV. Gene Ther. 2015 Feb;22(2):116-26.