Melissa has more than two decades of experience in antibody engineering. She leads a team of five PhDs and five Associate Scientists, and heads the Lead Optimization group in Gaithersburg.

Melissa began her research career characterizing prokaryotic methylases at the Medical College of Ohio before moving to Washington DC in 1987. She was a Microbiologist working at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda for four years. Her work in the laboratory of Louis Matis, MD, characterizing murine T cell receptors was published in several high-caliber scientific journals.

In 1991, Melissa joined MedImmune as a bench researcher. Early in her MedImmune career, she contributed to the engineering of Synagis™, and with a series of promotions of increasing responsibility, continued to make an impact on many pipeline programs. For the last 13 years, Melissa has built a quality group focused on engineering antibodies with optimized properties, such as ultra high affinity, reduced immunogenicity, good developability and improved potency. Her team handles the optimization of multiple antibodies per year, and also contributes to the characterization of the antibody binding properties that include epitope mapping and crystallography.

A Day in the Life


Currently, Melissa represents the department for several drug programs in four therapeutic areas, and is a member of the Global Leadership team for the ADPE department.


Co-inventor on patent for the novel humanization platform Framework Shuffling


Expertise in Genomic DNA prep, western and northern blots, ELISA, recombinant DNA techniques, baculovirus protein expression, automated sequencing, oligo primer design and DNA synthesis


Designed and implemented research-driven developability assessment to reduce resource requirements and time

Featured Publications

A Monoclonal Antibody to ADAM17 Inhibits Tumor Growth by Inhibiting EGFR and Non-EGFR-Mediated Pathways

Rios-Doria J, Sabol D, Chesebrough J, Stewart D, Xu L, Tammali R, Cheng L, Du Q, Schifferli K, Rothstein R, Leow CC, Heidbrink-Thompson J, Jin X, Gao C, Friedman J, Wilkinson B, Damschroder M, Pierce AJ, Hollingsworth RE, Tice DA, Michelotti EF. Mol Cancer Ther. 2015 May 6.

Molecular basis for antagonistic activity of anifrolumab, an anti-interferon-α receptor 1 antibody. Damschroder MM

Peng L, Oganesyan V, Wu H, Dall'Acqua WF. MAbs. 2015;7(2):428-39.

Bi-epitope SPR surfaces: a solution to develop robust immunoassays

Peng L, Damschroder MM, Wu H, Dall'Acqua WF. PLoS One. 2014 Nov 5;9(11):e112070.

Mechanisms of neutralization of a human anti-α-toxin antibody 

Oganesyan V, Peng L, Damschroder MM, Cheng L, Sadowska A, Tkaczyk C, Sellman BR, Wu H, Dall'Acqua WF. J Biol Chem. 2014 Oct 24;289(43):29874-80.

Current approaches to fine mapping of antigen-antibody interactions

Abbott WM, Damschroder MM, Lowe DC. Immunology. 2014 Aug;142(4):526-35 (Review).

Structural insights into neonatal Fc receptor-based recycling mechanisms 

Oganesyan V, Damschroder MM, Cook KE, Li Q, Gao C, Wu H, Dall'Acqua WF. J Biol Chem. 2014 Mar 14;289(11):7812-24.

Assessment of an anti-alpha-toxin monoclonal antibody for prevention and treatment of Staphylococcus aureus-induced pneumonia

Hua L, Hilliard JJ, Shi Y, Tkaczyk C, Cheng LI, Yu X, Datta V, Ren S, Feng H, Zinsou R, Keller A, O'Day T, Du Q, Cheng L, Damschroder M, Robbie G, Suzich J, Stover CK, Sellman BR. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2014;58(2):1108-17.

MEDI0639: a novel therapeutic antibody targeting Dll4 modulates endothelial cell function and angiogenesis in vivo

Jenkins, D. W., Ross, S., Veldman-Jones, M., Foltz, I. N., Clavette, B. C., Manchulenko, K., Eberlein, C., Kendrew, J., Petteruti, P., Cho, S., Damschroder, M., Peng, L., Baker, D., Smith, N. R., Weir, H. M., Blakey, D. C., Bedian. V. and Barry, S. T. Mol Cancer Ther (2012); 11, 1650-60.


The CEA/CD3-Bispecific Antibody MEDI-565 (MT111) Binds a Nonlinear Epitope in the Full-Length but Not a Short Splice Variant of CEA

Peng, L., Oberst, M. D., Huang, J., Brohawn, P., Morehouse, C., Lekstrom, K., Baeuerle, P. A., Wu, H., Yao, Y., Coats, S. R., Dall'Acqua, W., Damschroder, M1 and Hammond, S. A. PLoS One(2012); 7(5), e36412. 1Corresponding author.


Structural and Functional Characterization of an Agonistic Anti-Human EphA2 Monoclonal Antibody

Peng L, Oganesyan V, Damschroder MM, Wu H, Dall'acqua WF. J Mol Biol (2011); 413(2):390-405.

B-cell depletion in vitro and in vivo with an afucosylated anti-CD19 antibody

Herbst R, Wang Y, Gallagher S, Mittereder N, Kuta E, Damschroder M, Woods R, Rowe DC, Cheng L, Cook K, Evans K, Sims GP, Pfarr DS, Bowen MA, Dall'Acqua W, Shlomchik M, Tedder TF, Kiener P, Jallal B, Wu H, Coyle AJ. J Pharmacol Exp Ther (2010); 335(1):213-22.

Crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis of the complex of a human anti-ephrin type-A receptor 2 antibody fragment and its cognate antigen

Oganesyan V, Damschroder MM, Phipps S. Wilson SD, Cook KE, Wu H, Dall’Acqua WF. Acta Cryst (2010); F66, 730–3.


MEDI-563, a humanized anti-IL-5 receptor a mAb with enhanced antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity function

Kolbeck R, Kozhich A, Koike M, Peng L, Andersson CK, Damschroder MM, Reed JL, Woods R, Dall’Acqua WW, Stephens GL, Erjefalt JS, Bjermer L, Humbles AA, Gossage D, Wu H, Kiener PA, Spitalny GL, Mackay CR, Molfino NA, Coyle AJ. J Allergy Clin Immunol (2010); 125(6):1344-53.


Antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity effector-enhanced EphA2 agonist monoclonal antibody demonstrates potent activity against human tumors

Bruckheimer, E.M., Fazenbaker, C.A., Gallagher, S., Mulgrew, K., Fuhrmann, S., Coffman, K.T., Walsh, W., Ready, S., Cook, K., Damschroder, M., Kinch, M., Kiener P.A., Woods, R., Gao, C., Dall'Acqua, W., Wu, H. and Coats, S. Neoplasia (2009); 11, 509-17.


Structural characterization of a human Fc fragment engineered for extended serum half-life

Oganesyan V, Damschroder MM, Woods RM, Cook KE, Wu H, Dall’Acqua WF. Mol Immunol (2009); 46(8-9):1750-5.


Crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis of the complex between a human anti-interferon antibody fragment and human interferon alpha-2A

Oganesyan V, Damschroder MM, Cook KE, Wu H, Dall'Acqua WF. Acta Cryst (2009); F65(Pt 1):14-6.


Structural characterization of a mutated, ADCC-enhanced human Fc fragment

Oganesyan V, Damschroder MM, Leach W, Wu H, Dall'Acqua WF. Mol Immunol(2008); 45(7):1872-82.


Framework shuffling of antibodies to reduce immunogenicity and manipulate functional and biophysical properties

Damschroder MM, Widjaja L, Gill PS, Krasnoperov V, Jiang W, Dall'Acqua WF, Wu H. Mol Immunol (2007); 44(11):3049-60.


Direct targeting of alphavbeta3 integrin on tumor cells with a monoclonal antibody, Abegrin 

Mulgrew K, Kinneer K, Yao XT, Ward BK, Damschroder MM, Walsh B, Mao SY, Gao C, Kiener PA, Coats S, Kinch MS, Tice DA. Mol Cancer Ther(2006); 5(12):3122-9.


Modulation of the effector functions of a human IgG1 through engineering of its hinge region

Dall'Acqua WF, Cook KE, Damschroder MM, Woods RM, Wu HJ Immunol (2006); 177(2):1129-38.


Antibody humanization by framework shuffling 

Dall'Acqua WF, Damschroder MM, Zhang J, Woods RM, Widjaja L, Yu J, Wu H. Methods (2005); 36(1):43-60.


Analysis of human and primate CD2 molecules by protein sequence and epitope mapping with anti-human CD2 antibodies 

Damschroder MM, Kozhich AA, Woods RM, Cheng L, Mullikin BA, Wilson SD, Ulbrandt ND, Bachy CM, Wu H, Suzich JA, Kiener PA, Dall'Acqua WF, White WI. Mol Immunol (2004); 41(10):985-1000.


Identification and characterization of a novel family of pneumococcal proteins that are protective against sepsis

Adamou JE, Heinrichs JH, Erwin AL, Walsh W, Gayle T, Dormitzer M, Dagan R, Brewah YA, Barren P, Lathigra R, Langermann S, Koenig S, Johnson S.  Infect Immun (2001); 69(2):949-58.


Development of a humanized monoclonal antibody (MEDI-493) with potent in vitro and in vivo activity against respiratory syncytial virus

Johnson S, Oliver C, Prince GA, Hemming VG, Pfarr DS, Wang SC, Dormitzer M, O'Grady J, Koenig S, Tamura JK, Woods R, Bansal G, Couchenour D, Tsao E, Hall WC, Young JF. J Infect Dis(1997); 176(5):1215-24.

Tissue-specific expression of messenger RNAs encoding endogenous viral superantigens

Jarvis CD, Germain RN, Hager GL, Damschroder M, Matis LA. J Immunol (1994); 152(3):1032-8.


Profound alteration in an alpha beta T-cell antigen receptor repertoire due to polymorphism in the first complementarity-determining region of the beta chain. 

Gahm SJ, Fowlkes BJ, Jameson SC, Gascoigne NR, Cotterman MM, Kanagawa O, Schwartz RH, Matis LA. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. (1991); 88(22):10267-71.


Junctional sequences influence the specificity of gamma/delta T cell receptors. 

Rellahan BL, Bluestone JA, Houlden BA, Cotterman MM, Matis LA. J Exp Med. 1991 Feb 1;173(2):503-6.


The influence of self-MHC and non-MHC antigens on the selection of an antigen-specific T cell receptor repertoire.

Fry AM, Cotterman MM, Matis LA. J Immunol. 1989 Oct 15;143(8):2723-9.


Structure and specificity of a class II MHC alloreactive gamma delta T cell receptor heterodimer

Matis LA, Fry AM, Cron RQ, Cotterman MM, Dick RF, Bluestone JA. Science (1989); 245(4919):746-9.

Sequence, internal homology and high-level expression of the gene for a DNA-(cytosine N4)-methyltransferase, M.Pvu II. 

Tao T, Walter J, Brennan KJ, Cotterman MM, Blumenthal RM. Nucleic Acids Res (1989); 17(11):4161-75.


Structure and specificity of T cell receptor gamma/delta on major histocompatibility complex antigen-specific CD3+, CD4-, CD8- T lymphocytes. 

Bluestone JA, Cron RQ, Cotterman M, Houlden BA, Matis LA. J Exp Med. 1988 Nov 1;168(5):1899-916.


Isolation of mutants in a DNA methyltransferase through mcrB-mediated restriction. 

Blumenthal RM, Cotterman MM. Gene (1988); 74(1):271-3.


Structure and specificity of T cell receptor gamma/delta on major histocompatibility complex antigen-specific CD3+, CD4-, CD8- T lymphocytes. 

Bluestone JA, Cron RQ, Cotterman M, Houlden BA, Matis LA. J Exp Med (1988); 168(5):1899-916.

Awards and honors


MedImmune Bronze Special Recognition Award


MedImmune Silver Special Recognition Award


MedImmune Silver Special Recognition Award

It’s enormously rewarding to lead a team that is passionate about novel technology development, and to advocate for and support their work to establish new platforms, develop new assays and characterize leads.

Melissa Damschroder Associate Director, R&D, Antibody Discovery and Protein Engineering

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