Kennedy Agwamba (Bioinformatics Programmer)
Kennedy joins NYSCF with technical experience ranging from working as a summer research assistant at the Broad Institute, a software development engineering intern at Amazon, and most recently a data science intern for Sage Bionetworks. His interests include whole genome sequence analysis, variant detection, software development and graph database management. Kennedy recently graduated from Harvey Mudd College with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematical and Computational Biology.
Cindy Anzel (Senior Director, Operations)
Cindy joined the NYSCF team in January 2011 as our Senior Director of Operations. Cindy comes to NYSCF with an expert facilities and administration skill set with an emphasis on human resources, technology, strategic facilities planning and management, project management, vendor program control, team management and process improvement. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland.
Lauren Bauer Vensand (Director, Project Management & Laboratory Operations)
Lauren joined NYSCF in 2009 and is currently responsible for the project management of all NYSCF pharmaceutical projects and oversees the NYSCF Laboratory Operations team. She brings previous experience in administration, operations, and research, including two years in the Lykke-Andersen Lab in the Department of MCD Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, studying the mechanism of mRNA decay. She is pursuing a MS in Biotechnology at Johns Hopkins University and received a BA cum laude in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her research at NYSCF has focused on the use of iPS cells to study Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Lydia Boisi (Program Coordinator, Office of the CEO)
Lydia Mailander joined the NYSCF team in August 2013. Prior to this, she worked in Zimbabwe for Environment Africa, a local NGO, and in Kenya for Millennium Villages Project focusing on health care innovation. Lydia graduated from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in 2013 with a masters in global health policy and management and from Yale University in 2010 with a BA in the history of science and medicine. While at Yale, Lydia competed on the varsity volleyball team earning an Ivy League title in 2008. Currently, she enjoys playing recreational beach volleyball on the weekends.
Katie Brenner (Director, Project Management)
Katie joined NYSCF in June 2011, following six years of managerial and hands-on assay development experience at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute’s therapeutic screening facility, where she performed drug screenings on motor neurons she cultured and differentiated from both mouse and human embryonic stem cells. Prior to that, Katie worked at Curis, Inc., where she helped derive and characterize embryonic stem cell lines from a mouse model of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. She is excited to apply her background in large-scale biology in both academic and industry settings to managing the development and daily coordination of The NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array. Katie has a BS in Biology from Siena College.
Geoff Buckley-Herd (Research Associate II, Automation Systems)
Geoff studied at the University of Calgary where he obtained his B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering in 2010, during which time he interned for the Department of National Defence conducting research into solid-state detonations. In 2013 he received his M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering where he investigated the role of mechanical loading in stem cell tissue engineering for cartilage repair. In his spare time he thoroughly enjoys cooking, baking, traveling, hiking, video games, and reading.
Wendy Castro (Controller)
Wendy joined the NYSCF Finance team this week as our Assistant Controller. Prior to NYSCF, Wendy was a manager at EisnerAmper, LLP where she was responsible for the oversight of audit services to a variety of non-profit entities. Wendy received her Bachelor degree from Baruch College. She is currently a member of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Stephen Chang, PhD (SVP, Strategic Initiatives)
As the Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at The New York Stem Cell Foundation, Dr. Stephen Chang has overall responsibility for planning, coordinating, and managing the activities of the research department. In this role, he provides senior leadership in the areas of research and development, oversight of short and long term projects with regulations and policies related to administration and business units, partnerships with industry and other research institutions, and supervision and evaluation of projects.
Prior to joining NYSCF, Dr. Chang served as Chief Scientific Officer of Stemgent upon the company's founding in 2008. He was previously the CEO of Multicell Technologies and continues as a director of this company.
Dr. Chang is president of CURES, a coalition of patient advocates, biotechnology companies, pharmaceutical companies, and venture capitalists dedicated to ensuring the safety, research, and development of innovative lifesaving medications. He is also a board member of Histogen, Inc., a privately held company in regenerative medicine.
Dr. Chang received his PhD in biological chemistry, molecular biology, and biochemistry from the University of California, Irvine. Areas of research interest include translational applications of basic science to pharmaceutical products.
Giuseppe Maria de Peppo, PhD (NYSCF – Ralph Lauren Investigator)
Dr. de Peppo’s current research focuses on engineering vascularized bone substitutes using human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells for reconstructive therapies of the skeletal system. In 2007 he was awarded a Marie Curie fellowship at the Department of Biomaterials at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, where he received his PhD. The understanding of how biomaterial properties influence cell behavior has been central to his work. He received a BSc Degree in Biotechnology at La Sapienza University in Rome and a MSc degree in Medical Biotechnology at Bicocca University in Milan, during which he conducted research at the Biomaterial Engineering Department at Politecnico di Milano. Dr. de Peppo was awarded the best prize for his doctoral thesis in 2011 at the University of Gothenburg.
Sean DesMarteau (Automation Engineer)
Sean joined NYSCF in December 2015 as an Automation Engineer, following his experience as a Test Engineer at the Boeing Satellite Development Center in Los Angeles, CA. During his time at Boeing, Sean developed and operated automated test system hardware and software, supporting the production of a wide range of satellite RF electronics. He joins the team to support the NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array and develop new automation technologies. Sean holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Loyola Marymount University.
Jason DiGiacomo (Grants Coordinator)
Jason joined NYSCF in September 2009, working, initially, in Events. He has a BA in both History and Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. While a senior at Pitt, he had two plays produced and also stage-managed a number of other productions. Prior to joining NYSCF, he received his MA in English Literature from Brooklyn College.
Panos Douvaras, PhD (Staff Scientist)
Panagiotis joined NYSCF on May 2011 after a short post-doc at Mount Sinai School of Medicine studying hematopoiesis and the induction of pluripotency in primitive erythrocytes. He received his PhD from Edinburgh University, where he studied the effects of age and Pax6 haploinsuficiency on limbal stem cells (adult stem cells maintaining the cornea of the eye). He also did an MSc by research at the Institute for Stem Cell Research in Edinburgh University where he used lineage tracing to detect multipotent progenitor populations in vivo. His current interests are focused on using human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells to model the defects and identify possible treatments for multiple sclerosis.
Kevin Eggan, PhD (Senior Scientific Advisor)
Kevin Eggan became NYSCF's Chief Scientific Officer in 2006 and is a founding member of NYSCF's Medical Advisory Board. He is Associate Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University and a Principal Investigator of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Dr. Eggan is also an Assistant Investigator of the Stowers Medical Institute and a MacArthur Fellow.
In 2008, he received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Bush. He is a 2006 MacArthur Fellow.
After receiving his PhD in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Eggan went to Harvard University as a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows.
Dieter Egli, PhD (Senior Research Fellow)
Dieter Egli’s research in the NYSCF laboratory currently focuses on the generation of therapeutically relevant cells for diabetes. His work has relevance for the use of stem cells to study disease, screen for new drugs, and cell replacement therapy. His research creating patient-specific stem cells using the DNA of patients with type 1 diabetes, first published in Nature in October 2011, was named the #1 Medical Breakthrough of 2011 by TIME magazine, which also named him one of 2011’s People Who Mattered. Dr. Egli earned his PhD at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. He received his postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Kevin Eggan at the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Harvard University, studying reprogramming after nuclear transfer. Dr. Egli is also an Adjunct Associate Research Scientist in the Division of Molecular Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University, and has a collaborative relationship with Columbia’s Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center.
Patrick Fenton, Automation Engineer
Patrick joined the NYSCF team in 2017 as an Automation Engineer. He cultivated his passion for drug discovery and progressive biotechnologies while pursuing his graduate education and performing research at MIT’s Langer Lab. He developed a particular interest in integrating automated systems, highlighted by creating a combinatorial hydrogel library that mitigates the foreign body response in primates. Working as a Field Application Engineer for Freeslate Inc enhanced his skills of automating workflows with the opportunity to deploy robots throughout Asia. Most recently he was able to successfully implement a valid automated ELISA assay program, CLIA compliant, for Genzyme-Sanofi. His expertise has prepared him to collaborate with the NYSCF team and provide support in developing methods for high-throughput manufacturing in an automated cell line production facility. As a triplet, he is close to his family and enjoys spending time with his Wheaten Terrier named Huxley.
Eliana Forero (Associate Director, Human Subjects Research)
Eliana joined the NYSCF team in 2012. As Associate Director, Human Subjects Research, Eliana is responsible for the organization, coordination, and overall integrity of Human Subjects Research at the NYSCF laboratory. Her previous experience is focused in the fields of ethics and laboratory research in genome stability. She has worked as a researcher at Columbia University Medical Center, The Rockefeller University and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), where she also served as council representative for the EMBL/EMBO Science and Society initiative. She is currently enrolled in a Masters in Research Bioethics at Clarkson University and Mount Sinai School of Medicine with a concentration in ethics of genetics and emerging technologies. Eliana received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College, where she was named Schupf Scholar for the Advancement of Women in Science. She is certified in holistic nutrition and explores the importance of diet and lifestyle on disease prevention.
Valentina Fossati (NYSCF Senior Investigator)
Valentina Fossati joined the NYSCF team as Helmsley investigator in January 2011. Her current interests include autoimmune diseases and particularly multiple sclerosis. She received her PhD at the University of Bologna. She joined Dr. Hans Snoeck’s lab in 2006, while still a PhD student. She has been working on the development of the immune system, focusing on B lymphocytes first and, as a post doctoral fellow, on the generation of thymic epithelial cells from embryonic stem cells. She was the recipient of a NYSCF – Druckenmiller Fellowship in 2009.
Yosif Ganat, PhD (Staff Scientist)
Yosif joined NYSCF as a Staff Scientist in 2015. He has extensive experience in generating hESC-derived midbrain dopamine (mDA) neurons and grafting these cells into rodent models of Parkinson’s disease. He has authored over 17 peer-reviewed publications and in 2010 earned a neuroscience PhD at Weill Cornell Graduate School in the laboratory of Lorenz Studer. At NYSCF he will adapt various hESC neural differentiation protocols to our automated array for applications in both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
Carmen Gill (Office Manager)
Carmen joined NYSCF in September, 2012. She comes with a background in operations, facilities, project team & executive support. She has worked in various industries including new media, engineering, and the Arts. She holds a B.A. from Brown University and a M.F.A. from the University of California, San Diego.
Jordan Goldberg (Automation Engineer)
Jordan Goldberg joins NYSCF in April 2015 as an Automation Technician. Having previously worked as a Robotics Services Coordinator at Medical Diagnostic Laboratories LLC in New Jersey, Jordan went on to get an MA in Biotechnology from Columbia University, while doing research in a chromatin architecture laboratory at the Sloan Kettering Institute and epigenetic research on gliomagenesis at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He joins a team to support the NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array.
Richard Ha (Programs Associate)
Richard joined NYSCF as a Programs Assistant focusing on our external programs. He received his BA from Columbia University in 2015. As both a Neuroscience & Behavior and East Asian Languages & Cultures major, he was able to study the neurobiology behind the spelling of words as well as the public health environment of Korea. He has interned for International Treatment Preparedness Coalition and volunteered with St. Luke’s Hospital during his time in college. In his spare time, Richard enjoys playing the oboe, catching up on reading, and exploring the city.
Ya-Chu Juliana Hsu, PhD (Associate Staff Scientist)
Dr. Ya-Chu Juliana Hsu joined the NYSCF team. As an Associate Staff Scientist, working under the direction of Dr. Aiqun Li, her research will focus on the cellular and molecular mechanism leading to Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Hsu graduated and obtained the highest award for her master’s degree thesis research in Hematology and Biochemistry from National Taiwan University. She received her PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Massachusetts- Amherst where she studied the development of the retina light-sensing cells using zebrafish as a genetic model. She completed her postdoctoral training at the Department of Ophthalmology at Weill Cornell Medicine. The focus of her research has been to elucidate the molecular basis that enables normal eyesight and the mechanism that leads to retina degeneration. Her works has been published in prestigious journals such as Biochemistry, Development, PNAS, Developmental Cell, and Nature Communications.
Christopher Hunter (Research Associate I, Automation Systems)
Christopher graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Arts in “Evolutionary Biology of the Human Species” in May 2016. Previously, Christopher interned with the Advanced Genome Technologies Core at the University of Vermont, where he developed a mouse cell line authentication assay. He is also passionate about music and is a classically trained singer.
Deanna Ingrassia (Research Associate II, Stem Cell Biology)
Deanna joined the NYSCF team in 2016 as a graduate intern with the Bone Engineering & Regeneration Group under Dr. Giuseppe Maria de Peppo. She now works with Dr. Monica Zhou focusing on blood reprogramming. Deanna graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a B.S. in biology/minor in biomathematics in 2014, and St. John’s University with an M.S. in Pharmaceutical and Biological Biotechnology in 2016. She has previous research experience with SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Stony Brook University and Columbia University Medical Center.
Tanya Jain (Research Associate II, MS)
Recent Graduate, Tanya Jain joins NYSCF as a May 2016 graduate from the University of Pennsylvania with a Master’s in Biotechnology. While at Penn, she worked with Dr. Dan Huh on biomimetic microengineering of hair follicles in vitro, and with Dr. Kenneth Zaret on heterochromatin establishment during embryonic development. If she looks familiar to you, it’s because she was an intern at NYSCF’s lab last summer, and worked with Dr. Daniel Paull on optimizing gene-editing tools available for iPSCs. Her research interests include stem cell biology, regenerative medicine, and tissue engineering, and her long-term goals involve obtaining a PhD in tissue engineering.
Bjarki Johannesson, PhD, MSc (NYSCF Investigator)
Bjarki Johannesson joined NYSCF in 2013 as a postdoctoral fellow under the supervision of Dr. Dieter Egli. His current work as a NYSCF investigator is focused on modeling the mechanisms of pancreatic beta cell failure in diabetes and to develop cell replacement therapies for the disease using stem cell technologies. He did his PhD at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Germany and subsequently worked for two years as a postdoctoral fellow in the group of Nadia Rosenthal at EMBL in Italy. He was awarded a NYSCF-Druckenmiller fellowship in 2014.
Ali Kean (Communications & Event Marketing Coordinator)
Ali Kean joined NYSCF full-time in April 2013 as a Marketing and Outreach Assistant after interning at NYSCF since September 2012. She gained experience in PR and event planning through her time as an intern with Head and Hand PR. Ali also has experience in academic marketing, through an internship with Cengage Learning. She received her BBA in Marketing from Iona College.
Kacey Koeppel (Vice President, Marketing & Outreach)
Kacey Koeppel joined the NYSCF team in January 2008 as the Director of Special Events. She came to us from The Rockefeller University, where she was Senior Events Planner in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs. She previously worked at Tractenberg & Co., a public relations firm specializing in beauty and cosmetics. She has a BA from Manhattan College.
Travis Kroeker (Research Associate II, Automation Systems)
Travis Kroeker joined the NYSCF team in February 2013. He graduated from the University of Delaware in 2012 with a BS in Neuroscience. While in school, Travis researched how emotion can alter reaction time, as well as the effects of different wavelengths of light on chromatophore motility in killifish. In his spare time he enjoys reading science fiction, creative writing, abstract painting, and basketball.
Ilya Kruglikov, PhD (Senior Staff Scientist)
Ilya has joined NYSCF as a Senior Staff Scientist. His research will focus on neurons and neuronal networks generated from stem cells specific to several neurodegenerative deceases. Previously, Ilya held a research assistant professor position at NYU Neuroscience Institute, where he worked closely with professors Bernardo Rudy and Gordon Fishell. At NYU he was studying the functional balance of excitation and inhibition in the brain and how its abnormalities result in neurological disorders including autism and epilepsy. In 2012 Ilya was awarded a Research Grant from Epilepsy Foundation. Ilya received his Ph.D. in Biophysics from Bogomoletz Institute of Physiology of Ukraine Academy of Sciences in 2004. His thesis research focused on changes in intracellular Ca++ cascades in spinal cord neurons in the model of diabetic neuropathy. Ilya obtained his M.Sc. in applied mathematics and physics from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in 1998.
Gregory Lallos (Research Associate III, Automation Systems & Molecular Biology)
Greg joined NYSCF in December 2014. Prior to joining NYSCF, Greg received his MS in Molecular Cellular and Developmental biology from the City University of New York where he studied viral emergence in novel host populations. Upon graduating he joined the cardiology division in the department of medicine at Columbia University. While at Columbia, Gregory researched heart disease using patient derived iPS cells and genetically engineered human embryonic stem cells. At NYSCF, Greg will focus on providing support to the iPSC Derivation, Differentiation, and Lab Automation Development in the NYSCF Array.
Sam Levy (Human Subjects Research Assistant)
Sam joined the NYSCF team in 2016 as a Human Subjects Research Assistant. She obtained a BA in sociology with a minor in biology, and graduated summa cum laude from Hamilton College in 2015. Sam is passionate about medical sociology, public health, and bioethics. Her honors thesis investigated the stigmatization and devaluation of nursing assistants’ roles and responsibilities in hospitals. Prior to starting at NYSCF, Sam was a Media & Analytics intern at PARTNERS+simons, where she worked on marketing and advertising campaigns for life science organizations, insurance companies, and medical centers.
Aiqun Li, PhD (NYSCF Investigator)
Dr. Li joined NYSCF as a Staff Scientist for the NYSCF-Golub Stem Cell Research Initiative for Parkinson’s Disease in 2011, and has served as a NYSCF Investigator since 2016. His current research focuses on using human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to generate dopamine nerve cells. The technological innovation allows for an investigation of Parkinson’s disease-relevant cellular changes such that these efforts can one day translate into drug development and clinical interventions. His recent work was published as the cover story of Cell Reports in November 2014 and featured in Nautilus Magazine.
Dr. Li earned his B.S. and M.S. in Medicine from Nanjing Medical University in 2000 and 2003, respectively. He then received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2006. He finished his postdoctoral training under the guidance of Ching-Hwa Sung at Cornell University Weill Medical College.
Dr. Li was the recipient of many awards, including the P&G Award for Outstanding Graduate Student, the Shanghai-Unilever Research & Development Fund, the Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia & Parkinson's Foundation Research Grant, the Parkinson's Disease Foundation Lucien Côté Early Investigator Award, The New York Community Trust Grant, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation Target Validation Pilot Award.
Christine M. Lin (Vice President of External Relations)
Christine joined NYSCF in January 2015 from the international fundraising consulting firm CCS, where she was a Vice President, serving as resident counsel with leading organizations across the non-profit sector. Christine previously worked at the Yale School of Music. A violinist of over 25 years, she is an avid supporter of the performing arts and serves on the Board of the Chelsea Music Festival in New York City. Christine holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management and an AB from Harvard College.
Nicole Littrean (Senior Director, Corporate Sponsorships)
Nicole joins NYSCF as Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships. She came to us from Condé Nast, where she worked over the last 10 years in Corporate Communications, Sponsorships, Special Projects and Events. Over the last few years, she successfully collaborated with her peers to launch strategic initiatives to re-position Condé Nast in the marketplace. Nicole holds a BA in Literature & Rhetoric from Binghamton University.
Hector Martinez (Research Associate III, Automation Systems & Molecular Biology)
Hector Martinez joined the NYSCF team in January 2010. He came to us from The Rockefeller University, where he worked with Noble Laureate Dr. Paul Greengard studying the components of the signal transduction cascade responsible for the regulation of Amyloid precursor protein breakdown and the formation of Aβ, with the aim of developing new targets for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Initially at NYSCF, in the lab of Dr. Dieter Egli, he investigated the cellular and molecular biology of diabetes by generating therapeutically relevant cells from Type I, II and monogenic diabetes patients using both somatic cell nuclear transfer and Induced pluripotent stem cell technologies. His current interests lie in the derivation of patient-specific stem cells for The NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array as well as the study of blood disorders with the aim to develop cell replacement therapies for human diseases.
Barry McCarthy, M.Sc (Research Associate II, Automation Systems & Stem Cell Biology)
Barry joins NYSCF as a Research Associate II focusing on Automation Systems and Stem Cell Biology. He completed his Masters in Biochemistry from University College Dublin in early 2015 where he studied mitotic catastrophe and apoptosis in leukemia. Prior to that he earned a B.Sc in Medical and Molecular cytology, with his undergraduate project focusing on inducing late (Capsid) gene expression in HPV 16 & 18 under the guidance of Professor Stefan Schwartz in Upsalla University, Sweden.
Paul McCoy (Principal Automation Engineer)
Paul joins NYSCf with an extensive career as an Engineer and Scientist in the life sciences research and healthcare industries. Recently he has integrated automation into phase 1 enabling cell line development at AbbVie in Worcester, MA and into several clinical diagnostic laboratories. He has 18 years of experience in productivity enhancement for many phases of in-vitro drug discovery, biologics development, and diagnostics. Previously he has worked for Lundbeck, Novartis, Tecan, Aventis, Immunicon, and Pharmacopeia. Paul developed automation for adherent and suspension cell culture, cell-based assays, compound management, HTS and selectivity profiling. Paul graduated from Temple University in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology.
David McKeon (Chief of Staff)
As Chief of Staff, David McKeon works closely with the CEO and senior leadership team in the development and evaluation of strategic planning, policy, and goals. He also contributes to research in bone regeneration in the NYSCF laboratory. He earned a BS in Engineering Science and Biomedical Engineering at Tufts University, where he was also captain of the Men’s Soccer Team.
Rick Monsma (Senior Vice President, Scientific Operations)
Rick joined NYSCF in April 2017 as Senior Vice President of Scientific Operations. Rick came to NYSCF with over 20 years experience in the pharmaceutical industry, initially with F. Hoffman La-Roche in Basel, Switzerland, and most recently with Merck by way of Schering-Plough. At Merck Rick led a group devoted to developing and conducting cell based assays for drug discovery projects in Neuroscience, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases, and before that Rick led the High Throughput Screening group for Schering-Plough for a number of years.
Rick has a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Rochester, and did his post-doctoral work at the NIH and has over his career had a primary focus on identification and characterization of G-Protein Coupled Receptors.
Dorota Moroziewicz, PhD (Associate Research Scientist II, Automation Systems)
Dorota Moroziewicz works in the NYSCF Flow Cytometry and High Throughput Screening laboratories and is working on developing and optimizing methods for innovative stem cell technologies. Previously, she worked at Columbia University in molecular biology and immunology. She earned a MS in Medical Technology and PhD in Cancer Biology at the Medical University in Bialystok, Poland and a MS Degree in Molecular Biology at Long Island University.
Christina Ng (Graphic Design Associate)
Christina joined NYSCF in a full time capacity as a Graphic Designer after interning at NYSCF since the Fall of 2015. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Biology, specializing in Developmental Genetics, and completed a Digital Arts Minor at Stony Brook University. She joins us with a background in digital and fine arts, including illustrative painting and motion graphic design.
Scott Noggle, PhD (Senior Vice President, Research)
Scott A. Noggle, PhD is the Senior Vice President for Research at the New York Stem Cell Foundation. He was a postdoctoral fellow at The Rockefeller University studying developmental neurobiology and stem cell biology. He received his PhD in Molecular Medicine from the Medical College of Georgia.
He has a long-standing interest in the derivation and use of human stem cells to understand human development and disease. Current work in his lab is aimed at applying new advances in pluripotent stem cell biology and cell reprogramming to the creation of human models of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson's disease to discover new disease targets. To make all of this possible, he also directs a group at NYSCF developing large-scale automated systems that use stem cells as a tool to understand how our genetics impacts susceptibility to these diseases. He and his team have developed high throughput automated systems for deriving new stem cell lines and differentiated cells to study disease models from large numbers of patients in parallel.
Reid Otto (Senior Automation Engineer)
Reid joins NYSCF as a Senior Automation Engineer. Prior to joining NYSCF, Reid has worked with laboratory automation for over fifteen years using various robotic platforms. Most recently Reid provided technical and business support as an Applications Consulting Engineer at Hamilton Robotics. He assisted customers with outlining pre-sales system specifications and implementing post-sales instrument placements. Prior to that he was an Associate Scientist in the compound management group at Targacept, Inc., a company focused on developing drug therapies for CNS diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Schizophrenia via neuronal nicotinic research. While there he developed automation routines for creating experiment-ready microplates to use in cell-based high-throughput screening assays in addition to other duties relating to the curation of the compound collection. Reid received his BA in Chemistry from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Daniel Paull, PhD (Vice President, Automation Systems & Stem Cell Biology)
Daniel Paull joined NYSCF in January 2010 from University College London, where he obtained his PhD. After completing a post-doctoral fellowship at NYSCF in the lab of Dr Dieter Egli investigating somatic cell nuclear transfer as well as methods to prevent the transmission of mitochondrial diseases, he is now a Staff Scientist focussed on development of the NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array.
Brandon Pearl (Laboratory Coordinator)
Brandon joined the NYSCF team as a Laboratory Assistant in January 2015. He graduated from Northeastern in 2013 with a degree in Biomedical Physics where he concentrated on the use of nanotechnology in medical imaging and radiation therapy. Previously he studied the markers and potential drug targets of metastasis in prostate and breast cancer at the Vascular Biology Lab at Boston’s Children’s Hospital, and he also interned at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories in Cold Spring Harbor, New York. Away from the lab he enjoys cooking, hiking, and snowboarding.
Maurie Perl (Senior Vice President, Communications & Marketing)
Maurie joined NYSCF in May 2015 as Senior Vice President, Communications & Marketing after serving as a consultant to NYSCF. She is a communications executive with extensive experience in media relations, digital communications, marketing services, corporate strategy, brand development and crisis management. For 13 years, she served as Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer of Conde Nast. She has led public relations and communications teams for the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, ABC News and Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment Company and represented individual clients including Barbara Walters, Peter Jennings, Richard Avedon, Tina Brown, Katie Couric and the Newhouse family. Throughout her career she has created and developed large scale events and conferences. She holds a BS From American University in Communications and Theater.
Mahendra Rao, MD, PhD (Senior Scientific Advisor)
Dr. Rao holds an MD degree and a PhD in developmental neurobiology and is one of the nation’s most prominent stem cell scientists. He has over twenty years of experience in all aspects of the stem cell field including government, academia, and business. Before joining NYSCF, he directed the Center for Regenerative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health (NIH CRM) since its founding in 2010. Before joining the NIH, Dr. Rao spent six years as the vice president of Regenerative Medicine at Life Technologies, Inc. (now Thermo Fisher Scientific) after serving as the chief of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging and co-founding Q Therapeutics, a neural stem cell company based in Utah. Dr. Rao is tenured at the University of Utah School of Medicine in both Neurobiology and Anatomy and has over twenty submitted and ten issued patents.
Katie Reggio (Research Associate I, Quality Control)
Katie joined the NYSCF team in December 2015. She received her BA in Biology from Columbia University in 2014. After graduation, Katie continued at Columbia working as a research assistant in James Manley's laboratory studying the altered mechanisms of mRNA splicing proteins mutated in the disease MDS.
Samwan Rob (Design & Digital Manager)
Samwan joined the NYSCF team in December 2013, shortly after graduating from Northeastern University with a Masters in Communication and Digital Media. He comes with experience in web development, graphic design, and audiovisual technology. He has previously worked with Emmy Award-winner Scott Pressler for his graduate thesis, spent a summer as an intern at the Grameen Bank and holds a B.Sc. from Ithaca College. Samwan enjoys running, hiking, and playing guitar.
Lee Rubin, PhD (Senior Scientific Advisor)
Dr. Rubin has served as NYSCF's Scientific Advisor since January 2008, leading planning and implementation of drug discovery capabilities in the NYSCF Lab. Since 2006, he has been Director of Translational Medicine at the Harvard University Stem Cell Institute and is a member of the new Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology. Much of his effort is devoted to identifying therapeutics for orphan neural disorders such as Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Huntington's Disease and multiple sclerosis.
He received his PhD in Neuroscience from The Rockefeller University, held postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard Medical School and Stanford University School of Medicine and an Assistant and Associate Professorship at Rockefeller. He led the blood-brain barrier and multiple sclerosis groups at Athena Neurosciences (now Elan Pharmaceuticals) where he identified a molecule that has been approved for treatment of multiple sclerosis and more recently, for Crohn's disease. After leaving Athena, he became Professor of Anatomy and Developmental Biology at University College London and Director of the Eisai London Laboratory of Neurodegenerative Disease. In 1998, he became Chief Scientific Officer of Ontogeny, Inc (now Curis, Inc) a biotechnology company in Cambridge, MA,) working on molecular pathways involved in cancer and neurodegenerative disease.
Tomasz Rusielewicz, PhD (Postdoctoral Research Fellow)
Tomasz received his Ph.D. from the City University of New York studying the mechanisms of myelination in the laboratory of Carmen Melendez-Vasquez at Hunter College. The overall objective of his research was to promote myelin regrowth in the central nervous system following injury caused by diseases like multiple sclerosis. More recently, as a postdoctoral fellow at Mount Sinai, he has been investigating cellular mediators of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease. He brings his experience and knowledge to NYSCF to identify new treatments for Multiple Sclerosis.
Ana Sevilla, PhD (Staff Scientist)
Ana Sevilla, PhD, joined NYSCF as a Staff Scientist in January 2013. Prior to NYSCF, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Ihor Lemischka at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Her postdoctoral research was focused on the elucidation of the core features of the transcriptional, translational and post-translational modifications during the early differentiation of embryonic stem cells. Additionally, she studied a patient-specific induced pluripotent stem-cell derived model of Leopard syndrome. She received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Salamanca,Spain in 2006. She earned dual BS degrees in Pharmacy and Biochemistry from the University of Salamanca in Spain. Her current research at NYSCF focuses on iPSC derivation for The NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array as well as modeling Cardiac Diseases.
Dhanuraj (Raj) Shetty, (Senior Director, Strategic Alliances & Partnerships)
Dhanuraj (Raj) Shetty, joins NYSCF as a Senior Director, Strategic Alliances and Partnerships. Prior to joining NYSCF, Raj was at JDRF International as an Associate Director in their Research Business Development and was responsible for industry partnerships and alliances. Prior to JDRF, Raj worked at Kinetic Concepts, Inc. (KCI), as a Technology Assessment Manager /Portfolio manager in the areas of Regenerative Medicine and Wound healing. Prior to KCI, Raj worked at Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) for ten years starting out as a research engineer and in the role of technical project leader in the field of Regenerative Medicine focusing on cartilage repair, bladder regeneration and for setting up the Tissue Engineering Scaffold strategy. Raj holds a MSc in Plastics Engineering and has seven issued US patents and thirteen pending patent applications and is a co-author on four technical publications. In his spare time Raj likes to spend time reading and playing volleyball and squash.
Martina Sladkova, MSc, PhD (Postdoctoral Research Fellow)
Martina joined NYSCF in August 2013. Her current research focuses on engineering vascularized bone substitutes using human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells for reconstructive therapies of the skeletal system. She was awarded a Marie Curie fellowship at the Laboratory of Bioengineering and Bioimagery for Bone Articulation at the University Paris 7 in France, where she received her PhD for her work on engineering bone substitutes using human mesenchymal stem cells. She received her MSc Degree in Animal Physiology and Ethology at the University of Comenius Bratislava in Slovakia, during which she conducted research in the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Physiology. In 2007, she received scholarships of French and Slovak government for mobility research training at the University Angers in France to study the effects of polyphenols and microparticles on the vascular reactivity in the metabolic syndrome. She also holds a Diploma in Hyperbaric Medicine from the University Paris 13 in France.
Kristin Smith (Director, External Programs)
Kristin Smith joined the NYSCF team in 2009 and works on NYSCF's external programs including the Innovator Programs, the Science and Technology Education Program (STEP) and the Initiative on Women in Science and Engineering (IWISE). She graduated from Yale University in 2009, where she completed premedical requirements and studied history of science and medicine. Currently, Kristin sits on the board of The Young Friends of the Taubman Institute and serves as an undergraduate admissions interviewer for Yale University. She also holds an advanced certification in wines and spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.
Susan L. Solomon (Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder)
Susan L. Solomon is Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF), a non-profit organization established in 2005 to accelerate cures through stem cell research.
A veteran healthcare advocate, Ms. Solomon serves on the boards of a number of prominent diabetes and regenerative medicine organization including the College Diabetes Network and the Global Alliance for IPSC Therapies. She has received numerous awards for her work with NYSCF, including the New York State Women of Excellence Award from the Governor of New York, the Triumph Award from the Brooke Ellison Foundation, and recognition as a Living Landmark from the New York Landmarks Conservancy.
A lawyer by training and a chief executive and entrepreneur by experience, Susan L. Solomon brings decades of leadership experience in starting and building effective and focused organizations. Ms. Solomon started her career as an attorney at Debevoise & Plimpton, then held executive positions at MacAndrews and Forbes and APAX (formerly MMG Patricof and Co.). She was the founder and President of Sony Worldwide Networks, the Chairman and CEO of Lancit Media Productions, an Emmy award-winning television production company, and then served as the founding CEO of Sothebys.com, prior to starting her own strategic management consulting firm Solomon Partners LLC in 2000.
She received her BA cum laude from New York University and her JD from Rutgers University School of Law, where she was as an editor of the Law Review.
Shannon Steen (Development Manager)
Shannon joined NYSCF in April 2013, as the Development Administrator. She joins us from the Greater New York Hospital Association, where she provided executive support and managed all of the Continuing Education events for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and nurses, all over the country. Previously, she worked in the Business Management Rotation Program for an aerospace company, United Launch Alliance, where she gained experience in marketing, events, executive protocol and NASA mission planning. Shannon holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Finance from the University of Colorado.
Lisa Strovink (Chief Strategy Officer)
Lisa joined NYSCF in 2016 as our Chief Strategy Officer and to also develop a new program in food allergy. Prior to joining NYSCF, Lisa was at Ascent Biomedical Ventures and Johnson & Johnson, where she held roles as the Director of Strategic Planning for the Medical Devices and Diagnostics group, Director of U.S. Marketing for Cordis Endovascular, and Director of the Carotid Stent Program. She had also been a founding member of the Stroke Management Group that worked across the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors at J&J to develop new therapies for treating and preventing stroke. Lisa began her career as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company where she advised pharmaceutical and medical device companies and hospitals on overall strategy, business development, portfolio management and strategic management issues. Lisa received a B.A. in neurobiology from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Bruce Sun (Associate Research Scientist I, Automation Systems & Cardiac)
Bruce Sun joined NYSCF in June, 2013 as a Senior Research Technician. He received his Masters in Molecular, Cellular, Developmental biology from Queens College under the supervision of John J. Dennehy, PhD and Daniel C. Weinstein, PhD. He then joined Columbia University Medical Center working under Jonathan T. Lu, M.D., PhD where he focused on using iPS cells to model cardiac diseases. His interests include the generation and differentiation of patient–specific stem cells with The NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array. In addition, Bruce is currently working on integrating cardiac differentiation onto The NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array which will allow iPSC and ESC derived cardiomyocytes to be made in a high-throughput fashion for large population studies.