Event Program & Speakers

Event Program and Speaker Faculty

The Rejuvenation Biotechnology Conference is the SENS Research Foundation’s ground-breaking gathering of the growing rejuvenation biotechnology industry, to discuss combinatorial, preventative strategies and to progress treatment for the diseases and disabilities of old age. We are pleased to be bringing together an outstanding faculty of leading experts from research, academia, industry, policy, finance and regulatory fields.

Please download our meeting agenda and brochure to get all the latest information on RB2015.


Speaker Faculty

Stewart Abbot

Vice President of Translational Research

Fate Therapeutics

View Bio

Dr. Abbot is the Vice President of Translational Research at Fate Therapeutics and is leading the company’s translational science initiatives. Previously, Dr. Abbot held senior research roles at Celgene Cellular Therapeutics (CCT). As Senior Director of Research at CCT his group developed novel therapeutic candidates based on hematopoietic stem cells and human placenta-derived cells and initiated clinical trials for placental cells. As Executive Director of Integrative Research at CCT he led Integrative Research activities for CCT that encompassed technology and product scouting, alliance identification and business development activities, including initiation of engineered T cell programs. Prior to CCT, Dr. Abbot led General Electric’s Molecular and Cellular Biology research laboratory at its Global Research Center in Albany, NY, where he established GE’s expertise in human stem cell biology and developed a series of life science products and instruments. Dr. Abbot holds a B.Sc. in Biological Sciences (Edinburgh), M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering (Glasgow) and Ph.D. in Pathology (London).

Russ Altman

Professor of Bioengineering, Genetics & Medicine

Stanford University

View Bio

Russ Biagio Altman is a professor of bioengineering, genetics, & medicine and past chairman of the Bioengineering Department at Stanford University. His primary research interests are in the application of computing and informatics technologies to problems relevant to medicine. He is particularly interested in methods for understanding drug action at molecular, cellular, organism and population levels.  His lab studies how human genetic variation impacts drug response (e.g. http://www.pharmgkb.org/). Other work focuses on the analysis of biological molecules to understand the action, interaction and adverse events of drugs (http://features.stanford.edu/).  Dr. Altman holds an A.B. from Harvard College, and M.D. from Stanford Medical School, and a Ph.D. in Medical Information Sciences from Stanford. He received the U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and a National Science Foundation CAREER Award. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians (ACP), the American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI), the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.  He is a past-President, founding board member, and a Fellow of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB), and a past-President of the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics (ASCPT).  He has chaired the Science Board advising the FDA Commissioner, and currently serves on the NIH Director’s Advisory Committee.   He is an organizer of the annual Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing (http://psb.stanford.edu/), and a founder of Personalis, Inc.  Dr. Altman is board certified in Internal Medicine and in Clinical Informatics. He received the Stanford Medical School graduate teaching award in 2000, and mentorship award in 2014.

Anthony Atala


Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine

View Bio

Anthony Atala, MD, is the Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and the W.H. Boyce Professor and Chair of the Department of Urology at Wake Forest University. Dr. Atala is a practicing surgeon and a researcher in the area of regenerative medicine. His current work focuses on growing new human cells, tissues and organs.

Dr. Atala works with several journals and serves in various roles, including Editor-in-Chief of Stem Cells- Translational Medicine, Current Stem Cell Research and Therapy, and Therapeutic Advances in Urology; as Associate Editor of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, The Journal of Rejuvenation Research, and Gene Therapy and Regulation; as Executive Board Member or Section Editor of the International Journal of Artificial Organs, Organogenesis, and Current Urology Reports; and as Editorial Board member of Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy, Biomedical Materials, Journal of Tissue Science and Engineering, 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing, Technology, the Journal of Urology, Recent Patents on Regenerative Medicine, BioMed Central-Urology, Urology, and Current Transplantation Reports.

Dr. Atala is a recipient of many awards, including the US Congress funded Christopher Columbus Foundation Award, bestowed on a living American who is currently working on a discovery that will significantly affect society, the World Technology Award in Health and Medicine, presented to individuals achieving significant and lasting progress, the Samuel D. Gross Prize, awarded every 5 years to a national leading surgical researcher by the Philadelphia Academy of Surgery, the Barringer Medal from the American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons for distinguished accomplishments, the Gold Cystoscope award from the American Urological Association for advances in the field, the Ramon Guiteras Award for pioneering research in regenerative medicine and outstanding contributions as a scholar and teacher, the Innovation Award from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers for the creation of synthetic organs, and the Rocovich Gold Medal, awarded to a distinguished scientist who has made a major impact on science toward the understanding of human disease. In 2011 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Atala was elected to the Royal Academy for the Encouragement of the Arts in 2012, and to the National Academy of Inventors as a Charter Fellow in 2013. Dr. Atala's team received the Edison Science/Medical Award in 2013.

Dr. Atala’s work has been described in the lay press. In 2003 he was named by Scientific American as a Medical Treatments Leader of the Year for his contributions to the fields of cell, tissue and organ regeneration. Dr. Atala’s work was listed as Time Magazine’s top 10 medical breakthroughs of the year, and as Discover Magazine`s Number 1 Top Science Story of the Year in the field of medicine in 2007. In 2009 Dr. Atala was featured in U.S. News & World Report as one of 14 Pioneers of Medical Progress in the 21st Century, and his work in 2010 was listed by Smithsonian Magazine as one of 40 things to know about the next 40 years. Dr. Atala’ work was listed in the Huffington post as one of 18 great ideas of 2011, in Time Magazine as one of the top 5 medical breakthroughs of the year in 2011, by the American Association of Retired Persons as one of the 50 influential people who will make life better in 2012, and by Time Magazine as one of 5 discoveries that will change the future of organ transplants in 2013.

Dr. Atala has led or served several national professional and government committees, including the National Institutes of Health working group on Cells and Developmental Biology, the National Institutes of Health Bioengineering Consortium, and the National Cancer Institute’s Advisory Board. Dr. Atala heads a team of over 300 physicians and researchers. Over ten applications of technologies developed in Dr. Atala's laboratory have been used clinically. He is the editor of twelve books, including Essentials of Stem Cell Biology, Principles of Regenerative Medicine, Foundations of Regenerative Medicine, Methods of Tissue Engineering, and Minimally Invasive Urology. He has published more than 400 journal articles and has applied for or received over 200 national and international patents.

Marc Better

Vice President, Product Sciences

Kite Pharma

View Bio

Marc Better, Ph.D. is Vice President, Product Sciences at Kite Pharma in Santa Monica, CA. Dr. Better joined the Kite leadership team in Jan 2013. He brings more than 20 years of experience as a biotechnology professional in biologics CMC; upstream, downstream, analytical and drug product process development; non-GMP and GMP manufacturing; commercial manufacturing support; technology transfer for biologics; contract manufacturing of recombinant proteins; and regulatory interactions. Dr. Better has a proven track record of strong business skills and technical depth. Prior to joining Kite, Dr. Better was Executive Director, Process Science at Boehringer Ingelheim where he led a group of 50 scientists and engineers responsible for process development, technology transfer and overall CMC activities for biotechnology products. Before joining Boehringer Ingelheim, Dr. Better was Executive Director, Process Development at Amgen where he led the development effort for licensure of the monoclonal antibody Vectibix® in the US, Europe, Japan and more than 30 other jurisdictions. Dr. Better joined Amgen through the acquisition of Abgenix in 2006, where he served as Vice President, Process Sciences. Prior to Abgenix, Dr. Better was Vice President, Technical Development at XOMA. Dr. Better received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Brandeis University and holds a B.S in Microbiology from Michigan State University. He is an author on more than 35 scientific publications, and inventor on more than 20 issued US patents.

Helen Blau


Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology

View Bio

Helen Blau is a full professor, PI, and Director of the Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology at the Stanford University School of Medicine.  Her laboratory and research program includes three PIs and approximately 80 trainees and staff. The Blau Laboratory is focused on cell and molecular approaches to regenerative medicine for acquired and inherited diseases and at understanding and elucidating the nature of cell plasticity, with a particular focus on the mechanisms underlying and directing changes in cell fate. This knowledge is key to the understanding of stem cell reprogramming, self-renewal and expansion, dedifferentiation, and tissue regeneration with a view toward medical applications for extending healthspan. 

Her research has been directed to studying nuclear fusion, cell reprogramming, cell fate plasticity and stem cell pluripotency to differentiate.  In the 1980s her lab findings contributed to change the established belief that the mammalian differentiated state was fixed and irreversible. Her team reprogrammed somatic cells to express genes of an alternative fate without the need for DNA replication or cell division. She achieved this by fusing cells of two different fates together to form heterokaryons. In recent years her lab established the role of mammalian DNA demethylation in cell-reprogramming toward pluripotency. Her group studied special biomaterials and designed novel hydrogel matrices for culturing adult stem cells.She has proposed that Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD)-a muscle wasting disease-involves shortenening of the telomeres of myoblasts and cardiomyocytes. Helen Blau hypothesized that so-called “tumor suppressor genes” stimulate regeneration in mammals including humans.

Chas Bountra

Professor of Translational Medicine

University of Oxford

View Bio

Chas is Professor of Translational Medicine in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine and Associate Member of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Oxford. He is also a Visiting Professor in Neuroscience and Mental Health at Imperial College, London. Chas is an invited expert on several government and charitable research funding bodies, and an advisor for many academic, biotech and pharma drug discovery programmes.

Prior to coming back to Oxford, Chas was Vice President and Head of Biology at GlaxoSmithKline. He was involved in the identification of more than 40 clinical candidates for many gastro-intestinal, inflammatory and neuro-psychiatric diseases. More than 20 of these molecules progressed into patient studies and more than five of these delivered successful “Proof of Concept” data and hence progressed into late stage development. He was involved in the launch and development of the first treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Alosetron) and was the first to show that neurokinin NK1 antagonists are anti-emetic in preclinical and clinical studies.

His current interests are i) using X ray structures of novel human proteins to generate small molecule inhibitors, screening in human cells to identify novel targets for drug discovery, and then developing clinical candidates for evaluation in patients, pre-competitively ii) focusing on epigenetic and genetically identified proteins, because these are likely to represent better targets for drug discovery, for many cancer, inflammatory, metabolic and neuro-psychiatric diseases iii) working with colleagues in Oxford to build major programs in rare diseases and  in Alzheimer’s Disease, and creating a “BioEscalator” for the rapid translation of SGC science and iv) building stronger links with local hospitals, patient groups, regulatory agencies, private investors, CROs, biotechs and large pharma companies, to create a new, more efficient ecosystem for pioneer drug discovery. 

He has given over 300 invited lectures.  In 2012 he was voted one of the “top innovators in the industry”.

David Brindley

Research Fellow

CASMI Translational Stem Cell Consortium

View Bio

David is an international thought-leader in the translation of life-science innovations into commercially viable products and services. His expertise spans the ‘Valley of Death,’ encompassing regulation, engineering and finance. This distinctive skill set positions David at the forefront of healthcare translation. Currently David’s professional activities include: research into the optimization of risk: benefit appraisal techniques for healthcare innovations, leading the CASMI Translational Stem Cell Consortium and providing timely and pragmatic advice to a range of stakeholders in healthcare translation, notably the venture capital community. Examples of David’s work can be found in a range of high impact journals including Nature, Nature Biotechnology, Nature Medicine and Cell Stem Cell. Additionally, David serves as an Editorial Board member for a range of international academic and industrial journals. Keen to leverage novel media channels to access all stakeholders, David also produces a popular blog, Cell Therapy Industry 2027, with the Centre for the Commercialisation of Regenerative Medicine. His work is made possible by the invaluable support of the SENS Research Foundation, Technology Strategy Board, the Wellcome Trust and a range of industrial and academic collaborators. Outside academia, David is an active Fellow of the Royal Institution of Great Britain and the Royal Society for the Advancement of Arts and Manufacturing. David has successfully passed the Charted Analyst in Alternative Investments (CAIA) Level 1 examination.

Kim Bure

Director of Regenerative Medicine

Sartorius Stedim Biotech

View Bio

Kim is the Director of Regenerative Medicine at Sartorius Stedim Biotech, which acquired her former employer, TAP Biosystems, in late 2013. She is passionate about translating automated cGMP biomanufacturing innovation into solutions for emerging markets. Over her seven year career at TAP, while partnering with clients in both biologics and drug discovery around process robustness and comparability, she has built a strong foundation from which to address the numerous challenges facing cellular therapeutic bioprocessing. Now at SSB, her focus has been repurposing and refining existing technologies for broader applications. Presently, Kim is the Industrial Lead for the CASMI Translational Stem Cell Consortium.

Previous positions advocating novel technology products at Invitrogen (now Life Technologies), Molecular Devices and Alltech (now W.R. Grace), have further equipped her with a broad knowledge of the life science marketplace and depth with respect to the hurdles encountered by early stage markets. Kim earned a degree in Chemistry from Northwestern University and remains a staunch supporter of the resultant benefits provided by rigorous system and process controls. When not traveling the world, Kim is a keen horticulturalist with true appreciation of floriculture and viniculture, most often paired with her avid affection for fast cars.

Judith Campisi


Buck Institute for Research on Aging

View Bio

Judith Campisi received a PhD in Biochemistry from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and postdoctoral training in cell cycle regulation and cancer at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. As an Assistant Professor at the Boston University Medical School, she began to focus her laboratory on role of cellular senescence in suppressing the development of cancer, but soon became convinced that senescent cells also contributed to aging. She left Boston University as an Associate Professor to accept a Senior Scientist position at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1991. In 2002, she established a laboratory at the Buck Institute for Age Research, where she is a Professor. At both institutions, Campisi established a broad program to understand various aspects of aging, with an emphasis on the interface between cancer and aging. Her laboratory made several pioneering discoveries in these areas. Her research continues to challenge and alter existing paradigms. In recognition of the quality of her research and leadership, Campisi received numerous awards, including two MERIT awards from the US National Institute on Aging, awards from the AlliedSignal Corporation, Gerontological Society of America and American Federation for Aging Research, and the Longevity prize from the IPSEN Foundation. She serves on numerous national and international editorial and advisory boards.

Sylvaine Cases

Head, External Science & Partnering


View Bio

The Sanofi External Science & Partnering organization is globally distributed in the major hubs of innovation and is charged with cultivating geographical ecosystems to uncover external innovation opportunities of interest to the global therapeutic areas to build their pipelines through external innovation. Sylvaine is heading External Science & Partnering for Sanofi in Western US and Canada. In this geography, her team supports the implementation of Sanofi external innovation strategy in terms of building external relationships, identifying and evaluating opportunities that align with the defined priorities of the therapeutic area groups. The team works in close collaboration with these groups and Business Development to effectively manage opportunity review within the organization, facilitate assessment of scientific risk and opportunities and secure appropriate internal approvals.

Prior to joining Sanofi, Sylvaine has been working for 16 years in the San Francisco Bay area in academia and biotechnology and her experience covers basic research as well as drug discovery and pre-clinical research and development in oncology and metabolic disorders. She completed post-doctoral studies at the Gladstone Institutes/UCSF, where she discovered new enzyme families in the pathways of lipid synthesis and storage. She then held an academic appointment at the Gladstone Institutes, where she focused on neutral lipid metabolism in obesity and cancer. Most recently she was responsible for Translational Oncology and led early drug discovery projects at Cytokinetics, and was Head of Pharmacology at Arete Therapeutics.

Sylvaine Cases received a MS in biochemistry from the French engineering school AgroParisTech in Paris, and a Ph.D. in Molecular Oncology from the University of Paris 7.

Frances Colón

Deputy Science and Technology Adviser

U.S. Department of State

View Bio

Frances is the Deputy Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State where she promotes integration of science and technology into foreign policy dialogues; global advancement of women in science; and innovation as a tool for economic growth around the world. In her role as a science diplomat, Frances has overseen the creation of the Networks of Diasporas in Engineering and Science to empower diasporas in the United States to use their expertise to solve challenges in their countries of origin.  She also coordinated climate change policy for the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas announced by President Obama in 2009, launching programs for training of glaciologists and climate change adaptation in the Caribbean. Her first steps in diplomacy were in the Muslim world, enhancing K-12 science and math education cooperation.  Her most recent adventures have her developing avenues for collaboration amongst scientists in the United States and Cuba.  She is a graduate of the National Hispana Leadership Institute and a 2014-2015 Delegate of the U.S.-Japan Leadership Program.

Dr. Colón earned her Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 2004 from Brandeis University and her B.S. in Biology in 1997 from the University of Puerto Rico where her passion for science was sparked as an undergraduate researcher. She believes that the best scientists of the future will be those that can discover, create, communicate and lead at and beyond the bench.

Justin Cooper-White

Professor and Group Leader

Australian Institute for Bioengineering & Nanotechnology

View Bio

Research: Elucidating the microenvironmental cues that regulate stem cell behaviours and translating those insights into biomaterial scaffolds and microdevices to direct stem cell differentiation.

Professor Justin Cooper-White is a global leader in using engineering to solve problems in biology. In addition to holding the position of AIBN Group Leader, Professor Cooper-White is Director of the Australian National Fabrication Facility-Queensland Node and is one of only 13 CSIRO Office of the Chief Executive Science Leaders across the country. He is a past President of both the Australasian Society for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering and the Australian Society of Rheology and has previously served as an Associate Dean (Research) at the UQ Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology.

Professor Cooper-White has many past and currently active international collaborations with world leading research groups at MIT (US); Stanford (USA); ETH (Switzerland); EPFL (Switzerland); SNU (Korea); University Of Grenoble (France); Politecnico di Milano (Italy); UCL (UK); and the Max Planck Institute (Germany). He has performed contract research and consultancy work for Unilever in the UK; Nestle International, Switzerland; Rhodia, US; Inion, Finland since 2001 and a Queensland primary business. He has previously held a Visiting Professor Fellowship (2007) at ETH Zurich and a Politecnico di Milano Visiting Professor Fellowship (2012-2013). He is the associate editor of the Korean-Australian Rheology Journal; serves or has served on the editorial boards of Biomaterials Science, Rheological Acta, Soft Materials, Biomicrofluidics and the Open Biomedical Engineering Journal; and is a reviewer of major international journals, including Nature Methods, Advanced Materials, Lab on a Chip, Stem Cells, Stem Cells and Development, Biomacromolecules, Tissue Engineering, Langmuir, Biomaterials and Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics.

Rajeev Dadoo


SR One, Ltd.

View Bio

Rajeev joined SR One in 2003 and is an alum of the Kauffman Fellows Program. Rajeev has been involved with SR One's investments in True North Therapeutics, Adheron, iPierian, Illuminoss, Setpoint Medical, Blueprint Health, Cydex, Hypnion, Predix Pharmaceuticals, Octoplus, Trigen, Nucleonics, and Pinnacle Pharmaceuticals.

In addition to his role at SR One, Rajeev spent time with the Competitive Excellence group within GSK working on company-wide strategic projects for GSK's Corporate Executive Team. Prior to SR One, Rajeev worked at Genentech, where his role included technology and clinical development, and at Bio-Rad Laboratories in a product development role. In addition, Rajeev has worked at Genome Therapeutics in the business development role and was a co-founder of Unimicro Technologies, a company that was created to develop and commercialize instrumentation for biomedical analysis.

Rajeev received his BA degree in Chemistry and Mathematics from Knox College, his MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and his PhD in Chemistry from Stanford University.

Philip De Jager

Distinguished Chair for the Neurosciences

Brigham & Women's Hospital

View Bio

Dr. Philip De Jager is an Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Program in Translational NeuroPsychiatric Genomics within the Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry. He is the first incumbent of the Steven R. and Kathleen P. Haley Distinguished Chair for the Neurosciences at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

After completing Yale University with a degree in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry as well as French literature, Dr. De Jager received a Ph.D. in Neurogenetics from Rockefeller University and an M.D. from Cornell University Medical College before completing his M.M.Sc. in Clinical Investigation at Harvard Medical School and MIT. He has previously served as a Clinical Fellow in Neurology at BWH and MGH, and is currently a practicing Associate Neurologist at BWH.

The goal of Dr. De Jager’s work as a clinician-scientist is to apply modern methods of neuroimmunology, statistical genetics and computational biology to the understanding of common neurodegenerative diseases. He has applied his discoveries from basic research to develop novel tools to enhance clinical decision-making in the diagnosis and management of patients.

Dr. De Jager studies primarily multiple sclerosis (MS) and age-related cognitive decline, two neurodegenerative conditions which are believed to be influenced by multiple genetic and environmental risk factors. His research projects target five critical areas, including: (1) genomic dissection of susceptibility to the onset and clinical course of MS, (2) genetic epidemiology of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease, (3) integration of genetic and biomarker data to identify and personalize treatment for individuals at high-risk of developing MS or cognitive decline, (4) understanding the effect of genetic variation and aging on normal immune function and its effect on the brain, and (5) integration of multiple brain “omic” data to identify the molecular networks that lead to Alzheimer’s disease as well as drugs that block this process. He was recently awarded a $7.9 million grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to fund his research on identifying novel compounds with which to prevent Alzheimer’s disease using a systems biology approach and modeling in stem cells. Dr. De Jager's project will identify cellular functions that are disrupted by Alzheimer's disease and then screen for chemical compounds that are able to correct the abnormal cellular function in human neurons and glia differentiated from stem cells. The goal is to discover several known or novel compounds that can be used to target a susceptible individual at different points along their trajectory to cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. De Jager recognizes the crucial role of teaching in a research environment and as such has dedicated time to one-on-one mentoring of postdoctoral fellows, residents and students in addition to didactic sessions for students and regional educational events for patients.

Mark De Simone

Chief Executive Officer

Aegate Ltd.

View Bio

Chief Executive Officer at Aegate LTD. Global Innovator with extensive experience in scaling complex tech businesses.

Aegate is the world leading Medicine Authentication Services company which was selected by the European Medicine Verification Organisation to rollout a medicine authentication service in 33 countries. Aegate has operated a medicine verification network through 25% of all European Pharmacies in the past 8 years with a track record of checking over 3.5 Billion medicines packs in real time.

Mark has been an active entrepreneur in the Cloud and Telecom segment where he led the management buy-in of a 14,000 Km telecom network to then transform it into the business services Cloud Platform called Clouditalia where he was Chairman and CEO and subsequently ran the mobile services platform of the Terra Group.

Mark has had an extensive International career in General Management, Sales, Marketing & Technology investments with senior leadership roles: he was COO for Cordys, the global Cloud Platform leader most recently bought out by OpenText; before this he served for 7 years at CISCO, as Vice President of Europe and Emerging Markets. At General Electric Medical Systems Mark founded and ran the Integrated Network Services business integrating Diagnostic systems with Hospital Information Systems.

Since 1980, Mark has been involved in several high profile companies like Hewlett Packard and McKinsey.

Mark holds an MBA from Columbia University (USA) and BS in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University (USA.)

David DiGiusto

Executive Director/Senior Academic Researcher

Stanford Hospital and Clinics/Stanford University

View Bio

Dr. David DiGiusto is currently the Executive Director of Stem Cell and Cellular Therapeutic Operations for Stanford Hospital and Clinics and a Senior Academic Researcher in the Division of Stem Cell Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University. He has over 25 years of experience in the scientific, clinical and regulatory aspects of cells as therapeutic agents including the isolation, characterization and genetic modification of hematopoietic stem cells and T-cells for clinical applications. He has been instrumental in the creation of 3 GMP compliant biologics manufacturing facilities and associated quality systems, production and QC testing programs. Under his direction, plasmid DNA, T-cells and hematopoietic stem cell products have been manufactured and released for use in Phase I/II clinical trials. Dr DiGiusto is a major contributor to first in human (and other ongoing) studies for HIV Gene Therapy and has developed methods for assessing ex-vivo stem cell manipulations using in vitro and in vivo models. His laboratory specializes in the development of manufacturing processes and QC assays and provides clinical production and regulatory support activities for investigational cell products. Dr. DiGiusto is the North American Vice President-Elect of the International Society for Cell Therapy, an inventor on issued and pending patents related to cell and gene therapy and also serves as an independent consultant to the biotech industry.

Rita Effros

Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine/President

University of California, Los Angeles/GSA

View Bio

Rita B. Effros, Ph.D. is professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, and the current President of the Gerontological Society of America, the largest, oldest interdisciplinary organization of researchers in the field of aging. Her Ph.D. training at the University of Pennsylvania, under the mentorship of Dr. Peter Doherty (1996 Nobel Laureate) was focused on immunity to influenza. These early studies were instrumental in her transition into the area of vaccines and immunological control of viral infections and cancer. Her research focus for the past 25 years has been telomere/telomerase dynamics within the human immune system, the effects of aging and chronic antigenic stimulation on the human mucosal immune system, and the role of senescent T cells and their pro-inflammatory cytokine products in combating infection and in modulating bone homeostasis. Dr. Effros teaches a year-long interdisciplinary course for college freshmen entitled: The Longevity Revolution: Biomedical, Social and Policy Perspectives. She is on the faculty of the National Institute on Aging-sponsored Summer Training Course in Experimental Aging Research, and, based on her early documentation of accelerated immunological aging associated with HIV/AIDS, serves as Director of the HIV in Aging Program Area of the UCLA AIDS Institute, and is a member of the NIH Office of AIDS Research Aging & HIV Task Force.

Doug Ethell

Head of Molecular Neurobiology

Western University of Health Sciences

View Bio

Doug Ethell is a neurobiologist living in southern California. He received a PhD in Developmental Neurobiology from the University of British Columbia in 1993.  He did post-doc research at the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry as a Human Frontiers of Science Long-term Fellow from 1993-6.  Returning to the west coast in 1996, he worked with Nobel Laureate Gerald Edelman at the Scripps Research Institute. An interest in neuron cell death mechanisms led to him to focus his research on neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  At La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology he showed that neurons express CD95L, a major suppressor of activated CD4+ T cells, when they are exposed to oligomers of the AD peptide, Aβ. From 2002-10 he was on faculty at the University of California Riverside where he established that Aβ-specific CD4+ T cells are protective against AD as they reduce cognitive deficits and brain pathology in mouse models.  In 2010, Doug moved his lab to the Western University of Health Sciences and established the Molecular Neurobiology Group. Translating his earlier work from mouse to man he invented and patented a new method to identify rare antigen-specific CD4+ T cells, called CD4see. Using CD4see, the Dr. Ethell’s lab described an age-dependent decline of Aβ-specific CD4+ T cells that occurs 10 years earlier in women than men. Furthermore, this decline is accelerated by the AD risk factor ApoE4, with the most rapid declines occurring in peri-menopausal women who carry that allele.  In 2014 Doug Ethell put forth a revolutionary hypothesis suggesting that AD is caused by age-dependent changes in the cribriform plate that reduce cerebrospinal fluid clearance of brain regions affected early in the disease. Dr. Ethell is the Founder of Oceanside Biotechnology, which is developing a novel therapy for Alzheimer’s disease.

Mitch Finer

Chief Science Officer

bluebird bio, Inc.

View Bio

Mitchell Finer has worked in the Regenerative Medicine, Cancer Immunotherapy and Cell and Gene Therapy fields for the past 30 years, moving innovative therapeutic technologies from concept through to phase III clinical programs across the globe. Most recently, he served as Chief Scientific Officer of bluebird bio for the past five years, moving bluebird bio's LentiGlobin product from preclinical research through demonstration of long term therapeutic benefit and safety in thalassemia patients. Prior to that, Dr. Finer served as Senior VP of Development and Operations for Novocell Inc, (now Viacyte Inc) a stem cell engineering company developing treatments for diabetes. Dr. Finer has served as CEO of Intracel Holdings LLC and Genteric Inc., and as Vice President of Research and Development for the Gencell division of Aventis Pharma (now Sanofi) and VP of Research for Cell Genesys Inc. He successfully founded retinal disease gene therapy company Avalanche Biotechnologies, and is currently a member of the board of directors for both Semma Therapeutics (regenerative medicine, diabetes cell therapy) and Advantagene Inc (immuno-oncology). Mitchell received a B.S. in Biochemistry and Microbiology from the University of California at Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Harvard University. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT.

Stephen Frost


Frost Included

View Bio

Stephen is a globally-recognized expert in diversity and inclusion, talent management and leadership. He is Principal of Frost Included, an inclusive leadership and consulting practice. He works with Boards, Executive teams and leaders worldwide to facilitate more inclusive, effective decision-making.

He was most recently the Head of Diversity and Inclusion for KPMG. From 2007-2012 he served as Chief of Staff and Head of Diversity and Inclusion for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. He is a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University and teaches inclusive leadership at Harvard Business School in the United States and Sciences Po in France.

From 2004-2007, Stephen established and led the workplace team at Stonewall, developing the Diversity Champions good practice programme, which has become the largest programme of its kind in the world. He started his career in advertising and has worked in consultancy and communications worldwide.

He was a Hertford College Scholar at Oxford University, a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard University and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is former Vice President of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, recipient of the 2010 Peter Robertson Award for Equality and Diversity Champions and voted 14th most influential LGBT Executive in the UK. Since 2011 he has been a Young Global Leader with the World Economic Forum.

He advises the International Paralympic Committee, Microsoft, CIBC, Novartis, BP and the Governments of the United Kingdom and Singapore on inclusive leadership and diversity best practice and is author of The Inclusion Imperative (Kogan Page, 2014) and co-author of Inclusive Talent Management (forthcoming).

Liam Grover

Professor of Biomaterials Science

University of Birmingham

View Bio

Prof. Grover is a biomaterials scientist whose research focuses on designing materials that enhance the tissue regeneration process. He studied for both his undergraduate degree (biomedical materials science) and his PhD on the development of a novel bioresponsive ceramic (under the supervision of Jake Barralet) at the University of Birmingham, UK. On completion of his PhD, Prof. Grover spent two years working in the labs of Jake Barralet and Marc McKee at McGill University, Montreal, where he was awarded a CIHR Skeletal Health Scholarship to study the role of a range of proteins and condensed phosphates in the formation of minerals. He returned to the University of Birmingham in 2006 to establish a research group in the School of Chemical Engineering. In the time since, Prof. Grover has held funding from a multitude of funding bodies, including: the EPSRC, BBSRC, MRC, NC3Rs, the Wellcome Trust, Orthopaedics Research UK, the MoD, the EU, the Drummond Foundation and the NIHR, as well as numerous industrial partners. Since 2006, he has been involved in raising more than £20m of research funding that has provided the University of Birmingham with an exceptional infrastructure for the development of medical technologies. He has published in excess of 100 peer reviewed publications, more than 200 conference contributions, 4 book chapters, has been an inventor on five patent applications and has made more than 35 invited presentations. He was made a Fellow of the Institute of Materials at 30 and was made one of the youngest full Professors in the history of the University of Birmingham at 32. He is a visiting Professor at the University of São Paolo.

Houman Hemmati

Vice President, Medical and Clinical Development for New Therapies

Capricor Therapeutics

View Bio

Houman David Hemmati, M.D., PhD. is Vice President of Medical and Clinical Development for New Therapies at Capricor Therapeutics, where he is working to drive promising new therapies including Capricor's exosome platform into clinical development. He previously served as Director, Clinical Development at Allergan, as Clinical Scientist in the Ophthalmology Therapeutic Area on several Phase 1, 2, and 3 studies related to anterior segment indications. Houman is a Board-Certified ophthalmologist, and is also presently Adjunct Assistant Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at USC Keck School of Medicine, where he serves as Attending Physician at LA County USC Medical Center. Previously, Houman served as Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Vermont School of Medicine, and has been a clinical/scientific consultant to Stemnion, Stealth Biotherapeutics, Access BridgeGap Ventures, Boston Consulting Group, Griffen Rose, Kaplan, and DJF ePlanet Ventures, and also co-founded Avicenna Pharmaceuticals, focused on cancer stem cell-targeted therapeutics. In his scientific career, Houman has co-discovered fetal blood-forming stem cells with Dr. Irv Weissman at Stanford, discovered cancer stem cells in the brain at Caltech, and invented a hydrogel for sustained-release topical drug delivery to the eye with Dr. Robert Langer at MIT. Houman earned an B.S. in Biological Sciences at Stanford, an M.D. from UCLA , a Ph.D. in Biology from Caltech, and completed an Internal Medicine internship at Stanford Hospital, an ophthalmology residency at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins Hospital, a postdoctoral fellowship in Chemical Engineering and Drug Delivery at MIT, and a clinical fellowship in Cornea and Refractive Surgery at the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School. Houman has received numerous awards and honors including The Alcon Research Scholar Award, and the Everhart Presidential Distinguished Lectureship from Caltech.

Georg Holländer

Head of the Department of Paediatrics

University of Oxford

View Bio

Professor Georg A Holländer was trained in both Paediatrics and Experimental Immunology in Switzerland and the U.S. He held academic positions at Harvard Medical School, Boston, US and the University of Basel, Switzerland, before he joined the University of Oxford in 2010 as the Action Research Professor of Paediatrics, and the Head of the Department of Paediatrics. He now formally holds academic appointments in Switzerland and the UK. His scientific and medical interests are focused on the development and function of the immune system in health and disease. 

Jay Jerome

Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

View Bio

Dr. Jerome is Associate Professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology and Associate Professor of Cancer Biology at Vanderbilt University. He is also Co-Director of the Cell Imaging Shared Resource at Vanderbilt. Jay is a Past-president of the Microscopy Society of America, the Co-Editor of a textbook on confocal microscopy, and an Editor for the journal Microscopy and Microanalysis. Jay’s research focuses on intracellular lipid metabolism and how disruption of normal lipid metabolism contributes to disease. His most recent studies investigate how lipids, particularly cholesterol, affects lysosome function and how alterations in lysosome function feedback to influence lipid metabolism. Lysosomes are key homeostatic organelles and lysosome dysfunction is associated with a number of diseases that become more prevalent with age. Dr. Jerome has shown that cholesterol overload inhibits lysosome function and disrupts cell homeostasis, particularly in inflammatory cells which can easily become overloaded with cholesterol. His group has also shown that lysosomal cholesterol-engorgement shifts other aspects of cellular lipid balance in ways that can push cells further into the disease state.

Jeffrey Karp

Associate Professor

Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School

View Bio

Jeff Karp is an Associate Professor at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and is Principal Faculty at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and affiliate faculty at MIT through the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. His research uses materials and biology to solve medical problems with emphasis on nanoscale/microscale materials and bio-inspiration. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters and has given over 130 national and international invited lectures and has 50 issued or pending patents. Several technologies that he has invented are currently being translated into medical products to improve the quality of life of suffering patients. In 2011 the Boston Business Journal recognized Dr. Karp as a Champion in Healthcare Innovation and in 2013 the Institute for Chemical Engineers (IChemE) awarded one of his technologies at the Most Innovative Product of the Year. MIT’s Technology Review Magazine (TR35) also recognized Dr. Karp as being one of the top innovators in the world under the age of 35. He has received the Society for Biomaterials Young Investigator Award and his work has been selected as one of Popular Mechanic's "Top 20 New Biotech Breakthroughs that Will Change Medicine". Dr. Karp was also elected in 2013 to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering's College of Fellows and as a Kavli Fellow. Dr. Karp is also an acclaimed mentor. He was selected as the Outstanding Faculty Undergraduate Mentor among all Faculty at MIT and received the HST McMahon Mentoring award for being the top mentor among all faculty who mentor Harvard-MIT students. To date, 13 postdoctoral fellows from his laboratory have secured faculty positions at institutions throughout the world.

Brian Kennedy

President and CEO

Buck Institute for Research on Aging

View Bio

Dr. Brian Kennedy is internationally recognized for his research in the basic biology of aging and is a visionary committed to translating research discoveries into new ways of delaying, detecting, preventing and treating age-related conditions. He leads a team of 23 principal investigators at the Buck Institute – all of whom are involved in interdisciplinary research aimed at extending healthspan, the healthy years of life.

The inventor on several patents, Dr. Kennedy is co-founder of two U.S. companies aimed at developing treatments for age-related chronic disease. He is actively involved in aging research in the Pacific Rim, which features the largest elderly population in the world. He is a visiting professor at the Aging Research Institute at Guangdong Medical College in China. In the past year he lectured in Korea, Russia, China, Chile, Austria, Italy and the United Kingdom. In conjunction with the University of Southern California, he also launched the nation’s first PhD Program in the Biology of Aging.

Dr. Kennedy has published more than 130 manuscripts in prestigious journals including Science and Nature and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Boston Globe, among others. He is co-Editor-in Chief of Aging Cell and serves as a consultant for biotech and pharmaceutical companies. His own research has led to the discovery of Sirtuins and the mTOR pathway as key regulators of aging, with current studies involving an intensive focus that is unusual in the field – his work seeks to move discoveries from simple organisms into mammalian animal models as quickly as possible in order to develop new approaches to alleviate age-associated diseases in humans.

Jane Lebkowski

President of R&D

Asterias Biotherapeutics Inc.

View Bio

Jane Lebkowski has been actively involved in the development of cell and gene therapies since 1986 and is currently President of R&D at Asterias Biotherapeutics Inc, where she is responsible for all preclinical, product, and clinical development of Asterias’ products. In addition, Dr. Lebkowski recently served as the Chief Scientific Officer at Regenerative Patch Technologies, a biotechnology firm developing composite stem cell based implants targeting restoration of retinal architecture and function in patients with macular degeneration. From 1998 to 2012, Dr. Lebkowski was Senior Vice President of Regenerative Medicine and Chief Scientific Officer at Geron Corporation. Dr. Lebkowski led Geron’s human embryonic stem cell program, being responsible for all research, preclinical development, product development, manufacturing, and clinical development activities. Prior to Geron, Dr. Lebkowski was Vice President of Research and Development at Applied Immune Sciences. Following the acquisition of Applied Immune Sciences by Rhone Poulenc Rorer (RPR, currently Sanofi), Dr. Lebkowski remained at RPR as Vice President of Discovery Research. During Dr. Lebkowski’s tenure at RPR, she coordinated preclinical investigations of gene therapy approaches for treatment of cancer, cardiovascular disease and nervous system disorders, and directed vector formulations and delivery development. Dr. Lebkowski received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Princeton University in 1982, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Department of Genetics, Stanford University in 1986.

Dr. Lebkowski has published over 70 peer reviewed papers and has 13 issued U.S. patents. Dr. Lebkowski has served as the co-chair of the Industrial Committee of the International Society for Stem Cell Research and serves on several scientific advisory boards and other professional committees.

Jeanne Loring


Scripps Research Institute

View Bio

Jeanne Loring, Ph.D., is a Professor and the founding Director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla. Her research team focuses on large-scale analysis of genomics and epigenetics of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) and their derivatives, in order to ensure the quality and safety of these cells for clinical use. The team's translational projects include development of cell therapies for Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer disease, and epigenetic modeling of autism. The team is also producing an ethnically diverse library of iPSC (induced pluripotent stem cell) lines for use in pharmaceutical screening. In addition, her lab is developing a "zoo" of induced pluripotent stem cells from endangered species to aid in their conservation. Dr. Loring is committed to educating both scientists and the public. She has trained more than 400 scientists over the last 10 years in intensive laboratory courses in human ES and iPSC biology, and is author of a comprehensive laboratory manual on human pluripotent stem cells ("Human Stem Cell Manual: a Laboratory Guide, in second edition, 2012). She is frequently quoted in major newspapers, and gives numerous public lectures and interviews to inform the public about biological and societal issues associated with stem cell research, including the ethics of stem cell generation and clinical use, the legal implications of stem cell patents, and public education about the dangers of unregulated stem cell treatments (“stem cell tourism”). Dr. Loring serves on both bioethics and scientific advisory boards.

Nancy Manley

Distinguished Research Professor of Genetics

University of Georgia

View Bio

Nancy Manley, Ph.D., Distinguished Research Professor of Genetics and Chair of UGA’s Developmental Biology Alliance, is internationally recognized as an expert on the development, function and aging of the thymus and parathyroid organs. These areas are highly relevant to the function of the immune and endocrine systems. She obtained her Ph.D. from MIT under the direction of Drs. Nancy Hopkins and Philip Sharp, and did her postdoctoral training as an HHMI scholar under Dr. Mario Capeccchi at the University of Utah. Dr. Manley has carved a unique niche at the intersection of development, immunology and aging. By using molecular genetic approaches to investigate the biology of the thymus across the entire lifespan, she has been able to uncover fundamental principles of organ development and aging, including mechanisms regulating stability of cell fate and degeneration of the immune system with aging. These principles have particular relevance to developing therapeutic interventions aimed at improving the immune system in the elderly by rejuvenating or replacing an aged thymus. She was recently part of a research team that was the first to grow a fully functional thymus in a living animal from transplanted cells. This discovery could one day aid in the development of laboratory-grown replacement organs, and it may form the basis of a thymus transplant for people with weakened immune systems.

Nick Meadows

Management Consultant


View Bio

Nick has over 8 years of experience working in the life sciences industry as a Management Consultant for Kinapse, a Technology Transfer analyst at Isis Innovation, University of Oxford and a post-doctoral scientist at the Medical Research Council, UK.
As a consultant at Kinapse Nick has managed engagements across research and development and commercial functions of the life sciences and pharmaceutical industry. In the past 5 years his work has spanned major transformational projects in clinical operations and research and development, to asset level strategy through direct engagement with program teams and commercial leads. He currently leads the Market Access Service line at Kinapse where he supports clients optimise the pricing and reimbursement outcomes for launching and development products.
Nick has spent significant time with clients developing biosimilars reviewing both development strategy and commercial potential for biosimilars in the last 3 years.
In addition to his work supporting strategic and operational challenges in the industry Nick has collaborated with regulators, policy makers and healthcare care practitioners to provide recommendations to accelerate the development of personalised medicines.
Prior to his work as a consultant at Kinapse, Nick worked as a post-doctoral research scientist in the UKL and Australia where he published in the fields of metabolism and immunology.
Nick holds an MBA from Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, and a PhD and BSc (Hons) in Molecular Biology from University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

Stephen Minger


SLM Blue Skies Innovations Ltd.

View Bio

Dr Stephen Minger was appointed the Global Director for Research and Development for Cell Technologies at GE Healthcare in September 2009. Stephen received his PhD in Pathology (Neurosciences) in 1992 from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. After post-doctoral work in central nervous system gene therapy, neural transplantation and neural stem cell biology at UCSD with Professor Fred “Rusty” Gage, he moved to the UK in 1996 and was appointed a Lecturer in Biomolecular Sciences at King's College London in 1998. He was appointed a Senior Lecturer in Stem Cell Biology in 2005 and was the Director of the Stem Cell Biology Laboratory from 2002 until joining GE Healthcare in 2009.

Over the past 20+ years, Stephen’s research group has been at the forefront of human stem cell research. In 2002, his research team was awarded one of the first two licenses granted by the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority for the derivation of human embryonic stem (hES) cells and his group was the first to deposit a human ES cell line into the UK Stem Cell Bank. Stephen was also one of the first two groups in the UK to be granted a research license by the HFEA in 2008 to pursue Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) to generate “hybrid human embryos” for fundamental research into genetic forms of neurodegenerative conditions. He was actively involved with the UK Department of Health and with the Minister for Public Health in the consultation with both Houses of Parliament that led to the passage of the Human Embryo Bill of 2009 and the inclusion of new forms of animal-human embryos within primary legislation.

Stephen was the Stem Cell Expert and a Member of the UK Gene Therapy Advisory Committee (GTAC) at the Department of Health from 2006-2012 and was the Focal Point for Regenerative Medicine, Drug Discovery and Modernisation of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China for the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills from 2006-2009. He has been an external consultant and reviewer to the European Commission Framework Programmes (FP6 and FP7) since 2003 to promote European-wide biomedical research, a member of the Grants Working Group of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine since 2004, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Centre for the Commercialisation of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM).

In the summer of 2013, Stephen was appointed Chief Scientist for Cellular Sciences, GE Healthcare Life Sciences, and was responsible for long-term global research strategy for technology development in cell therapy, regenerative medicine, cellular technologies, in vivo diagnostic imaging and precision diagnostics. He left full-time employment with GE in Feb 2015 but is still a part-time Senior Consultant in Cellular Sciences and Regenerative for GE Healthcare Life Sciences. He also serves as the Director of SLM Blue Skies Innovations Ltd, providing expert analysis in emerging healthcare technologies for the life sciences investment community.

Sridaran Natesan

Vice President, Strategic Initiatives & Science Relations


View Bio

Dr. Sridaran Natesan is the Vice President, Strategic Initiatives & Science Relations (North America) and a senior member of the Science Strategy, External Innovation and Science Policy group at Sanofi. Prior to taking this role in 2009, he served as the Scientific Site Head of Sanofi-Aventis in Cambridge, Massachusetts. From 2005-2009, he served as the Senior Distinguished Scientist and co-led the stem cell initiative at Sanofi-aventis. Dr. Natesan has 20 years of biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry experience and during this time was leading multiple scientific teams focused on drug discovery and held several senior management roles. Dr. Natesan is responsible for setting up major partnerships with major academic and medical institutions, biotechnology companies and disease foundations.

Dr. Natesan received his Ph.D degree in Molecular Genetics from the University of Calgary and pursued his post-doctoral work at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories in New York. Dr. Natesan serves on several committees and boards including the Industry Committee of International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), Mass BioEd and U Mass Center for Clinical & Translational Science.

Steve Oh

Director, Stem Cell Bioprocessing

Agency for Science Technology and Research

View Bio

Steve Oh is Director, Stem Cell Bioprocessing and Senior Principal Scientist at the Bioprocessing Technology Institute, Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR). His passion is to develop the biomanufacturing processes that will undergird the production of stem cells for cell therapies. The team at BTI have developed integrated microcarrier-based bioprocesses for the expansion of human sources of a variety of adult stem cells (mesenchymal stem cells or MSC); pluripotent stem cells (embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells – hESC or hiPSC). The MSCs have been differentiated to bone and cartilage, while the hESC/hiPSC have been differentiated to neuroprogenitors and neurons, cardiomyocytes and blood cells in unified processes that range from 20 to 80 days. Two other important supportive functions are the development of cost-effective and simple serum free media for all of these stem cell cultures to the differentiated progenies, and the fabrication of biodegradable microcarriers for cell expansion in bioreactors and subsequent transplantation into bone and cartilage defects. In sum, the team have published 80 papers in this field and continue to push the boundaries of stem cell biomanufacturing to new frontiers in terms of scale of operations and complexity of monitoring. He also concurrently runs the Bioprocess Internship Programme that trains graduates for the growing biologics and cell therapy industry in Singapore.

Chase Perkins

Founder & CEO


View Bio

Chase Perkins (J.D.) is Founder & CEO of Thoughtly. Thoughtly is an artificial intelligence company that builds tools for the automated analysis, visualization and summarization of text. 

Thoughtly’s natural language tools serve as a compliment to domain expertise and enable individuals to quickly familiarize themselves with large amounts of text, by mapping themes, generating summaries and identifying anomalies. Mr. Perkins works closely with industry leaders to provide artificial intelligence solutions to academic researchers, professional services and government organizations. 

He is an Illinois licensed attorney and regularly blogs about machine learning, technology policy and business solutions. He is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago School of Law and a former Senior Editor for Loyola University Chicago Consumer Law Review.

Cathy Prescott


Biolatris Ltd.

View Bio

Over 20 years of experience in research, management and business in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and venture capital sectors.

Founder/Director Biolatris Ltd that provides due-diligence services to support decisions relating to investment and options to leverage the potential commercial value of intellectual property. Non-executive Director Videregen Ltd a regenerative medicine company developing organ replacement products to address the chronic shortage of organs for transplantation; advisory board member Trakcel Ltd that is developing innovative supply chain management software for cell therapeutics; mentor to Vietnam Silicon Valley a government focussed initiative to support start-ups and a Member of the Board of Trustees IMET2000 a charity that aims to promote inexpensive, continuous and accessible healthcare education and training for all professionals working in the global health sector. Cathy also founded the ‘Quartet’, a consortium of senior representatives of the reinsurance and pensions advisory services researching the potential impact of regenerative medicines and emerging technologies on the financial services sector.

Mentor to the Ignite Summer Business School programme (Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning, Cambridge University), Senior Associate for the Masters in Bioscience Enterprise (Cambridge University) and Visiting Professor at Kings College, London. Co-editor and contributor ‘The Delivery of Regenerative Medicines and Impact on Healthcare’ (CRC Press).

Formerly Cathy chaired the UK National Stem Cell Network Advisory committee, was a Life Sciences Board member WPI (MA US) and Director of the East of England Stem Cell Network.

Mahendra Rao

Vice President of Research in Regenerative Medicine

Q Therapeutics

View Bio

Mahendra Rao received his MD from Bombay University in India and his PhD in Developmental Neurobiology from the California Institute of Technology. Mahendra Rao is wisely known for his research involving human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), iPSC, and other somatic stem cells. Dr. Rao and has worked in the stem cell field for more than twenty years with stints in academia, government and regulatory affairs and industry.

Dr. Rao has an extensive background teaching medical and graduate students, as well as postdoctoral fellows at several institutions including the National Institutes of Health, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, The National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India, and the University of Utah School of Medicine.  Dr. Rao has published more than 300 papers on stem cell research and is the co-founder of a neural stem cell company, Q Therapeutics, based in Salt Lake City (Utah).

Dr. Rao serves on several editorial boards, review panels scientific advisory boards and company boards. He continues to work with the NIH and FDA on consent other regulatory authorities on ESC related issues most recently as the CIRM and ISSCR liaison to the ISCT. Dr Rao is currently on the faculty at Wake Forest University and is the Vice President of Research in Regenerative Medicine at Q Therapeutics. He currently serves on the Board of CESCA, XCell and Q Therapeutics and on the SAB’s and as a consultant of various stem cell companies including the New York Stem Cell Foundation. He continues to maintain an active research program in neural development and in evaluating cell based screening and therapy to treat disorders of the nervous system.

Brock Reeve

Executive Director

Harvard Stem Cell Institute

View Bio

Brock Reeve is Executive Director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. In partnership with the Faculty Directors, he has overall responsibility for the operations and strategy of the Institute whose mission is to use stem cells, both as tools and as therapies, to understand and treat the root causes of leading degenerative diseases. HSCI is comprised of the schools of Harvard University and all its affiliated hospitals and research institutions. Under the leadership of the Executive Committee, HSCI invests in scientific research and its faculty has grown to include over 300 Principal and Affiliated members. The Institute is engaged with several leading pharmaceutical companies and foundations in joint research projects and its faculty have founded several stem cell-related start-up companies and serve on leading Scientific Advisory Boards. Brock came to this role from the commercial sector with extensive experience in both management consulting and operations for technology-based companies, with a focus on life sciences. Brock received a BA and MPhil from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Jerry Shay

Vice Chairman, Department of Cell Biology

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas

View Bio

Jerry W. Shay is the Vice Chairman of the Department of Cell Biology at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, an Associate Director of the Harold Simmon's Comprehensive Cancer Center, and holds the Southland Corporation Distinguished Chair in Geriatrics Research. He is also the Program Director of the Cancer Biology Graduate Program at UT Southwestern. Dr Shay holds the title of Distinguish Teaching Professor, is a member of the Southwestern Academy of Teachers, and a member of the University of Texas System Kenneth Shine Academy of Health Science Educators. In 2012 was awarded a University of Texas Regent’s Outstanding Teaching Award, and in 2013 the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation Professor Award.

Throughout his career, Dr. Shay has been interested in the relationships between aging and cancer. His seminal work on the relationships of telomerase to aging and cancer has received much international recognition. He received the AlliedSignal Award for Research on Aging, the Ted Nash Foundation Award, and the American Association of Aging Hayflick Award together with his long term collaborator, Dr. Woodring E. Wright. Dr. Shay was also named an Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar in Aging Research. Dr. Shay was placed in the Institute for Scientific Investigations as one of the most highly cited scientists in the field of "Molecular Biology and Genetics". Science Watch placed Dr. Shay into the Doctors of the Decade list and he was ranked as one the most cited authors in the area of General Biomedicine (Science Watch 17:1 2-3, 2006). He was also included in a list of highly influential biomedical researchers 1996-2011 (Boyack, KW et al., Eur. J. Clin. Inves. 43(12):1339-65, 2013). The citation of his work by other scientists attests to the impact of Dr. Shay’s research (h index = 102). In addition to 20 issued patents, Dr. Shay has published over 400 scientific articles, written 80 book chapters and edited 10 books.

Evan Snyder

Director, Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine/Core Facility

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute

View Bio

Evan Snyder earned his M.D. and his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania in 1980. He completed residencies in pediatrics and neurology at Children's Hospital-Boston, Harvard Medical School and postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School. In 1992, Dr. Snyder was appointed an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School and was promoted to assistant professor in 1996. He is regarded as one of the fathers of the stem cell field, having identified over 2 decades ago that cells that came to be called stem cells were a source of neural plasticity. He was the first to demonstrate that non-hematopoietic stem cells could mediate cell and gene replacement, home to injury, and perform protective, trophic, pro-regenerative, and anti-inflammatory actions. He was also the first to isolate human neural stem cells. In 2003, after 23 years at Harvard, Dr. Snyder was recruited to Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute as professor and director of the Stem Cells and Regeneration Center and Core Facility.

Hal Sparks

Actor, Comedian & Musician

View Bio

Currently starring in the Disney XD show, LAB RATS, actor/comedian Hal Sparks began his professional career as a teenager in Chicago. As a member of the famed Second City Troupe, his quick wit and affable personality quickly gained him recognition and acclaim and he was named the "Funniest Teenager In Chicago" by the Chicago Sun Times. Sparks went on to host the Emmy Award-winning "Talk Soup" on E! Entertainment Television, winning rave reviews from fans and critics alike. He starred for five seasons on Showtime's hit series "Queer As Folk" and appeared in the films "Extract", "Spiderman 2" and "Dude, Where's My Car?" Sparks recently starred in his own one hour Showtime comedy special, "Charmageddon", which is now a best-selling DVD. He is a star commentator on VH1's popular "I Love the 80's" series and can be hear every Wednesday on the nationally syndicated "Stephanie Miller Radio Show". Hal is also a pop culture expert and regularly appears on such shows as "Joy Behar" and CNN's "Your Money". His numerous other television appearances include "The Tonight Show", "Larry King Live", "Charlie Rose", "Good Morning America", "The View", "Jimmy Kimmel" and MTV. In addition to a busy acting and stand-up career, he is an accomplished musician. Hal and his band, Zero 1, recently released their debut album.

John Trojanowski

Professor of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology

University of Pennsylvania

View Bio

Dr. Trojanowski obtained his MD/PhD in 1976 from Tufts University, did a medicine internship at Mt. Auburn Hospital, trained in pathology and neuropathology at Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine where he joined the faculty in 1981. He is Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Director of the NIA Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Director of the NINDS Morris K. Udall Parkinson’s Disease Center, Co-Director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Director of the Institute on Aging and Co-director of the Marian S. Ware Alzheimer Program. His research focuses on Alzheimer’s (AD) and Parkinson’s (PD) disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), frontotemporal degeneration (FTD) and related disorders which has led to the discovery that aggregation of tau, alpha-synuclein and TDP-43 proteins underlies AD, PD, FTLD, ALS and related disorders. This opened up new avenues for treatments for these disorders. Dr. Trojanowski has received the Metropolitan Life Foundation Award (1996), the Potamkin Prize (1998), a Pioneer Award from the Alzheimer’s Association (1998), the 2004 Irving Wright Award of the American Federation for Aging Research, the 2005 Rous-Whipple Award of the American Society for Investigative Pathology, the 24th Annual Robert J. and Claire Pasarow Foundation Award in Neuropsychiatry Research (2012), the 2012 John Scott Award, the 2014 J. Allyn Taylor International Prize in Medicine, Molecular Basis of Neurological Disorders from the Robarts Institute, London, Ontario, Canada and he was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2002. He led an effort to prepare a 2009 PBS film entitled “Alzheimer’s Disease-Facing the Facts” that won a 2008 CINE “Golden Eagle Award” and a 2009 Emmy Award for short documentary films. Dr. Trojanowski is among the top 10 most highly cited AD researchers from 1997 to 2007 with an h-index of 133.

Fyodor Urnov

Senior Scientist

Sangamo BioSciences, Inc.

View Bio

Fyodor Urnov, Ph.D., is Project Leader and Senior Scientist at Sangamo BioSciences, Inc. where he co-developed human genome editing with engineered zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs). Dr. Urnov previously led the company’s research and development efforts in deploying genome editing for crop trait engineering (in partnership with Dow Agrosciences) and in generation of engineered cell lines for manufacturing, improved generation of transgenic animals and as research reagents (in partnership with Sigma-Aldrich). In his current role as Project Leader for the Hemoglobinopathies, Dr Urnov heads Sangamo’s partnership with Biogen to develop genome editing as a one time, lasting treatment for beta-thalassemia and sickle cell disease. Dr. Urnov is also an associate adjunct professor in the department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr Urnov received his Ph.D. from Brown University and holds a B.Sc. in Biology from Moscow State University. He is an author on more than 60 scientific publications and an inventor on more than 90 issued and pending US patents related to ZFP technology.

Jan Vijg

Professor and Chairman of the Department of Genetics

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

View Bio

Jan Vijg, Ph.D., is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Genetics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York since July, 2008. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands, in 1987. From 1990 to 1993 he was founder and Scientific Director of Ingeny B.V., a Dutch Biotechnology company. In 1993 he moved to Boston, to take up a position as Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. In 1998 he accepted an offer from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas, to become a Professor in the Department of Physiology. From 2006 to 2008 he was a Professor at the Buck Institute for Age Research in Novato, California. With his research team he was the first to develop transgenic mouse models for studying mutagenesis in vivo (in 1989) and has used these models ever since in studying the relationship between damage to the genome and aging. He has published over 200 scientific articles and two books, and is inventor or co-inventor on 8 patents.

Ivan Wall

Senior Lecturer

University College London

View Bio

I am a multidisciplinary scientist working at the interface of bioprocess engineering and science. Drawing on extensive practical understanding and working knowledge of the cell biology principles of tissue injury, repair and regeneration, my work focuses on the development of new products and processes for the regenerative medicine industry. Critically for supporting the growing industry, I focus on developing product and process understanding that will enable translation from the lab bench to industrial platforms employed in the manufacturing setting.

I gained my Masters (2002) and PhD degrees (2006) from Cardiff University Medical and Dental Schools and then undertook post-doctoral work first at the UCL Eastman Dental Institute followed by UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. Building close links with clinicians early in my career has fuelled my desire to ensure research is translational and informed by the clinical need. Since 2009 I have held an academic post at UCL Biochemical Engineering, where I am currently a Senior Lecturer. I have built a multidisciplinary group working on a range of projects covering process development and product characterization in collaboration with clinical and industrial partners across the globe. Our current work includes: scalable expansion of adult progenitor cells; development of cell lines for neural tissue repair; modular approaches to tissue engineering; high throughput screening tools to optimize cell manufacturing processes; development of potency assays that adopt physiologically relevant parameters; molecular priming to enhance vascular support characteristics of MSCs; and scalable processing for exosome production. I have published 50 papers and book chapters to date and am a visiting professor at Dankook University, South Korea, where the team works on advanced biomaterials for tissue engineering.

David Williams

Professor of Healthcare Engineering and University Academic Lead

Loughborough University

View Bio

David is Professor of Healthcare Engineering and University Academic Lead for Health and Wellbeing at Loughborough University, UK. He has held senior leadership positions in academia and industry, working for much of his career at their interface and in healthcare for the last 15 years. Responsibilities have included line, change and consortium management. David has published ~400 refereed journal and conference papers, has held >40 significant research grants, successfully supervised >20 PhDs and founded two world class research groups. The last decade has focussed on leadership of major research and research training initiatives in regenerative medicine (RM). Since 2006 he has also led multi-disciplinary health research across the Loughborough campus. His early career was primarily in Cambridge University. Personal research addresses manufacturing and regulatory science of clinician-pulled autologous therapies and opportunities for engineers within military medicine. Recent policy contributions include oral evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee in RM and membership of the Department of Health RM Expert Group.  He was honoured with a Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2002 and as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2014 for services to science and engineering. He is recognised as a pioneer and thought leader in cell therapy manufacturing and translation. 

Joseph Wu

Director/Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) and Radiology

Stanford Cardiovascular Institute/Stanford School of Medicine

View Bio

Joseph C. Wu, MD, PhD is Director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute and Professor in the Department of Medicine (Cardiology) and Radiology at the Stanford School of Medicine. Dr. Wu has received several awards, including the Burroughs Wellcome Foundation Career Award for Medical Scientists (2007), the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (2008), the Baxter Foundation Faculty Award (2008), the NIH Roadmap Transformative Award (2009), the AHA National Innovative Research Award (2009), the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers given by President Obama (2010), the AHA Established Investigator Award (2013), and the Academy of Radiology Research Distinguished Investigator Award (2014). Dr. Wu is a Councilor for the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and a Scientific Advisory Board member for the Keystone Symposia. Dr. Wu has published >200 manuscripts. His lab uses a combination of genomics, cellular & molecular biology, physiological testing, and molecular imaging technologies to better understand molecular and pathophysiological processes. His lab works on biological mechanisms of patient-specific and disease-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The main goals are for (i) understanding cardiovascular disease mechanism, (ii) accelerate drug discovery and screening, and (iii) develop personalized medicine platforms.  

Tony Wyss-Coray

Professor of Neurology and Neurological sciences

Stanford University

View Bio

Tony Wyss-Coray is a professor of Neurology and Neurological sciences at Stanford and the Associate Director of the Center for Tissue Regeneration, Repair and Restoration at the Palo Alto VA. His lab investigates the role of immune responses in brain aging and neurodegeneration with a focus on cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. He combines the study of mouse models with human clinical samples using cytomic, proteomic, and bioinformatics tools. His most recent studies show that systemic circulatory factors can modulate neurogenesis, neuroinflammation, and cognitive function in mice and that factors from young mice can rejuvenate the aging brain.  He is the recipient of an NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award, a Zenith award from the Alzheimer’s Association, a distinguished scholar award from the John Douglas French Alzheimer Foundation, and he is an inventor on multiple patents.