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 (Associate 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.
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.
Dan Browne (Research Associate I, Diabetes)
Dan Browne joins NYSCF as a research technician under Bjarki Johannesson studying beta cell replacement therapies for type-1 diabetes. Diagnosed with type-1 diabetes at age 10, Dan is passionate about advancing diabetes research and bringing the diabetes community together however he can. Previously he has worked as Programs Assistant at College Diabetes Network, a nonprofit dedicated to providing support for college students with T1D, and still assists with alumni programming and student outreach. He has started a chapter of College Diabetes Network at his alma mater, University of Mary Washington, worked as a counselor at a summer camp for children with T1D in Maryland, and has been a babysitter and big brother to children with T1D in Washington DC, Boston, and New York City.
Brian Campos (Research Associate II, Neurobiology)
Brian joins NYSCF as a Research Technician after graduating from Harvard University in May 2012 with a BA in Neurobiology and citations in Mandarin and French. After a successful 2011 summer internship at NYSCF, working on Alzheimer's disease modeling, Brian will further his experience in stem cell research by working on related projects in the NYSCF laboratory. Other previous scientific experience includes an internship at Dr. Donald Pfaff's laboratory at Rockefeller University in 2008 and a summer at Dr. Jean Mariani's laboratory at Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris in 2010. In his spare time, Brian enjoys watching and playing soccer and learning about foreign cultures.
Wendy Castro (Assistant 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 (Vice President, Research and Development)
As the Vice President for Research and Development 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 monitoration 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 (Principal 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.
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.
Carmen Dusenberry (Laboratory Operations Manager)
Carmen Dusenberry currently focuses on generating induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from Alzheimer's patients in order to further study the disease to identify opportunities for new treatments. Previously, she worked in health care, publishing, and hospitality. She earned a BS degree in Biological Sciences at Fordham University, where she presented research on ZFN mediated gene disruption and the effects of polyphenols on the cardiovascular system.
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.
Eliana Forero (Human Subjects Research Coordinator)
Eliana works as Human Subjects Research Coordinator and 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 the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), where she also served as EMBL/EMBO council representative for Science and Society, The Rockefeller University and Columbia University Medical Center. She is currently enrolled in a Masters in Research Bioethics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine/Union Graduate College and received her BA from the prestigious Sarah Lawrence College, where she was named Schupf Scholar for the Advancement of Women in Science. Eliana also has previous experience in publishing and public relations. She continues to feed her passion for research by performing, non-human subjects related research at the NYSCF laboratory.
Valentina Fossati (NYSCF-Helmsley 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.
Donald (Danny) O. Freytes, PhD (Principal Investigator)
Danny’s research at NYSCF focuses on the development of in vitro platforms that mimic the inflammatory environment during wound healing to study the interactions between repair cells and the host tissue response. In addition, his research will focus on the generation of tissue specific extracellular matrices for the growth and differentiation of stem cells. He received a doctoral degree in Bioengineering from the University of Pittsburgh working in the laboratory of Professor Stephen Badylak studying extracellular matrix (ECM) scaffolds. Later he received his postdoctoral training at Columbia University in the Laboratory of Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering under the direction of Professor Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic. For his postdoctoral work, he received a fellow-to-faculty award from the New York State Department of Health (NYSTEM).
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 Assistant)
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.
Aana Hahn (Senior Automation Engineer)
Aana Hahn joined NYSCF in August 2012 as an Automation Engineer. She has previously worked at Merck Research Laboratories in New Jersey to develop and optimize assays into an automated format for screening small molecules for high throughput screening campaigns and lead optimization or lead identification phases of drug discovery. She joins the team at NYSCF that focuses on the automated integration of The NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array. Aana received a BS in Biosystems Engineering from University of Arizona and a MS in Biomedical Engineering from Rutgers University-Piscataway.
Premlatha Jagadeesan (Research Associate II, Automation Systems)
Premlatha graduated from University of Massachusetts, Lowell with MS in Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering in 2011. She was working as an Intern, at a program sponsored by MLSC, at Energesis Pharmaceuticals where she was studying the function/proliferation of brown adipocytes precursors for the treatment of obesity before joining NYSCF as Research Technician in October 2011.
Ruth Jarmul (Special Advisor)
Ruth serves a Special Advisor to NYSCF after having been NYSCF Vice President of Administration for more than five years. She has extensive experience in operational improvement, strategic planning, development and communications. Ruth worked with Susan Solomon in 2005 on NYSCF's first mission statement and plans. Previously Ruth served as a principal of Quantum Media and senior manager of the Mitchell Madison Group, a 700-consultant firm founded by McKinsey partners. She also was Dow Jones Director of Planning. Ruth received a BA from Yale and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Bjarki Johannesson, PhD, MSc (Research Fellow)
Bjarki Johannesson has joined NYSCF as a Postdoctoral Fellow. 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 will apply molecular and cellular biology techniques to gain a better understanding of why beta cells fail in diabetes.
Ali Kean (Marketing & Outreach Associate)
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 I, 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.
Elizabeth Lane (Human Subjects Research Assistant)
Elizabeth joined NYSCF in August 2014 as a Human Subjects Research Assistant. She has gained clinical and research experience in the United States, Ecuador and Argentina, in various disciplines. Previously, she worked in Research and Development and Quality Assurance at Response Genetics, a molecular diagnostics company. She received her BA in Biochemistry from Occidental College. She enjoys improvisational comedy and playing the cello.
Aiqun Li, PhD (Staff Scientist)
Aiqun Li, PhD, joined NYSCF as a staff scientist in 2011. His current research includes the generation of dopamine neurons from Parkinson’s disease-specific induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells for modeling and studying disease and therapeutic transplantation. Previously, he was a postdoctoral/research associate in Dr. Ching-Hwa Sung’s lab at the Dyson Vision Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medical College. During his postdoctoral training, he explored the link between primary cilia and fate determination of neural stem cells in neocortex development. He received his PhD from Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2006. His thesis project focused on the mechanisms underlying the neuroprotective action of apomorphine, a promising drug for Parkinson's disease. He earned his MD from Nanjing Medical University in 2000.
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.
Lydia Mailander (Research Assistant)
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.
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.
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.
Dorota Moroziewicz, PhD (Associate Research Scientist I, 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.
Chris Napolitano (Senior Systems Architect)
Chris joined NYSCF in September 2012, following experiences at Hamilton Robotics and Merck & Co., Inc. During his time at Hamilton, Chris held the role of Field Applications Engineer supporting new and existing Hamilton Robotics' install base for the New York and Connecticut region. Prior to that he was a university hire at Merck Research Laboratories where he started as a bench level Chemist within Natural Products Drug Discovery. He then held increasing roles of responsibility that ultimately led to a Research Associate responsible for automating and supporting the hardware and informatics endeavors for Lead Optimization and Lead Identification within InVitro Pharmacology at the Rahway site. Chris has a BS in Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh and a MS in Information Systems from Stevens Institute of Technology.
Scott Noggle, PhD (Vice President, Stem Cell Research - The NYSCF - Charles Evans Senior Research Fellow for Alzheimer's Disease)
Scott A. Noggle, PhD is the Vice President for Stem Cell Research at the New York Stem Cell Foundation & The NYSCF-Charles Evans Senior Research Fellow for Alzheimer’s Disease. 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.
Isabella Pallotta, PhD (Postdoctoral Research Fellow)
Isabella has joined the NYSCF team in October 2013, under the direction of Dr. Donald O. Freytes. She will be working on the development of advanced cardiac culture systems. She obtained her PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Pavia in Italy, in the laboratory of Professor Alessandra Balduini (Biotechnology Laboratories). Her research focused on studying the mechanisms of hemopoiesis, megakaryocyte differentiation and platelet release, with particular attention to how different components of the bone marrow microenvironment regulate these processes. As a visiting PhD student and thereafter as a Postdoctoral Scholar, she joined Professor David Kaplan’s group, in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Tufts University, Medford (MA), to work on a joint interdisciplinary project on megakaryocytes with Professor Balduini. The goal of this project was to gain fundamental insight into platelets and megakaryocyte cell biology and developing bioengineered systems, and to apply these insights towards novel therapeutics based on interactions with silk proteins. She will use her previous expertise in order to develop culture systems that mimic the inflammatory environment found at the site of myocardial infarction, with the goal of optimizing engineered cardiac constructs.
Daniel Paull, PhD (Director, 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 Assistant)
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 lead 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.
Samwan Rob (Design & Interactive Coordinator)
Samwan joined the NYSCF team in December 2013 after graduating from Northeastern University with an MPS in Digital Media and Communication. 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. In his spare time, Samwan enjoys composing music.
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 Pr. 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 (Associate 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 longtime health-care advocate, Ms. Solomon is a founding member and current President of NYAMR (New Yorkers for the Advancement of Medical Research), is on the Executive Committee for the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine, and she has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, New York Chapter. Ms. Solomon was also a member of the Empire State Stem Cell Board. In March 2008, Ms. Solomon received a New York State Women of Excellence Award from the Governor of New York. In September 2008, she received the Triumph Award from the Brooke Ellison Foundation for her work in establishing NYSCF.
Prior to founding NYSCF, Ms. Solomon, an attorney at Debevoise & Plimpton, spent much of her career building businesses. She established and ran Solomon Partners LLC to provide strategic management consulting to corporations, cultural institutions, foundations and non-profit organizations. She was the founding Chief Executive Officer of Sothebys.com. She has served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lancit Media Productions, an Emmy award-winning children’s television production company, and as the President of Sony Worldwide Networks. Ms. Solomon has also held executive positions at MacAndrews and Forbes Holdings and MMG Patricof and Co., and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Regional Plan Association of NY.
She received her BA from New York University and her JD from Rutgers University School of Law. She has three sons and is married to Paul Goldberger, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer on architecture.
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.
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.
Cecile Terrenoire, PhD (Director, Preclinical Biology & Assay Development)
Following a Master of Philosophy in Neurosciences obtained at the University of Claude Bernard-Lyon 1 in France, Cecile,received her Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Aspects of Biology from the University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis in France in 2002. Her thesis focused on the electrophysiological and pharmacological properties of ion channels expressed in cardiac myocytes, neurons and pancreatic cells. She then joined the Department of Pharmacology at Columbia University as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Kass, the vice-dean of research at Columbia University. During these years, she studied the molecular mechanisms responsible for a cardiac arrhythmia called the Long QT (LQT) Syndrome. She was promoted Associate Research Scientist in 2007 and used cardiac cells derived from iPS cells of a LQT patient with a complex genetic background in order to determine the molecular mechanisms responsible for the disease phenotype and also to study the impact of LQT therapies. Aside from this work, throughout the years she has carried out drug screening studies as part of contracts obtained with biotech and pharmaceutical companies.
Sarah Theobald (Development Associate)
Sarah joined NYSCF in May 2013 in the Development Department. She holds a BA from Franklin & Marshall College and a Masters of Public Policy from American University. Previously Sarah worked at the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care and The Architect’s Newspaper. In her personal time, she likes to volunteer with the New York Junior League and the New York Center for Child Development.
Jeff Wallerstein (Chief Financial Officer)
Jeff is a CPA who has worked with NYSCF since its inception. After leaving Ernst & Young in 1991 Jeff founded his own accounting and consulting practice specializing in not-for-profits and small entrepreneurial companies. Jeff has a BS from The New York State University College at Oneonta and is licensed in NY & NJ.
Emily Wrona (Research Associate II, Tissue Engineering)
Emily joined the NYSCF team in February 2013. While completing her BS degree in Biology at the University of Virginia, she worked for two years as a research assistant, first studying female infertility, and then conducting independent research on vertebrate circadian systems. Currently at NYSCF, she works in the Cardiac Regeneration group under the direction of Dr. Freytes, whose research focuses on the in vitro modeling of the inflammatory environment after myocardial infarction. She also specializes in the characterization and utilization of extracellular matrices for stem cell growth and differentiation
Mitsutoshi Yamada M.D., Ph.D. (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Mitsutoshi Yamada joined NYSCF in January 2013, as a postdoctoral fellow under Dr. Dieter Egli. He received his Ph.D. in Medicine from Keio University School of Medicine in Japan, where he did a functional study of the novel preimplantation-specific gene, Hmgpi, and studied molecular mechanisms underlying preimplantation development. Continuously he studied metabolomic analysis to further optimize the culturing of preimplantation embryos. Mitsutoshi also worked at Keio University School of Medicine as an M.D. from 2002-2012 and specialized in fertility and sterility. His current interests are focused on the mechanisms that limit reprogramming after nuclear transfer and reprogramming using ectopic expression of transcription factors. His work at NYSCF will contribute to the advancement of reproductive medicine and infertility.
Monica Zhou, PhD (Staff Scientist)
Monica joined NYSCF as a Staff Scientist in October 2011. Prior to NYSCF, she was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Dr. Sheng Ding' lab at Gladstone Institute, UCSF/ The Scripps Research Institute. The broad focus of her postdoctoral research was the elucidation of mechanisms that direct mammalian cell pluripotency, aimed at generating iPSC without gene integration and addressing the mechanistic differences between the naïve and ground pluripotency states. She received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from The University of Hong Kong in 2007. Her current research at NYSCF focuses on iPSC derivation for The NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array.
Matthew Zimmer (Associate Director, Flow Cytometry)
Matthew joined NYSCF in January 2011. He previously studied differentiation and post-transplant homing of mouse hematopoietic stem cells in the lab of Dr. Camilla Forsberg at the University of California-Santa Cruz. At NYSCF, Matthew conducts flow cytometry and cell sorting/cell separation research for Parkinson's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer's Disease, Diabetes, Cardiac Differentiation, and Bone Regeneration. Matthew also holds a degree in Music from Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz.
Sonya Ziolkowski (Development Manager)
Sonya joined NYSCF in April 2012 as our Development Assistant. She has previous fundraising and events experience from the non-profit and political sphere, working for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and as a Finance Deputy on several political campaigns in Colorado. She received her BA in Political Science from Dickinson College.