Dr. Mahendra Rao is an eminent scientist in the field of stem cell biology. He is internationally known for his research on human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and has over two decades experience, not only in the academic aspects of the field, but also in government, regulation and the industrial and clinical applications of stem cells. As the founding director of the Centre for Regenerative Medicine (CRM) at NIH, he oversaw the generation of 400 induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) lines slated for use in clinical therapies for a range of degenerative disorders. He has served as scientific advisor to companies and foundations such as Life Technologies (now Thermo Fisher Scientific) and the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF). Dr. Rao has also worked with the U.S. Food and Drug Authority (FDA) and has served on advisory panels to the governments of the U.S., Singapore and India on policies regarding hESCs (human Embryonic Stem Cells).
Dr. Nagy generated Canada’s first embryonic stem cell lines and discovered the first efficient non-viral method to reprogram somatic cells in to iPSCs. He was among the first who discovered the “dark side” of stem cell generation by finding that the establishment of these cells are associated with genetic damage. This discovery lead him to focus on finding a way to eliminate the potential risk of tumor formation if stem cell derived therapeutic cells are used in patients. He is a Canada Research Chair in Stem Cells and Regeneration as well as a senior scientific investigator at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sinai Health System and a Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto. Dr. Nagy is also a Professor at the Monash University, Melbourne, Australia and runs a second laboratory in the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI)
Dr. Keating is an internationally recognized leader in blood and marrow transplantation and cell therapy. He is a Professor of Medicine and of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto and established what has become the largest stem cell transplantation program in Canada at the University Health Network. He held the position of Chief, Medical Services at Princess Margaret Hospital for a decade and was the Division Director of Hematology at the University of Toronto as well as the first incumbent of the Gloria and Seymour Epstein Chair in Cell Therapy and Transplantation. He is a past President of the American Society of Hematology and a past President of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. He has served in a number of advisory roles at the US National Institutes of Health and more recently for the New Organ Alliance and NASA. Dr. Keating is a co-Founder of CellCAN, a consortium of cell manufacturing centres and their investigators across Canada and serves as Chair of its Steering Committee. His research and clinical interests focus on cell-based tissue regeneration, anti-cancer cell therapy, and blood and marrow transplantation. He has conducted laboratory, translational and clinical research in these areas, particularly on the biology and clinical application of mesenchymal stromal cells and NK cells.
Reporting directly to Dr. Keating, Kristina comes to panCELLa as one of the founding inventors of the “Allograft Tolerance without the need for Systemic Immune Suppression” patent. Kristina will split her time between her duties as a Research Associate at the Lunenfeld Tanenbaum Research Institute (LTRI SHS) and panCELLa. Prior to joining the Nagy Lab at the LTRI, Kristina completed a degree in clinical embryology. Previous to this, her focus was on animal sciences and she ran the Transgenic Facility at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory.
As the Manager of Operations, Lisa brings her flair for planning, project management, communications, and marketing to panCELLa. Prior to joining panCELLa, Lisa worked with a commercialization centre and a number of fledgling organizations where she successfully built up teams as well as organizations. Lisa graduated from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Library and Information Science with an MLS and having worked with an institutional information provider and in academic and public libraries, Lisa is an experienced and resourceful intelligence-gatherer who is also responsible for providing the panCELLa team with complex quantitative analysis and metrics.