Chairman of the Board, CEO & Co-founder
Shankar Musunuri , PhD, MBA
Chairman of the Board, CEO & Co-founder
Dr. Musunuri is a seasoned biotech veteran with about 30+ years of results-driven experience advancing and commercializing a diverse portfolio of products. Prior to co-founding Ocugen in 2013, Dr. Musunuri held leadership roles at numerous companies ranging from “Big Pharma” to novel start-up biotechs. After a long tenure at Pfizer, he founded Nuron Biotech, Inc., which he grew to a commercial company in less than three years, serving as President and CEO. Dr. Musunuri spent nearly fifteen years at Pfizer, where he gained extensive product launch and life-cycle management experience, playing a key role as Global Operations Team Leader for the most successful launch in vaccine history, Prevnar 13®.
Dr. Musunuri obtained his PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Connecticut and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Connecticut’s School of Pharmacy and serves on the advisory Board of Fuqua’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Duke University.
Chief Scientific Officer, Head of Research & Development
Arun Upadhyay , PhD
Chief Scientific Officer, Head of Research & Development
Arun Upadhyay, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, and Head of Research, Development and Medical, drives Ocugen’s innovation and product development. He leads science and operations, creating and implementing fit-for-purpose strategies that enable scientific and business solutions. He oversees the development of various product modalities, such as biologics, vaccines, cell and gene therapy, and regenerative medicine and is responsible for all product development activities including discovery, proof of concept, preclinical, bioanalyses, CMC, clinical, safety, medical support, and global regulatory submissions across entire R&D pipeline.
Dr. Upadhyay has over 20 years of experience across the biotechnology industry, academia, and government institutions, focused on discovery research, innovation, and product development. He successfully led multidisciplinary R&D functions including discovery, preclinical and clinical development of mAbs, bispecific, vaccines, and cell and gene therapy-based products. He led cutting-edge molecular and cell biology research contributing to the development of new therapeutics for infectious, ophthalmic, and degenerative diseases. He managed the team responsible for process and analytical development, formulation design for biologics and gene therapy-based products, tech-transfer, scale-up, manufacturing of drug product, and supply logistics to clinical sites. He has worked extensively in drug development consisting of lead identification and target validation—ranging from small molecules to biologics and advanced cell and gene therapy modalities. Prior to joining Ocugen, Dr. Upadhyay led ophthalmic drug development and delivery research at the University of Colorado Denver in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. There he was instrumental in designing therapeutics for ophthalmic diseases; engineering biopolymers scaffold; and developing novel approaches, such as design of cell and tissues specific targeting peptides and nanosystems, for sustained and targeted drug delivery systems for peptide, proteins, RNA, and DNA to cells and tissues. Dr. Upadhyay led engineering of polymeric micro and nano carriers’ systems and adjuvant approaches to encapsulate vaccine antigens to enhance immunogenicity and protective immunity.
Dr. Upadhyay received his PhD in Biotechnology from the National Institute of Immunology and an MSc in Biotechnology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. He was awarded the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists’ “Innovation in Nanotechnology Award” for developing novel ocular drug delivery systems. Dr. Upadhyay has authored more than 40 scientific publications and holds more than 15 patents.
Mike Shine , MBA
Michael Shine is a pharmaceutical and biotechnology executive with nearly 35 years of industry experience. Over the course of his career, Mr. Shine has held commercial and operational leadership positions within large pharmaceutical companies, including Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer Vaccines (formerly Wyeth). He also served as Chief Marketing Officer at Thomas Reuters and spent more than eight years in the start-up pharmaceutical space including the successful exit of a company he founded. Mr. Shine led the commercial launch of the global $6 billion Prevnar vaccine franchise while with Pfizer Vaccines (formerly Wyeth). Mr. Shine was responsible for the development of innovative strategies for Prevenar’s inclusion in national immunization programs in key markets, driving sales in excess of $2 billion. Mr. Shine holds a Master of Business Administration from Villanova University, and a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Scranton.
Michael Breininger , CPA, MBA, LSSBB
For over 17 years, Michael has been providing accounting and financial consulting services with a focus in the life sciences and industrial products industries. He has executed a variety of projects including extensive ASC 606 and ASC 842 implementations, carve-out reporting for a pharmaceutical company, and various technical accounting analysis. He has previously served in numerous interim roles, including controller and SEC reporting director.
As the Assistant Controller for Singer Equipment Company, he was responsible for leading all aspects of financial reporting and post-merger integrations. Prior to this, he was a manager with PwC, Philadelphia. In this role he designed and implemented integrated audits of large multi-national public companies primarily within the industrial products and utilities industries.
Michael holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from West Chester University and a Master of Business Administration, Finance from Saint Joseph’s University. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA).
EXTENDED LEADERSHIP TEAM
VP, Manufacturing and Supply
Ranjit R. Deshmukh , PhD
VP, Manufacturing and Supply
Dr. Deshmukh has over 25 years’ experience in manufacturing, late-stage development, and technical operations in the pharmaceutical industry at Ionis, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals/Pfizer, and AstraZeneca. During his career, he has contributed to the development and global commercialization of multiple biologicals and vaccines. He has established commercial processes around the world and was part of the pandemic vaccine team at AstraZeneca—facilitating the delivery of more than 2.5 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines and antibodies from more than 18 global manufacturing sites. Prior to joining Ocugen, he was the Executive Director, Global Technical Operations at AstraZeneca where he was responsible for managing the global technical network for drug product and combination products at all AstraZeneca biological drug product sites.
Dr. Deshmukh obtained his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Arizona, Tucson; M.S. Chemical Engineering from the University of Kentucky, Lexington; and B.Tech. Chemical Engineering from the IIT-BHU, Varanasi. He is also active in industry organizations, delivered more than 50 conference sessions/presentations, authored more than 20 publications, and has two patents.
Head of Regulatory & Quality
Jyothy Pillai , MS
Head of Regulatory & Quality
Jyothy has over 20 years’ experience in Biopharmaceutical Research, Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs at GlaxoSmithKline and Merck. During her career, she has contributed to the development and global commercialization of early, mid and late phase Biologics including recombinant proteins, monoclonal antibodies, antibody drug conjugates, bispecific & fusion proteins. Jyothy is a trained auditor, led and participated in several GMP audits, hosted regulatory inspections, and led implementation of GMP facilities & audit ready processes.
Prior to joining Ocugen, Jyothy was part of the late phase biologics development team of Global Regulatory affairs at Merck, responsible for global regulatory clinical trial applications for co-formulated Biologics in 40 markets including US, Canada, China & European Union.
Jyothy obtained her MS in Chemistry from Dayalbagh University, Agra, India and M.S. in Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance from Temple University School of Pharmacy, Philadelphia, PA.
Head of Corporate Communications
Tiffany J. Hamilton , MBA
Head of Corporate Communications
Tiffany has nearly 20 years’ experience as a communications professional, primarily in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry. Her corporate and brand roles have spanned employee communications, PR, and digital/social media—from large multinational companies to small biotech and start-ups. In her agency roles, she was also responsible for business development and client management. She’s built and rejuvenated many communications programs to align directly with business objectives and demonstrate the value that best practice communications brings to the organization overall.
Tiffany obtained her bachelor’s degree in English from The Catholic University of America and an MBA from Saint Joseph’s University.
AVP, IT & Facilities
AVP, IT & Facilities
Jesse brings over 20 years of experience to Ocugen. He began his tenure at Ocugen as a consultant on computer systems, data management, cyber security, and web development. Now, almost 10 years later, he is the Head of Information Technology and Facilities. With his expertise in IT and a keen eye for detail and precision, Jesse assisted in designing Ocugen’s newest facility in Malvern, PA and has implemented the latest computer-related technologies throughout the building and in employee workstations/workflows. In addition, he built and deployed the Multi-Luminance Mobility Test that is a critical component of the clinical trials for OCU400.
Director, Clinical Development
Board of directors
Kirsten M. Castillo
Ms. Castillo has over 20 years of supply chain and logistics experience, having held multiple supply chain leadership roles at a spin-off company of 3M, where she led multiple major acquisitions and integrations for the company. During her tenure at Logistics Planning Services, a privately held transportation and logistics services company, where she served as CEO, the company achieved aggressive growth plans which ultimately resulted in the sale of the business to GlobalTranz, a strategic buyer in the 3PL sector. She stayed on through the transition as Chief Operating Officer and was responsible for all company operations including regional branches in North America and Mexico, delivering $1.6B in revenue before stepping down to pursue new opportunities.
Ms Castillo is committed to the advancement of women and has been named the Vice President of Engagement for AWESOME (Advancing Women’s Excellence in Supply Chain, Operations, Management and Education). She serves on the Boards of The Marvin Companies and the United Way (UWWCE), and serves on the Advisory Board of Fuqua’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Duke University. She received her BS from the University of Minnesota, her Global Executive MBA from Duke Fuqua School of Business and has additional education including a Lean Office Certification from the University of Michigan Engineering Program, six sigma training and Carson School of Management executive training on Mergers and Acquisitions.
Prabhavathi Fernandes , PhD
Dr. Prabhavathi Fernandes, Ph.D., has more than 35 years of pharmaceutical discovery, development and management experience having held executive leadership positions at pharmaceutical corporations including Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Abbott Laboratories and The Squibb Institute for Medical Research. After leaving Bristol- Myers Squibb, she has founded and led four biotechnology and CRO companies as President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of each of these companies, including Cempra, Inc., DarPharma, Ricerca and Small Molecule Therapeutics. Dr. Fernandes is the Chairperson of both the National Biodefense Science Board (NBSB) and the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership, a DNDi/WHO initiative. She has also served as an advisor to the World Health Organization. She currently serves on the Boards of OpGen and Aelin Therapeutics. She has authored over 250 publications and several reviews, book chapters and served as an editor for books. Dr. Fernandes obtained her undergraduate and Master’s degree training in India, worked at the University of Ghent, Belgium in Immunochemistry, received her Ph.D. in Microbiology from Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia.
Co-founder and Director
Uday Kompella , PhD
Co-founder and Director
Dr. Kompella is an Ocugen Co-founder and a member of the board. He is a Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ophthalmology, and Bioengineering at University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Campus, with research interests in the areas of drug discovery, drug delivery, and nanotechnology for treating a variety of degenerative, neovascular, and inflammatory disorders including retinitis pigmentosa, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and cancers. Dr. Kompella is a Fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) and serves as the Editor-in-Chief for the journal Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery. Also, he is an editor for the journals, Pharmaceutical Research and the Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Dr. Kompella is a recipient of the Distinguished Scientist Award (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Distinguished Teacher Award (University of Nebraska Medical Center), and Dean’s Mentoring Award (University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus). He is also a recipient of the ARVO Foundation for Eye Research/Pfizer Ophthalmics/Carl Camras Translational Research Award in Ophthalmology. Dr. Kompella obtained his PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Southern California.
Ramesh Kumar , PhD
Dr. Ramesh Kumar, Ph.D., is a biotechnology executive with over three decades of management experience in private and public companies. He co-founded Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. in 1998 and transitioned to an Advisory role in early 2019. Dr. Kumar served as the Chief Executive Officer of Onconova from 1998 to January 2019 and served as its President from 1998 to June 2018. He has held positions in R&D and management at Princeton University, Bristol-Myers Squibb, DNX (later Nextran, a subsidiary of Baxter) and Kimeragen (later Valigen), where he served as President of the Genomics and Transgenics Division. Dr. Kumar has authored over 50 publications spanning the areas of molecular oncology, transgenic animals, gene therapy and recombination. His is an inventor on more than 10 US Patents and a co-editor of the book “Molecular Basis of Human Cancer” published in 1993. Dr. Kumar received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Illinois, Chicago and trained at the National Cancer Institute.
Chairman of the Board, CEO and Co-founder
Shankar Musunuri , PhD, MBA
Chairman of the Board, CEO and Co-founder
Dr. Musunuri is a seasoned biotech veteran with more than 25 years of results-driven experience advancing and commercializing a diverse portfolio of products. Prior to co-founding Ocugen in 2013, Dr. Musunuri held leadership roles at numerous companies ranging from “Big Pharma” to novel start-up biotechs. Most recently, he founded Nuron Biotech, Inc., which he grew to a commercial company in less than three years, serving as President and CEO. Dr. Musunuri spent nearly fifteen years at Pfizer, where he gained extensive product launch and life-cycle management experience, playing a key role as Global Operations Team Leader for the most successful launch in vaccine history, Prevnar 13®. Prior to Pfizer, he was a group leader focused on Phase 3 clinical development at Amylin Pharmaceuticals.
Dr. Musunuri obtained his PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Connecticut and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Connecticut’s School of Pharmacy and serves on the Advisory Board of Fuqua’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Duke University.
Junge (John) Zhang , PhD
Dr. Junge (John) Zhang is the Founder, President, and CEO of Biopeptek, a company that specializes in the research and development of peptides. Since its founding in 2010, Dr. Zhang has established a company with over 50 experienced scientists and a state-of-the-art facility that is capable of producing high quality custom peptides for research and therapeutic uses. Through his many collaborations with major pharmaceutical companies and research institutions, Dr. Zhang is passionate about research to improve human health.
Prior to founding Biopeptek, Dr. Zhang was with the Janssen Pharmaceutical division of Johnson & Johnson. During his 9-year tenure at J&J, Dr. Zhang held numerous scientific and management positions and led multiple development projects related to three antibody drugs that received FDA approval. Prior to J&J, Dr. Zhang was a Senior Chemist at Eisai USA.
Dr. Zhang earned a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Drexel University, a M.S. in chemistry from University of Louisiana, and a B.S. in material science from Wuhan University of Technology in China. Dr. Zhang was born and raised in Qingdao China and immigrated to the United States to pursue his graduate education.
Marna C. Whittington , PhD
Former Chief Executive Officer, Allianz Global Investors Capital
Ms. Whittington was the Chief Executive Officer of Allianz Global Investors Capital from 2001 until her retirement in January 2012. From 2002 to 2011, she was Chief Operating Officer of Allianz Global Investors, the parent company of Allianz Global Investors Capital. Prior to that, she was Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of Morgan Stanley Investment Management. Ms. Whittington started in the investment management industry in 1992, joining Philadelphia-based Miller Anderson & Sherrerd. Previously, she was Executive Vice President and CFO of the University of Pennsylvania, and earlier, Secretary of Finance for the State of Delaware. Ms. Whittington currently serves as a director of Macy’s, Inc. and Phillips 66. She holds an M.S. degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, both in quantitative methods, and a B.A. degree in mathematics from the University of Delaware.
Marna C. Whittington has many years of leadership experience and expertise as a former chief executive officer and senior executive in the investment management industry. She has extensive knowledge and experience in management, and in financial, investment and banking matters. In addition, Dr. Whittington has several years of valuable experience as a public company board member and expertise in finance, risk, accounting, strategy, and governance through her service on board committees.
From 2002 until her retirement in January 2012 she was chief executive officer of Allianz Global Investors Capital, a successor firm of Nicholas Applegate Capital Management. Allianz Global Investors Capital is a diversified global investment firm. Dr. Whittington was chief operating officer of Allianz Global Investors, the parent company of Allianz Global Investors Capital, from 2001 to 2011.
Prior to joining Nicholas Applegate in 2001, Dr. Whittington was managing director and chief operating officer of Morgan Stanley Investment Management. Dr. Whittington started in the investment management industry in 1992, joining Philadelphia-based Miller Anderson & Sherrerd. From 1984 to 1992 she was the executive vice president and CFO of the University of Pennsylvania. Earlier, she had been first, budget director, and later, secretary of finance, for the State of Delaware.
Business Advisory Board
Senator Pat Toomey
Pat Toomey represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate from 2011 to 2023. As a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Toomey helped to develop and pass the 2017 tax reform—the most sweeping tax reform in over 30 years. Capping his twelve-year service on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Senator Toomey served as the committee’s senior-most Republican from 2021 through 2023. In that post, he helped recruit and confirm nominees to the nation’s most powerful financial regulatory bodies. He also focused on restoring disciplined monetary policy post-Covid; overseeing all Federal financial regulators; and he developed a blueprint for the regulation of stablecoins.
Senator Toomey previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives for six years. Honoring his pledge to limit himself to three terms, he did not seek re-election to the House in 2004.
In addition to his public service, the senator has also worked in the financial services industry, trading and managing a portfolio of fixed income derivatives first for Chemical Bank then later for Morgan Grenfell. He served as president of the Club for Growth, owned and operated a small restaurant chain in the Lehigh Valley, PA with his brothers, and helped launch a community bank in eastern PA and western NJ.
Senator Toomey has been a frequent guest on CNBC, NBC, Bloomberg, FOX and FOX Business. His editorials have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Philadelphia Inquirer, among many other publications.
A 1984 graduate of Harvard University, he lives in the Lehigh Valley, PA with his wife, Kris, and their three children.
Ambassador Joseph W. Westphal , PhD
Ambassador Joseph W. Westphal is Global Senior Fellow at the Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies at The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Westphal is also a Senior Fellow at the Center for Leadership and Change Management at Wharton, Fellow at the National Academy of Public Administration and Non-Resident Fellow at the International Studies Center of the Catholic University of Chile.
Ambassador Westphal has had a long and distinguished career in government and academia.
Dr. Westphal was the U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from March 2014 to January 2017.
Prior to this appointment, Ambassador Westphal was the Under Secretary of the Army and its Chief Management Officer from 2009 to 2014. In this role, Dr. Westphal was the lead on Force Management and the Army’s business operations. He also held the positions of Assistant Secretary of the Army (Head of the Army Corps of Engineers) from 1998 to 2000 and Acting Secretary of the Army in 2001.
Dr. Westphal began his career in 1975 as a professor of political science at Oklahoma State University and later served as a Department Head. In 2002 he became the Chancellor of the University of Maine System and Professor of Political Science. He also served as Director of the Tishman Environmental Center and Provost at the New School University in New York and Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University in Washington D.C.
In government, he worked in both the House and Senate for more than twelve years. Dr. Westphal directed a bicameral-bipartisan organization called the Sunbelt Caucus. He was a staff member on the House Budget Committee and his last appointment was as a Special Assistant to Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS).
He has held positions in the administrations of Presidents Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush, and Obama, working in the Department of the Interior, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State. Dr. Westphal has served on academic boards as well as nonprofit and public advisory boards.
Ambassador Westphal received a B.A. from Adelphi University and his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Born in Chile, married to Linda McMaster with four children and 8 grandchildren.
Dennis Carey , PhD
Mr. Carey founded several forums for Chairmen, CEOs and C-Suite executives including The Prium, (www.theprium.com) the CEO Academy® (www.Ceo-academy.com) and Academies for CFOs and CHROs of Americas best managed enterprises.
Dennis has published seven books, his three most recent being, Talent Strategy Risk, Boards that Lead, and Talent Wins all published by Harvard Business Review Press. In addition to his books, he has also published over 50 refereed journal articles.
Mr. Carey also teaches Corporate Governance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Dennis has held post doctoral Fellowships at Princeton and the JFK School at Harvard.
Dennis has served on two public company boards and three private boards in the U.S. and Canada in technology, healthcare and materials science.
Dennis became the 31st American to swim the English Channel (France to England) and previously served on the Board of the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
Connie Collingsworth, former Chief Operating Officer of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a C-Suite Executive and experienced board member with deep expertise in scaling high-growth organizations globally.
She has been a primary advisor to Bill Gates, Melinda French Gates, and Warren Buffett regarding governance. During her tenure with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, she designed and implemented the core operational infrastructure and created the intellectual property strategy known as “Global Access,” as well as advising on the creation of a $2.5 billion strategic investment fund.
Ms. Collingsworth has expertise in strategic growth, governance, executive compensation, and risk management for publicly traded and privately held companies, private equity, trusts, and nonprofits spanning the healthcare, banking, fintech, private equity and venture capital sectors.
She continues to serve as a board member for the Banner Corporation and Axxes Capital, LLC, an advisory board member for Planet First Partners, and an executive sponsor for the Enterprise Executive Development Program at Bank of America. Previously Ms. Collingsworth served on the board of Premera Blue Cross.
Ms. Collingsworth holds an LL.M, International Business Legal Studies (England), J.D., and B.A.
Bob Smith , MBA
Bob is an accomplished biopharmaceutical executive with over thirty-five years’ experience in a variety of alliance management, business development, commercial, corporate, and research and development roles. Since May 2016, Bob was been responsible for leading Pfizer’s Global Gene Therapy Business including the strategic and operational development and implementation of Pfizer’s end-to-end, enterprise-wide efforts to be an industry leader in gene therapy. Bob was also responsible for leading Pfizer’s Gene Therapy Center of Excellence and the Rare Disease Business’s Early Commercial Development activities in partnership with the Rare Disease Research Unit.
Prior to his current role, Bob was responsible for leading and managing the Worldwide Business Development activities for Pfizer’s Worldwide Research and Development organization as well as Pfizer’s Strategic Transactions team. During his tenure at Pfizer, Bob also had responsibility for leading and managing the business development and strategy teams for Pfizer’s Animal Health, Capsugel, Consumer Healthcare and Nutrition Business Units and the Alliance Management function supporting Pfizer’s Biopharmaceutical Business Units and the Worldwide Research and Development organization.
Bob joined Pfizer from Wyeth in October 2009, following Pfizer’s acquisition of Wyeth, where he was responsible for leading and managing Wyeth’s Global Mergers and Acquisitions group. He was also responsible for the global mergers and acquisitions activities for Wyeth’s Consumer Healthcare division and its Fort Dodge Animal Health division. Prior to this role, Bob was Senior Vice President, Global Licensing, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, where he completed a wide variety of transactions in support of Wyeth’s commercial and research and development divisions.
Bob serves or has served as a member of the Board of Directors of AM Pharma B.V., Bamboo Therapeutics Inc., Ignite Immunotherapeutics Inc., Iterum Therapeutics Limited, Life Sciences PA – the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Association, Bio NJ – the New Jersey State Biotechnology Association, the Duke Margolis Value Based Agreements Advisory Board, the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM) and the Foundation for Cell and Gene Medicine (FCGM). He is a member of the Executive Committees of the ARM and FCGM Board of Directors and he serves as the Chairman of the ARM Board’s Governance and Operations Committee. Bob also is a member of the Investment Advisory Committee for Venture Investors LLC, Madison, Wisconsin, and he is a member of the Cell and Gene Therapy Scientific Advisory Board of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation based in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Bob obtained a B.S. in Neuroscience from the University of Rochester and an M.B.A. in Finance and Corporate Accounting from the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.
RETINA SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD
David Boyer , MD
Dr. Boyer is a world-renowned clinician, surgeon and educator. His areas of specialty include the treatment of diseases of the retina and vitreous. He is currently a leading investigator for various national clinical trials on retinal diseases and serves as an advisor for multiple research, educational and charitable institutions. He received a B.S. from the University of Illinois at Champaign, after which he completed a medical degree at the Chicago Medical School. In 1976 he finished his residency at the U.S.C. County Medical Center. Subsequently, he completed a year long retinal surgery fellowship at the Wills Eye Hospital, located in Philadelphia.
Carl D. Regillo , MD, FACS
Dr. Regillo is Professor of Ophthalmology at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Chief of the Retina Service at Wills Eye Hospital and founder and former director of the Wills Eye Clinical Retina Research Unit in Philadelphia. He received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and performed his ophthalmology residency and vitreoretinal fellowship at Wills Eye Hospital. He has been the principal investigator of numerous major clinical trials developing new medical and surgical treatments for retinal disorders such as macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy and has authored more than 200 publications along with over 30 book chapters and nine major books. He is invited to lecture worldwide and serves on the scientific editorial board for several top ophthalmology peer-reviewed journals. As a recognized leader in the field, he is a recipient of many national and international awards, including the American Academy of Ophthalmology Achievement, Senior Achievement, Secretariat, and Lifetime Achievement Awards and the American Society of Retinal Specialists Honor and Senior Honor Awards. He was also selected as a Charter Inductee of the Retina Hall of Fame and named to the Ophthalmologist Power List (Top 100 most influential people in the world of ophthalmology).
Mark Pennesi , MD, PhD
Dr. Pennesi is an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) School of Medicine and Division Chief of the Ophthalmic Genetics Service at the OHSU Casey Eye Institute. Since joining the OHSU faculty, Dr. Pennesi has been a principal investigator on many first-in-human clinical trials including for: LCA Type II and Type 10, Usher Syndrome Type IB and 2A, Stargardt disease, X-linked Retinoschisis, X-Linked retinitis pigmentosa and achromatopsia. Dr. Pennesi pursued combined at MD/PhD at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas and residency in Ophthalmology at University of California – San Francisco, followed by an Ophthalmic Genetics Fellowship at Casey Eye Institute.
Geeta Lalwani , MD
Dr. Lalwani is the founder of Rocky Mountain Retina Associates, where she specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of retinal diseases. Prior to founding Rocky Mountain Retina, Dr. Lalwani served as an Assistant Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology at the University of Miami’s prestigious Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. Dr. Lalwani completed her fellowship in vitreoretinal surgery at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, and ophthalmology residency at Case Western Reserve, and received her M.D. from Drexel University. Dr. Lalwani is Board Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. She is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmologists, American Society of Retina Specialists, the Vit-Buckle Society, EnVision Summit and the esteemed Retina Society.
VACCINE SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD
Satish Chandran , PhD
Dr. Chandran founded Somahlution and is currently the Somahlution’s Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors since inception in 2010. Prior to Somahlution he was the Chief Technology Officer at Pfizer Biotherapeutics and prior to that was the COO and CSO of Nucleonics, Inc. Satish started his biotech career at Apollon, Inc., headed the DNA vaccines at Wyeth Vaccines. He is a biotechnology veteran with nearly 30 years of leadership positions. Over the last 30 years, his career in biological research and development has spanned across academia and industry; early start up and mid-stage biotech companies and in large pharmaceutical companies. Satish’s passion and strength are in building and assembling teams and taking novel concepts and therapeutic strategies into products through development, regulatory approval, and commercialization. He is currently on the Board of Directors and serves as scientific advisor and consultant to several biotechnology companies.
David Fajgenbaum , MD, MBA, MSc, FCPP
Dr. Fajgenbaum is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in Translational Medicine & Human Genetics at the University of Pennsylvania, Director of the Penn Center for Cytokine Storm Treatment & Laboratory, Executive Director of the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network, and Associate Director, Patient Impact for the Penn Orphan Disease Center. He is doing groundbreaking work to advance precision medicine for Castleman disease, a condition that he is battling as a physician, researcher, advocate, and patient. Combining omic technologies with machine learning and other bioinformatic tools, Dr. Fajgenbaum has discovered novel predictive biomarkers of treatment response and novel treatment approaches, including one that is saving his life and others. Now, he is spreading this approach to other diseases such as COVID19.
Bruce D. Forrest , MB, BS, MD, MBA
For over 25 years, Dr. Forrest worked as a pharmaceutical industry physician leading the global development of pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and biological drugs. As Senior Vice President at Wyeth Vaccines, Dr. Forrest was responsible for all late phase clinical and pharmaceutical science development activities for vaccines in the Wyeth pipeline, including Prevnar 13®; the meningococcal B vaccine (Trumemba®) and an early investigational Staphylococcus aureus vaccine. This role included managing a vaccines’ development organization situated in North Carolina and New York, responsible for all R&D CMC and Manufacturing activities. In addition, Dr. Forrest was responsible for management and oversight of all Vaccines Clinical Research clinical trial and development activities globally with a dedicated vaccines clinical staff. He led the clinical activities supporting the market authorization for RotaShield® (EU), Prevnar® (Global), and FluMist®. Dr. Forrest also served as the Corporate Officer and Member of the Board of Wyeth K.K. during his tenure in Japan. He joined United Biomedical, Inc. in 1993 leading the earliest international clinical development of HIV vaccines, initiating clinical trials in China, Australia, and Thailand. At Chiron Corporation he was the global clinical team leader for a meningococcal C conjugate vaccine (Menjugate®). Dr. Forrest is an investment banker with a Westchester, NY based investment bank (Young America Capital, LLC) where he co-heads Life Sciences Investment Banking. He also owns an independent FINRA-registered investment advisory firm that is regulated by the State of New York (Aeolian Advisors Corp.).
Catherine Pachuk , PhD
Dr. Pachuk has over twenty-five years R&D leadership experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors with expertise in both drug, device, and vaccine development with significant experience in nucleic-acid based therapeutic platforms including ASO, RNAi and nucleic-acid based vaccines. Her key areas of therapeutic focus are viral diseases including Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and Coronavirus, metabolic disease, HCC, and indications associated with Ischemia Reperfusion Injury. She was involved in advancing multiple product candidates into the clinic and market including several first-in-man compounds. She received her Ph.D. in molecular virology from the University of Pennsylvania where she studied the molecular biology of coronaviruses. She also has a dual Regulatory Affairs Certificate from RAPS (Regulatory Affairs Professional Society) in Medical Devices and Pharmaceuticals.
Harvey Rubin , MD, PhD
Dr. Rubin is Professor of Medicine with secondary appointment as Professor of Computer Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. The NIH, NSF, DARPA, the Global Alliance for TB Drug Discovery, and the Gates Foundation have funded his basic biochemical and genetic research in infectious diseases, resulting in more than 100 peer-reviewed papers. He served on national and international scientific review panels including the NIH, NSF, NASA Intelligent Systems Program, DARPA, and The Medical Research Council, South Africa. He was a member of the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity and the Dept. of Defense/National Academy of Sciences Biological Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. Dr. Rubin is the founder of Energize the Chain a non-profit organization and GAVI INFUSE and funded partner that ensures the delivery of vaccines to people in the most remote regions of the world by utilizing power and connectivity in the private sector, such as that available at cell tower sites to power the refrigeration systems that are necessary to keep vaccines at the proper temperature.
Susan Weiss , PhD
Dr. Weiss obtained her PhD in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from Harvard University working on paramyxoviruses and did postdoctoral training in retroviruses at University of California, San Francisco with Mike Bishop and Harold Varmus. She moved to the University of Pennsylvania in 1980, where she is currently Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Microbiology and Co-director of the Penn Center for Research on Coronaviruses and Other Emerging Pathogens at the Perelman School of Medicine. She has worked on many aspects of coronavirus replication and pathogenesis over the last forty years, making contributions to understanding the basic biology as well as organ tropism and virulence. She has worked with murine coronavirus (MHV), MERS-CoV and most recently SARS-CoV-2. Her work for the last ten years has focused on coronavirus interaction with the host innate immune response and viral innate antagonists of double-stranded RNA induced antiviral pathways. Her other research interests include activation and antagonism of the antiviral oligoadenylate-ribonuclease L (OAS-RNase L) pathway, flavivirus- primarily Zika- virus-host interactions and pathogenic effects of host endogenous dsRNA.