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Management
Board of Directors
Scientific Advisory Board
Patent Counsel
Corporate Counsel




Management

Robert J. Molinari (Founder and CEO; Director) specializes in biotechnology reagents, genomics, proteomics, and biopharmaceutical research companies. He was the founding CEO of Coda Genomics, a synthetic biology and biofuels company. Bob is on the biotech screening committee of the Life Science Angels. He served as a genomics affiliate to the Institute for the Future, a Menlo Park-based think tank. He was the co-founding CEO and president of Protogene Laboratories, Inc., and from 1994 to 1996 led that company to become the world's largest supplier of custom DNA before it was acquired by Life Technologies, Inc. (now Invitrogen). He then ran a spin-off of Protogene for several years which developed ink jet technology for custom DNA chips. Prior to Protogene, Bob served as a strategic advisor in the startup of Nanogen, Affymetrix, and Sequenom. Earlier, Dr. Molinari served as the founding CEO of Avitech Diagnostics, a company with DNA sequencing and mutation detection technology (which became part of Variagenics, Inc.) and was a consultant specializing in biotechnology at McKinsey & Co. Dr. Molinari has an A.B. and an MBA from Dartmouth College and a Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry from Brown University.

 

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Mikhail S. Shchepinov(Founder and CSO; Director) MSc (Mendeleev Institute of Chemical Technology), PhD (bioorganic chemistry, Shemyakin-Ovchinnikov Bioorganic Chemistry Institute, Moscow). Worked in academia and industry (Oxford, UK; San Diego, USA) from 1995.



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Board of Directors

 

Timur Artemev (Board Observer) – a Russian businessman and philanthropist, co-founder of Euroset, Russia’s leading mobile phone retailer. Sold his stake in Euroset in 2008 and invested a significant part of the proceeds in several international research projects aiming at slowing down ageing. Continues sponsoring research into ageing by New York University and supports biological laboratories in Russia, Ukraine, China and Germany. A major donor and trustee of the UK charity Biogerontology Research Foundation.

Charles R. Cantor (Founder and Chairman of the Board; SAB member) BA (Columbia University, 1963). Ph.D. (University of California, Berkeley). Member of the US National Academy of Sciences (1988). Currently on leave from Boston University (Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology). Founder and CSO (since 1998) of Sequenom. Main areas of expertise: biophysics, molecular genetics, molecular biology, genomics, bioinformatics. His scientific interests include mass-spectrometry, prenatal diagnostics, in vivo RNA detection and epigenetics. He made important contributions to understanding of DNA-protein interactions and pioneered physical mapping of whole chromosomes. Invented (1984) and developed pulse field gel electrophoresis for analysis of very large DNA molecules. He is also founder of SelectX Pharmaceuticals and DiThera. His copious awards include Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry (1978), Biochemical Analysis Prize of the German Society of Clinical Chemistry (1988), ISCO Award for Advances in Biochemical Instrumentation (1989), H.A. Sober Award (American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 1990), and E.M. Gray Award (Biophysical Society, 2000). (Co)authored several books (including the 3-volume textbook, Biophysical Chemistry) and more than 450 per-reviewed papers, as well as more than 60 patents.

Robert F. Johnston (Director) founded Johnston Associates Inc. in 1968 to provide merger advisory and financing for emerging companies in technology-intensive industries such as biotechnology and healthcare. In the mid-70s, he directed his efforts toward biotechnology and health care. He has founded numerous public companies including Cytogen (served as CEO from July 1988 to April 1989; sold to EUSA Pharma), Ecogen, Sepracor, i-STAT (sold to Abbott), Envirogen (sold to Shaw Environmental), and Praelux (formerly SEQ; served as CEO from November 1997 to January 1999), and was instrumental in the early formations of Sonomed, Biocyte, Immunicon (sold to J&J), PharmaStem (formerly Biocyte), Praelux (since sold to Amersham/GE), Targent (since sold to Spectrum Pharmaceuticals), and VelaPharm. Prior to starting Johnston Associates, Bob was an investment banker for F.S.Smithers & Co. and for Smith Barney & Co. in New York. He received his B.A. from Princeton University and his M.B.A. from New York University. He is currently President and CEO of ExSAR, and has been Chairman of the Board of Directors since 2002. Mr. Johnston is the executive chairman of Pharmos Corporation, which acquired Vela Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Additionally, Bob is a member of the Advisory Council of the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University, and the Executive Committee of the Friends of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.

Robert J. Molinari (Founder and CEO; Director) specializes in biotechnology reagents, genomics, proteomics, and biopharmaceutical research companies. He was the founding CEO of Coda Genomics, a synthetic biology and biofuels company. Bob is on the biotech screening committee of the Life Science Angels. He served as a genomics affiliate to the Institute for the Future, a Menlo Park-based think tank. He was the co-founding CEO and president of Protogene Laboratories, Inc., and from 1994 to 1996 led that company to become the world's largest supplier of custom DNA before it was acquired by Life Technologies, Inc. (now Invitrogen). He then ran a spin-off of Protogene for several years which developed ink jet technology for custom DNA chips. Prior to Protogene, Bob served as a strategic advisor in the startup of Nanogen, Affymetrix, and Sequenom. Earlier, Dr. Molinari served as the founding CEO of Avitech Diagnostics, a company with DNA sequencing and mutation detection technology (which became part of Variagenics, Inc.) and was a consultant specializing in biotechnology at McKinsey & Co. Dr. Molinari has an A.B. and an MBA from Dartmouth College and a Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry from Brown University.

Mikhail S. Shchepinov (Founder and CSO; Director) MSc (Mendeleev Institute of Chemical Technology), PhD (bioorganic chemistry, Shemyakin-Ovchinnikov Bioorganic Chemistry Institute, Moscow). Worked in academia and industry (Oxford, UK; San Diego, USA) from 1995.

Lex H.T. Van der Ploeg (Director) is Managing Director for VDP, LLC, an independent consulting agency focused on guiding Research and Development for the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Industries and private investors. At VDP, LLC, Lex focuses on supporting R&D initiatives from a strategic and tactical perspective, as an integrated member of Management and R&D teams. Lex is CSO for Rhythm pharmaceuticals and functions as Senior Advisor for Strategy and Planning at Somalogic, Inc., he is a member of the board of Directors for Neurotez, Inc., and Retrotope Inc., and he functions as an advisor to DeuteRx, LLC. and is a member of the SAB for Excellentia Global partners.
Lex’s expertise includes development of Diagnostics and Therapeutics including Cancer, Neurodegenerative disorders, Metabolic disorders and Infectious diseases. Prior to starting VDP, LLC Lex was the Sr. Vice President of Integrative Medicine and Translational Science at Abraxis/Celgene. Previously, Dr. Van der Ploeg held the position of, Vice president, Basic Research, and site head at Merck Research Laboratories Boston focused on oncology and neurodegenerative disease. Prior to starting Merck Research Laboratories Boston in December 2003, Dr. Van der Ploeg held diverse functions at Merck Research Laboratories including site head MRL San Diego and Head Obesity research for Merck Rahway and Banyu, Japan. At Merck, Lex held leadership roles in obesity and metabolism, oncology, neurodegenerative disease research and diagnostics.
Dr. Van der Ploeg received his M.S. degree (Summa Cum Laude) in Biochemistry in 1980 from the University of Amsterdam and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry/Enzymology/Genetics in 1984 from the University of Amsterdam/Netherlands Cancer Research Center. Following receipt of his Ph.D. Dr Van der Ploeg joined the faculty of the Dept of Genetics and Development of Columbia University, as an assistant Professor and received tenure at Columbia University in 1987. Dr Van der Ploeg held an adjunct faculty position at the Dept of Genetics and Development of Columbia University from 1992 through 2009. Dr. Van der Ploeg received numerous awards and grants for his research and has broadly published on his research in peer reviewed journals. He is an inventor on over 50 patents and patent applications.

W. Dan Wright (Board Observer) is the Chief Executive Office of the Wright Family Office located in Dallas, Texas. He is a Certified Public Accountant and the former Chief Executive Officer of Wright Brand Foods, Inc. He received his BBA from Southern Methodist University and his MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. Dan is active on the boards of several not-for-profit organizations and was the America Meat Institute’s recipient of the Edward C. Jones Community Service Award. His charitable interests are in the areas of mitochondrial disease and he is the current Chairman of the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation.




 

 

 

 

Scientific Advisory Board

Tom (J. Thomas) Brenna (SAB member), PhD, is Professor of Human Nutrition and of Chemistry and Chemical Biology in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA. He is also a member of Cornell’s graduate faculties of Food Science and Technology, and of Geological Sciences, and is Adjunct Professor in the Dept. of Community and Preventative Medicine at the University of Rochester (NY) Medical College. His research group focuses on study of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) nutrition in the perinatal period, and their role in neural and retinal development. Their studies of the efficacy of highly unsaturated PUFA as structural components of the central nervous system have helped to define the mechanism by which these fats support optimal visual and neural function. He has developed tracer methods based on stable isotopes and uses them extensively in metabolic studies. His group is also active in the development and application of biomedical molecular, elemental, and isotopic mass spectrometry, and in the use of high precision isotope ratio mass spectrometry for detection of endogenous steroid doping. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has supported his research continuously since 1991 for these and related studies, as have numerous private companies.

Anatoly L. Buchachenko (SAB member) BA (Nizhny Novgorod State University, 1958). Professor and Chair, Chemical Kinetics, Moscow State University. Head of the Department of Dynamics of Chemical and Biological Processes, NN Semyonov Institute of Chemical Physics RAS. Member (1987) of the RAS (Head of the Chemical Kinetics Division). His interests include spin chemistry, stable radicals, physics of chemical reactions, radiospectroscopy, molecular ferromagnets, magnetic isotope effect in biology, isotope separation and nanotechnology. He discovered the magnetic isotope effect (1976) and chemically induced radio-frequency emission of chemical reactions. His plentiful awards include the USSR State Prize (1977) and the Lenin State Prize (1987). (Co)authored 8 books (including New Isotopy in Chemistry and Biochemistry, 2007), more than 300 per-reviewed papers, and several patents.

Charles R. Cantor (Founder and Chairman of the Board; SAB member) BA (Columbia University, 1963). Ph.D. (University of California, Berkeley). Member of the US National Academy of Sciences (1988). Currently on leave from Boston University (Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology). Founder and CSO (since 1998) of Sequenom. Main areas of expertise: biophysics, molecular genetics, molecular biology, genomics, bioinformatics. His scientific interests include mass-spectrometry, prenatal diagnostics, in vivo RNA detection and epigenetics. He made important contributions to understanding of DNA-protein interactions and pioneered physical mapping of whole chromosomes. Invented (1984) and developed pulse field gel electrophoresis for analysis of very large DNA molecules. He is also founder of SelectX Pharmaceuticals and DiThera. His copious awards include Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry (1978), Biochemical Analysis Prize of the German Society of Clinical Chemistry (1988), ISCO Award for Advances in Biochemical Instrumentation (1989), H.A. Sober Award (American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 1990), and E.M. Gray Award (Biophysical Society, 2000). (Co)authored several books (including the 3-volume textbook, Biophysical Chemistry) and more than 450 per-reviewed papers, as well as more than 60 patents.

Judith Campisi (SAB member) received a PhD in Biochemistry from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and postdoctoral training in the area of 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 became interested in the control of cellular senescence and its role in tumour suppression and aging. She left Boston to accept a Senior Scientist position at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1991; in 2002, established a second laboratory at the Buck Institute for Age Research, where she is a Professor. At both institutions, she established a broad program to understand various aspects of aging, with an emphasis on the interface between cancer and aging. Campisi’s laboratory has made several pioneering discoveries in these areas, and her research continues to challenge and alter existing paradigms. In recognition of the quality of her research and leadership in the field, she has received several awards, including two MERIT awards from the US National Institute on Aging, and awards from the Allied Signal Corporation, Gerontological Society of America, and American Federation for Aging Research. She serves on numerous editorial boards and advisory boards.

Edward A. Dennis (SAB member) is Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmacology at the School of Medicine and Revelle College of the University of California at San Diego (UCSD). Dr. Dennis received his B.A. from Yale in 1963 and a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1967. He served as a Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School and has been a Professor at UCSD since 1970 where he has served as Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Vice Chair for Medical Biochemistry, and as Chair of the UCSD Faculty Academic Senate. Dr. Dennis was selected as a Guggenheim Fellow in 1983 and was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences in 1984, was a Visiting Professor at Harvard Medical School in 1983 and a Visiting Scientist at Brandeis University in 1984 and has been an Adjunct Professor at The Scripps Research Institute since 1999. In 2000, Dr. Dennis received the prestigious Avanti Award for research in lipid enzymology from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He is the author of over 270 original research publications in scientific journals, editor of thirteen books, and holder of six issued and several pending patents. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Lipid Research and Director of the LIPID MAPS (Glue Grant) Consortium. He has founded, serves on the Board of Directors, and Scientific Advisory Board of several biotech companies and currently is a member of the Board of Directors of BioMed Realty Trust (NYSE).  Dr. Dennis served as Chair and President of the Board of Directors of the non-profit Keystone Symposia from 1996-2004 and currently serves on its Board, on the Eicosanoid Research Foundation Board, on the Board of Lipid Research, Inc., and the Council of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  Dr. Dennis currently serves as Chair of the Board of Governors of the Association of Yale Alumni and also serves on the Yale University Council, the Development and Alumni Affairs Committee of the Yale Corporation, the Yale Alumni Magazine Board, and the Yale Alumni Fund Board. Dr. Dennis is also involved in many community activities in La Jolla, including serving on the Board of Trustees of the La Jolla Playhouse, the Board of Overseers of the University of California, San Diego, the ResMed Foundation, and the San Diego Dialogue. 

Amato Giaccia (SAB member) Jack, Lulu, and Sam Willson Professor of Cancer Biology, Director of Cancer Biology Graduate Program, Director Division of Cancer and Radiation Biology, Department of Radiation Oncology, Stanford University School of Medicine. Stanford, postdoctoral fellow (1989); assistant professor (1992). Discovered that the low oxygen microenvironment of solid tumors acted as a selective pressure for the expansion of tumor cell variants that were highly aggressive due to the loss of the p53 and PTEN tumor suppressor genes. These highly cited studies provide insight into the role of the tumor microenvironment on tumor evolution, and why solid tumors are resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In 2006, he was named the Jack, Lulu and Sam Willson Professor of Cancer Biology. Amato is currently the Director of the Interdisciplinary Cancer Biology Research Program at Stanford and is the Director of the Division of Radiation and Cancer Biology. He also heads the Radiation Biology Program in Stanford’s Cancer Center. Established that lysyl oxidase is essential for the metastatic spread of tumor cells. LOX represents a new therapeutic target for the prevention and control of metastases. Amato is the principal investigator of an NIH Program Project Grant that is based on developing new strategies to exploit the tumor microenvironment. Has co-authored the sixth edition of the most prominent textbook in the field, “Radiation Biology for the Radiologist”, with Eric Hall from Columbia University. Published almost 200 peer reviewed articles, book chapters and reviews and is inventor on 6 patents. Amato was awarded an American Cancer Society Junior Faculty Research Award, Howard Hughes Junior faculty Award and the Michael Fry Award from the Radiation Research Society for his outstanding contributions on understanding the molecular mechanisms of resistance promoted by the tumor microenvironment. Earned his undergraduate degree from Lafayette College and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Martin Brown at Stanford University.

Aubrey DNJ de Grey (SAB member) BA, MA, Ph.D. (Cambridge, UK, 2000). Main areas of scientific interest: bioinformatics, molecular and cellular biology, aging, gerontology, rejuvenation. More specifically, his focus is on the role and etiology of all the accumulating and eventually pathogenic molecular and cellular side-effects of metabolism that constitute mammalian aging; the design of interventions to reverse and/or obviate this accumulation. Founder and Chairman and CSO, Methuselah Foundation. Proposed Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging (1999) and Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS, 2000-2005). Editor-in-Chief of Rejuvenation Research. His awards include the World Transhumanist Association HG Wells Award. (Co)authored 2 books (including Ending Aging, 2007) and more than 30 per-reviewed papers.

Dr. Richard H. Haas (SAB member), MB, BChir, MRCP, is director of the University of California San Diego Mitochondrial Disease Laboratory and Co-Director of the UCSD Mitochondrial and Metabolic Disease Center. He is the founding President of the Mitochondrial Medicine Society. Trained as a Pediatric Neurologist with a research interest in mitochondrial and metabolic diseases Dr. Haas is an active clinician involved with the care of patients of all ages with mitochondrial disease as well as clinical treatment trials in this population. His laboratory has focused on the diagnosis and treatment of mitochondrial disease with the development and application of miniaturized techniques for diagnosis and the study of potential treatments. Work with Parkinson disease mitochondria lead to confirmation of a mitochondrial defect and treatment trials with coenzyme Q10. Other research has included the development of sophisticated techniques for mitochondrial DNA analysis and the use of a DHPLC technique to study treatments in mitochondrial disease cells. Working with a committee of the Mitochondrial Medicine Society Dr. Haas recently authored articles on the diagnosis and treatment of mitochondrial disease for family practitioners and more detailed articles for geneticists and specialists. Recent research has included clinical and laboratory research on mitochondrial autism and the use of fibroblast skin cells for mitochondrial diagnosis.

Cynthia J. Kenyon (SAB member) BA (University of Georgia, 1976), Ph.D. (MIT, 1981). Member of the US National Academy of Sciences (1997). Professor of an American Cancer Society (University of California, San Francisco), and director, the Hillblom Center for the Biology of Aging (UCSF). Her interests include molecular, cell and developmental biology; cancer and aging. More specifically, she is interested in molecular genetics and hormonal signaling pathways associated with aging. In 1993, she has discovered a single-gene mutation that could double the lifespan of C. elegans. She has also demonstrated that the aging process is controlled by hormones and transcription factors that coordinately affect age-related disease in many organisms, including mammals. She is a founder of Elixir Pharmaceuticals. Her numerous awards include the King Faisal Prize for Medicine, the American Association of Medical Colleges Award for Distinguished Research, the Ilse & Helmut Wachter Award for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, and the La Foundation IPSEN Prize. (Co)authored about 100 per-reviewed papers and several patents.

J. William Langston (SAB member) is the founder, CEO, and Scientific Director of the Parkinson's Institute. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Medicine and was formerly a faculty member at Stanford University and chairman of neurology at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, California. Dr. Langston has authored or co-authored over 250 professional publications in the field of neurology, most of which are on Parkinson's disease and related disorders. Dr. Langston gained national and international recognition in 1982 for the discovery of the link between a "synthetic heroin" contaminant and Parkinsonism. This contaminant, known as MPTP (which sometimes taints MPPP, an effective synthetic opioid), is selectively toxic to the same nerve cells in the brain which die in Parkinson's disease, the Substantia nigra. The discovery of the biologic effects of this compound led to a renaissance of the basic and clinical research in Parkinson's disease. MPTP allowed the first animal representation of Parkinson's disease. Dr. Langston's current research interests include the study of mechanisms of neuronal degeneration, the etiology of Parkinson's disease, and the development of new strategies to slow or halt disease progression. He has received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Achievement Award from Modern Medicine, the Sarah M. Poiley Award from the New York Academy of Sciences, the 30th Anniversary Award from the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, the Distinguished Clinical Investigator Award from Roche Pharmaceuticals, and most recently the 1999 Movement Disorders Research Award from the American Academy of Neurology.

Michael P. Murphy (SAB member) received his BA in chemistry at Trinity College, Dublin in 1984 and his PhD in Biochemistry at Cambridge University in 1987.  After stints in  the USA,  Zimbabwe, and Ireland he took up a faculty position in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand in 1992. In 2001 he moved to the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit in Cambridge, UK  (then called the MRC Dunn Human Nutrition Unit)  where he is a group leader. His research is concerned with all aspects of mitochondrial function and dysfunction. Currently his  special interests are in targeting small molecules such as antioxidants to mitochondria,  and in understanding how modifications to the thiol status of mitochondrial proteins contributes to oxidative damage and redox signalling.  

David T. Shima (SAB member) As a leading researcher in angiogenesis and vascular cell biology, Prof. David Shima and collaborators performed pioneering studies in the early 1990s that elucidated the role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) during pathological neovascularization within the eye. Dr Shima's subsequent research efforts have provided important mechanistic insight into the varied roles of VEGF in blood vessel formation, neural cell development and neovascular disease. His investigations of intercellular communication within the cardiovasculature have also resulted in the identification and characterization of novel components of the vascular machinery, which represent potential targets for clinical intervention. Dr Shima joined Eyetech Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in 2002 to establish and oversee research and pipeline initiatives, and currently he heads the (OSI) Eyetech Research Center. Before joining Eyetech, he was the head of the Endothelial Cell Biology Laboratory at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London, England, where he also completed his postdoctoral training in membrane biology and biochemistry. Dr Shima received his Ph.D. in 1995 from the Program in Cell and Developmental Biology at Harvard University.

Jan Vijg (SAB member) BS, MSc, Ph.D. (the University of Leiden, The Netherlands, 1987). Professor and Chair, Department of Genetics; Lola and Saul Kramer Chair in Molecular Genetics; Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, NY. He moved from Europe to the USA in 1993 and held professorial positions at Harvard and University of Texas, San Antonio, and the Buck Institute for Age research (Novato, CA; 2006-2008). His areas of expertise include molecular genetics, gerontology, cancer and aging. More specifically, he is interested in damage (including oxidative damage) to the genome, genome instability and its role in the etiology of aging and age related disease. He was the first to develop transgenic mouse models (MutaMouse™) for studying mutagenesis in vivo (1989). He also demonstrated that the frequency of mutations increases with age in most tissues. Has been involved with biotech companies since 1990 (founded and directed Ingeny B.V. from 1990-1993). His many awards include the N. Shock New Investigator Award (The Gerontological Society of America, 1994) and the Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar Award. (Co)authored several books (including Aging of the Genome, 2007), more than 200 peer-reviewed papers, and 8 patents.

 

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