Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Stephen C. Ekker Ph.D.

The zebrafish genetics laboratory of Stephen C. Ekker, Ph.D., is focused on one major next step in the post-genomics era: the assignment of genes and gene sets critical in vertebrate patterning and organogenesis. Dr. Ekker's lab has developed two approaches for the identification of new genes and genetic networks: vertebrate transposons and morpholino antisense oligonucleotides for molecular genetic manipulation of the model vertebrate, the zebrafish. These two reagents, morpholinos and mutagenic transposons, are powerful tools for use in true functional genomics applications in the zebrafish.

Dr. Perry Hacket Ph.D.

The Hackett lab's main area of interest is using transposons as vectors for gene therapy as well as tagging and mapping genes in vertebrate chromosomes. For this, we use the Sleeping Beauty Transposon System, a system we created from extinct transposons that had been asleep for more than 10 million years. The lab works very closely with other labs in the Center for Genome Engineering including the McIvor, Largaespada, Somia and Voytas labs.

David A. Largaespada, Ph.D.

Chairman, Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Largaespada is an authority on mouse genetics, gene modification, cancer genes, and disease models. His outstanding background was integral to the founding of B-MoGen Biotechnologies, Inc. He spent five years as a postdoctoral fellow in Frederick, Maryland at the National Cancer Institute working with world-renowned geneticists Dr. Nancy Jenkins and Dr. Neal Copeland, where the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America awarded him a postdoctoral fellowship. He is currently a Full Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development at the University of Minnesota.

Branden S. Moriarity, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Moriarity is an expert in genome engineering using both cut and paste DNA transposon systems, such as Sleeping Beauty and piggyBac, and both TALEN and CRISPR targeted nuclease platforms. These technologies are at the core of B-MoGen Biotechnologies, Inc. He spent five years as a graduate student and 2 years as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota working with Dr. David A. Largaespada, an authority on mouse genetics, gene modification, cancer genes, and disease models. He was ‘fast tracked’ to the position of Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota in 2014.

Dr. Robert “Bob” Preti Ph.D.

Robert “Bob” Preti is Progenitor Cell Therapy’s (PCT) co-founder and the visionary behind its successful growth over the last two decades. Bob built PCT to meet a recognized need for high quality manufacturing and development services in the Cellular Therapy sector. PCT has now served over 100 Clients and performed more than 20,000 cell therapy procedures. His leadership has been instrumental in creating PCT’s Client-focused model that helps bridge the gap between discovery and patient care. Before assuming his role at PCT, Bob held a number of positions within the cellular therapy and blood banking fields. From 1996 to 1999, he was the director of hematopoietic stem cell processing and applied research at Hackensack University Medical Center. He served in several capacities with the New York Blood Center from 1990 to 1997. He also worked as a research scientist for Marrow-Tech Incorporated, which went on to become Advanced Tissue Sciences (ATIS), where work in his laboratory lead to the Dermagraft product currently marketed by Organogenesis.

Dr. Michael Verneris M.D.,Ph.D.

Professor, Division of Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation

Dr. Verneris is the Vice Chair of Pediatric Research at the University of Minnesota.  He directs the pediatric leukemia program and is internationally known for his expertise in umbilical cord blood transplantation.  His area of clinical focus is the use of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for acute leukemia.   He is the principal investigator of numerous investigator initiated studies, including those that use adoptive cell therapy.  Dr. Verneris is the Chair of the Data Safety Monitoring Committee and is a member of the Institutional Review Board of Be The Match (formerly National Marrow Donor Program).  He is also the Principal investigator of a research laboratory that studies the recovery of the immune system after allogenic transplantation, focusing on natural killer cells and T cells and their ability to mediate graft vs. leukemia reactions.  He has devised patented methods to create NK cells and innate lymphoid cells from hematopoietic stem cells.