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Panel 2: Question and Answer

Getting There – Translating the Science of Stem Cells

November 30, 2011
20 minutes
Jeanne Loring, Philip Gregory, David Piper, Mahendra Rao


Jeanne Loring: Dr. Loring was co-director of one of the first NIH-supported human embryonic stem cells centers at SBMRI, prior to joining TSRI. Earlier in her career, Dr. Loring held research and management positions at biotechnology companies including GenPharm International and Incyte Genomics, and was the founder of a human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-based company. Dr. Loring was director of two of the first NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Training Courses and now directs one of the largest stem cell training programs in the country. She authored Human Stem Cell Manual: A Laboratory Guide and is featured in a video presentation on the growth of “Stem Cell Tourism,” the dubious practice of offering unproven stem cell therapies to desperate victims of incurable disease. She is a member of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Regulatory and Ethics Board and the board of the University of Massachusetts Stem Cell Bank and Registry.

Philip Gregory: Dr. Gregory has served as chief scientific officer of Sangamo since July 2009 and vice president, research since October 2005. He joined Sangamo in December 2000 as a scientist, became a team leader in October 2001, senior director, research in July 2003 and vice president, research in October 2005. Prior to joining the company, Dr. Gregory was at the University of Munich, Germany, where he studied the role of chromatin structure in gene regulation and published extensively in this field. He has served as a member of the scientific advisory board of Keystone Symposia since December 2009. Dr. Gregory earned a D. Phil. in biochemistry from the University of Oxford and holds a B.Sc. in microbiology from the University of Sheffield.

David Piper: Dr. Piper received his B.S. in biophysics and B.A. in biochemistry from the University of Illinois before earning his Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of Utah. His doctorate work focused on understanding the development of neurotransmitter receptor and ion channel function in neural stem cells, neuronal restricted precursors and glial restricted precursors as part of a collaborative project between Dr. Mary Lucero and Dr. Mahendra Rao. His post-doctoral work in Dr. Michael Sanguinetti’s laboratory focused on the structure-function relationships that underlie the voltage-dependent gating of the hERG cardiac potassium channel. Dr. Piper joined Life Technologies (Invitrogen) Discovery and ADME/T Systems where he led the development of the only commercially available fluorescence hERG binding assay. He has since held various R&D positions and led teams to develop cell-based assays for ion channels, GPCRs, pathway profiling and next generation cellular engineering. Dr. Piper currently leads a group of scientists that develops custom cell-based/biochemical assays and stem cell provisioning projects. While principally focused on the pharmaceutical industry, this group supports endeavors of non-profit and academic laboratories.

Mahendra Rao: Dr. Rao is internationally renowned for his research involving human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and other somatic stem cells. He has worked in the stem cell field for more than 20 years, with stints in academia, government and regulatory affairs and industry. He received his M.D. from Bombay University in India and his Ph.D. in developmental neurobiology from the California Institute of Technology. Following postdoctoral training at Case Western Reserve University, he established his research laboratory in neural development at the University of Utah. He next joined the National Institute on Aging as chief of the Neurosciences Section, where he studied neural progenitor cells and continued to explore his longstanding interest in their clinical potential. Most recently, he spent six years as the vice president of Regenerative Medicine at Life Technologies. He co-founded Q Therapeutics, a neural stem cell company based in Salt Lake City. He also served internationally on advisory boards for companies involved in stem cell processing and therapy, on committees including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Cellular Tissue and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee chair, and as the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and International Society for Stem Cell Research liaison to the International Society for Cellular Therapy.