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Scientific Advisory Board

Shawn Hingtgen, PhD

Shawn is the CSO and founder of Falcon, an Associate Professor in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s Division of Molecular Pharmaceutics and Pharmacoengineering, and an assistant professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the UNC School of Medicine. His research is focused on combining advancements in cell engineering, biomedical engineering, and cancer therapy to generate novel engineered cell therapies for cancer. His team was the first to show that skin cells could be directly converted into cells that seek out and kill cancer and has made significant contributions to the generation of scaffolds for cell-based cancer therapy, and new cancer models that more accurately reflect the clinical scenario.

In 2014 he received the Young Investigator Award from the Society for Neuro-Oncology and the UNC Hettleman Prize for Scholarly and Artistic Achievement by Young Faculty in 2018. He is the author of over 30 refereed papers and articles that have been cited more than 700 times, as well as the inventor on multiple patents.

Shawn completed his undergraduate work and earned his Ph.D. in anatomy and cell biology from the University of Iowa. He then completed postdoctoral fellowships with Ralph Weissleder, M.D., Ph.D., and Khalid Shah, Ph.D., at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Robert Deans, PhD

Dr. Deans is Chief Technology Officer at BlueRock Therapeutics, a biotechnology company creating innovative cell therapeutics by harnessing pluripotent stem cell biology and gene editing tools. Dr. Deans has more than 25 years of experience in adult therapeutics focused on stem cells from bone marrow, including both hematopoietic gene therapies as well as mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) populations. 

Prior to BlueRock, Dr. Deans was CSO at Rubius Therapeutics based in Cambridge MA, developing a platform of gene engineered red blood cells derived from hematopoietic stem cells.  Dr. Deans was previously EVP at Athersys, Inc, an adult stem cell therapeutics company now in late stage clinical development, and prior to that VP of Research at Osiris, Inc, developing the Prochymal MSC based product.  Dr. Deans also gained experience in hematopoietic stem cell isolation and gene therapy while Director at the Immunotherapy Division of Baxter Healthcare.  Dr. Deans has also contributed to many Regulatory and industry commercialization workshops and societies. 

Fred Miesowicz

Fred Miesowicz, PhD

Fred was the Chief Operating Officer of Argos Therapeutics, a position which he held for 14 years. Argos Therapeutics developed immunotherapies by reprograming dendritic cells to target antigens specific to each person’s disease. Prior to this, Dr. Miesowicz was the Vice President of Operations for Gamida-Cell, a stem cell company. He was Senior Vice President and General Manager of Hybridon Specialty Products which manufactured GMP oligonucleotides for cancer therapeutics and research applications and was acquired by Merck. He served as Vice President and General Manager of Cellcor, a subsidiary of Cytogen, Inc., from 1995 to 1998, where he directed all operations related to Cellcor’s cellular immunotherapy programs. He also served as Senior Vice President of Scientific Affairs at Cellcor from 1992 to 1995. 

Fred has an extensive background in cellular therapies and medical devices. Prior to joining Cellcor, he managed the U.S. and European SteriCell Division of the Terumo Medical Corporation after it was acquired from DuPont, and was with E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Company for 14 years managing both immunotherapy and immunodiagnostic R&D groups. He holds a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Siena College and received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Harvard University.

Jerome Ritz, MD

A graduate of Northwestern University, Dr. Ritz received his MD from Chicago Medical School in 1972, followed by a residency in internal medicine at the University of Wisconsin Hospital, Madison. Dr. Ritz completed a clinical fellowship in Hematology and Oncology at Beth Israel Hospital and a research fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where he joined the staff in 1980. Dr. Ritz was a Scholar of the Leukemia Society of America and is a recipient of the prestigious Stohlman Scholar Award. He is an expert in hematologic malignancies, bone marrow transplantation and cancer immunology.

Dr. Ritz is Executive Director of the Connell-O’Reilly Cell Manipulation Core Facility (CMCF) and a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. The CMCF provides hematopoietic stem cells for patients who are undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and manufactured cellular products of various types for patients enrolled on clinical trials evaluating novel cellular therapies for cancer. Dr. Ritz is a member of the Executive Committee of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and the Associate Director for Core Facilities at DF/HCC. He is a Co-Director of the Cancer Vaccine Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and a member of the Executive Committee of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Dr. Ritz’s current laboratory research focuses on immune reconstitution after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, cellular therapies and immunotherapy of cancer.

Clayton Beard, PhD

Clayton Beard is Senior Vice President of Research and Development of BridgeBio’s Gene Therapy subsidiaries. Dr. Beard’s scientific and management experience has spanned academia, government, biotech, and pharmaceutical organizations, including positions at Novartis Vaccines, Precision Biosciences, Global Vaccines, the USDA, the University of North Carolina, and Maxygen.

Prior to joining BridgeBio, Dr. Beard was the vice president of therapeutic discovery at Precision Biosciences where he oversaw the buildout and expansion of the gene editing/therapy programs. As head of viral vector R&D at Novartis, he led a team that developed novel RNA virus-based vaccines and RNA vaccines. Dr. Beard later built and led the Novartis technical development team responsible for synthetic virus and RNA vaccine production process development and scale up. His R&D expertise includes discovery and development of RNA and DNA-based viral vectors for vaccines and gene therapy, molecular virology, analytical development, and large-scale RNA production.

Dr. Beard received his Ph.D. in viral genetics from The University of Georgia, and a B.S. in microbiology from The University of Georgia.