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Management Team

Dr. Ruby Yanru Chen-Tsai

Ruby Yanru Chen-Tsai, Ph.D., CEO and President

Dr. Chen-Tsai received her PhD from Cornell University and did her post-doc research at Stanford University. She has been doing research in genome editing and stem cells over 20 years. Prior to joining ASC, Dr. Chen-Tsai worked at Stanford University for 16 years as the Director of Transgenic Research Center and Associate Director of the Stanford Cancer Institute, overseeing nine research technology labs. Her research at Stanford focused on using Parkinson patient-specific iPS cell lines and their differentiation to dopaminergic neurons as a disease model-in-a-dish. She is a co-inventor of the TARGATT™ integrase technology for site-specific gene insertion. Dr. Chen-Tsai is an author of many scientific papers and holder of over fifteen patents. Prior to becoming the CEO of Applied StemCell, Dr. Chen-Tsai led the ASC Therapeutics' gene/cell therapeutic pipeline in the past 5 years. She also led the successful filing of three pre-IND (one stem cell therapy, one gene therapy and one gene editing therapy) with the FDA.

Dr. Alfonso Farruggio, Ph.D., Head of Research and Development

Dr. Alfonso Farruggio, Ph.D., Head of Research and Development

Dr. Alfonso Farruggio, Head of Research and Development at Applied StemCell, received his Ph.D. in genetics from Stanford University. He is the co-inventor of TARGATTTM, ASC's core site-specific knock-in technology, and has over 15 years of TARGATTTM gene editing experience. Dr. Farruggio carried out his post-doctoral work at Stanford University, and over the years, he has applied for and received several grants. He is a patent holder and an author of many publications on gene editing, induced pluripotent stem cells, and more. Dr. Alfonso Farruggio not only led a group of young scientists in the creation and refinement of TARGATTTM products, such as the TARGATTTM HEK293 Master Cell Lines for stable knock-in and library construction, he also greatly contributed to the establishment of ASC’s first GMP room. He now spearheads ASC’s research pipeline by leading several innovative projects, including the construction of a unique TARGATTTM-iPSC line that could potentially be used to engineer CAR-iNK and CAR-iT products for cancer immunotherapy.

Dr. Kai Wang, Ph.D., Head of Technical Operations

Dr. Kai Wang, Ph.D., Head of Technical Operations

Dr. Kai Wang has over 20 years of experience in stem cell regenerative medicine and is currently the Head of Technical Operations at Applied StemCell, Inc. He received his Ph.D. from Shanghai Second Medical University and is a former faculty member of Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Wang has presented over 20 conference porters and has contributed to publications on disease modeling, gene therapeutics, pluripotent stem cell generation and differentiation, and much more. Dr. Kai Wang has been a core member at ASC for 3+ years and has successfully served as the senior scientist, project manager, and group leader for animal genome editing. He fully transitioned into his new role in 2021 and now oversees teams involved in the completion of iPSC projects and the development of new products.

Dr. David Lee, Ph.D., Head GMP and Quality

Dr. David Lee, Ph.D., Head GMP and Quality

Dr. David Lee is the newest addition to the Applied StemCell team. With over 20 years of stem cell and natural killer cell GMP and quality experience, he will lead the new GMP and Quality sector at ASC. Dr. Lee received his Ph.D. in genetics from the University of California, Riverside and completed his post-doctoral research at Case Western Reserve University on cell and gene therapy and mammary tumor and prostate cancer regression.  Dr. Lee has contributed to several patent registrations and applications as well as 30 scientific papers. After beginning his bio-industrial career as a Senior Scientist at Osiris Therapeutics, Dr. Lee continued his profession as the Chief Operating Officer and Director of Molecular Biology of PlantVax, Inc. and the Chief Scientific Officer of Human Biostar, Inc.  Prior to joining ASC, Dr. Lee served as the Head of Bio Strategy and Officer of Cell Therapy Quality at LORDS Co., Ltd. Dr. David Lee has led several R&D teams in cell therapy development projects, helped build cleanrooms and GMP facilities, and has even supervised the GMP manufacturing process. With his comprehensive understanding of industry-level cell therapy product development and GMP manufacturing, Dr. Lee is on a mission to expand ASC’s GMP iPSC-derived product development and manufacturing capabilities to help ASC become a top CRO/CDMO in the biotechnology industry.

Director, Finance and Administration, Lucy Gui

Lucy Gu, Director, Finance and Administration

Lucy Gu has over 20 years of experience in operational accounting and finance field plus 8 years of pubic banking. After joining Applied StemCell in 2012, Lucy developed and implemented several programs to support business growing, including cost tracking, inventory and stock management. She leads team for day to day accounting functions and annual audit. Oversees financial activities of the company, forecasting and budgeting, preparing financial reports and ensuring organizational financial stability. She has participated several rounds of VC financing and is currently helping transition of asset sales that closed in early this year.

Director, Marketing, Maki Ogawai

Maki Ogawa, Director, Marketing

Maki Ogawa is the Senior Business Marketing Director at Applied StemCell, she oversees all business marketing activities including inbound marketing as well as business development, lead generation and operations. Maki has expertise in building tactical/strategic marketing mix in relation with budget and resources in various business levels. Previously, Maki has worked as a marketing specialist with a few biotechnology startups, CROs, as well as marketing agencies for 20+ years. She graduated with honors from Kawansei Gakuin University with a degree in Business Administration and Marketing and is fluent in both Japanese and English.

headshot-cassandra

Cassandra Heighington, Ph.D., Director, Sales

Dr. Cassandra Heighington, Sales Director at Applied StemCell, currently leads the global sales team. She received her PhD from the University of Georgia in Genetics and has over 5 years of experience in scientific sales relating to gene editing services. She specializes in iPSC technologies, CRISPR gene editing, TARGATT technology and custom genetically modified animal models. Her skilled and knowledgeable sales team shares her focus of building strong client relationships and providing optimal custom solutions.

Board Members

Dr. Ruby Yanru Chen-Tsai

Ruby Yanru Chen-Tsai, Ph.D., Chairman of the Board

Dr. Chen-Tsai received her PhD from Cornell University and did her post-doc research at Stanford University. She has been doing research in genome editing and stem cells over 20 years. Prior to joining ASC, Dr. Chen-Tsai worked at Stanford University for 16 years as the Director of Transgenic Research Center and Associate Director of the Stanford Cancer Institute, overseeing nine research technology labs. Her research at Stanford focused on using Parkinson patient-specific iPS cell lines and their differentiation to dopaminergic neurons as a disease model-in-a-dish. She is a co-inventor of the TARGATT™ integrase technology for site-specific gene insertion. Dr. Chen-Tsai is an author of many scientific papers and holder of over fifteen patents. Prior to becoming the CEO of Applied StemCell, Dr. Chen-Tsai led the ASC Therapeutics' gene/cell therapeutic pipeline in the past 5 years. She also led the successful filing of three pre-IND (one stem cell therapy, one gene therapy and one gene editing therapy) with the FDA.

Jun Hou, MBA, Managing Director

Jun Hou, MBA, Managing  Director, China Momentum Fund L.P., Fosun Group 

Jun Hou is a Managing Director at Fosun Private Equity, an investment conglomerate with a focus on healthcare and consumer.  Mr. Hou has 13 years of experience with investment and M&A, with expertise in buyout and equity investments.  Prior to joining Fosun, he was a senior director of corporate development at McKesson, a global leader in healthcare supply chain and technology. He also spent nine years at Credit Suisse's M&A department in New York, where he was involved in over $60 billion in M&A transactions.  Mr. Hou holds an MBA from Columbia Business School, and B.S. from Columbia's engineering school where he was salutatorian of his class.

 

Dr. Guo-Liang Yu. Ph.D.

Guo-Liang Yu, Ph.D., CEO, Apollomics

Dr. Guo-Liang Yu is a co-founder of Apollomics, Inc. He is a venture partner at Orbimed Venture LLC and the Executive Chairman of Crown Bioscience Inc. Dr. Yu co-founded Epitomics Inc., an antibody-based Biotechnology Company recently acquired by Abcam at $170 M. He served as Chairman, President and CEO of Epitomics Inc. for 10 years. Dr. Yu’s success is driven by his scientific curiosity and a passion for translating scientific discovery to real products. His challenge is to balance his time between science and business, fun and work, family and community. He moved from China to the US to pursue advanced training after graduating from Fudan University in 1984. He obtained his PhD from UC Berkeley where he contributed to the discovery of telomerase and its mechanism of action in Dr. Blackburn’s lab. Drs. Blackburn and Greider received the Nobel Prize in 2009 for their discovery. After graduating, Dr. Yu joined Dr. Frederick Ausubel’s lab at Harvard to pursue the question of how plants defend themselves against pathogens without an immune system. He identified the first plant disease resistance gene.

 

Founders

Dr. Ruby Yanru Chen-Tsai

Ruby Yanru Chen-Tsai, Ph.D., CEO and President

Dr. Chen-Tsai received her PhD from Cornell University and did her post-doc research at Stanford University. She has been doing research in genome editing and stem cells over 20 years. Prior to joining ASC, Dr. Chen-Tsai worked at Stanford University for 16 years as the Director of Transgenic Research Center and Associate Director of the Stanford Cancer Institute, overseeing nine research technology labs. Her research at Stanford focused on using Parkinson patient-specific iPS cell lines and their differentiation to dopaminergic neurons as a disease model-in-a-dish. She is a co-inventor of the TARGATT™ integrase technology for site-specific gene insertion. Dr. Chen-Tsai is an author of many scientific papers and holder of over fifteen patents.Prior to becoming the CEO of Applied StemCell, Dr. Chen-Tsai led the ASC Therapeutics' gene/cell therapeutic pipeline in the past 5 years. She also led the successful filing of three pre-IND (one stem cell therapy, one gene therapy and one gene editing therapy) with the FDA.

Dr. Ruhong Jiang, Ph.D.

Ruhong Jiang, Ph.D., Co-founder, President and CEO

Most recently, Dr. Jiang has served as General Manager of China Operations at MicuRx Pharmaceuticals (a California-based novel drug discovery company). Dr. Jiang received a Ph.D. degree in the U.S. He has more than twenty-five years of experience in life science research, and more than 12 years of product development and management experience in several biotech companies. Dr. Jiang led a team which launched one of the first personalized medicine diagnostic tests, FamilionTM, in the US market. Dr. Jiang has developed an extensive network in the biotech industry and academic institutions both in the U.S. and China. Dr. Jiang is also a member of our Executive Team.

Applied StemCell, Michael Clearly

Michael Cleary, MD, Co-founder / Associate Chair, Department of Pathology, Stanford University

Associate Chair for Experimental Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine and Director of Pediatric Cancer Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Dr. Cleary received his MD from the University of Cincinnati Medicine (1981). His laboratory studies the molecular pathogenesis of cancer. They have discovered several genes that are damaged by chromosomal translocations in human leukemias. His group is currently investigating the normal functions of these genes and their contributions to cancer employing a variety of experimental approaches that include biochemical techniques and in vitro cellular transformation assays as well as genetic analyses using transgenic and knockout mouse models.

Business Advisors

Dean Tsao, Ph.D., Chairman and CEO, PlexBio, Inc.

Dr. Tsao is an accomplished scientist and a successful entrepreneur with an excellent track record of launching and leading new companies to grow into successful businesses including Zymed Laboratories, Genemed Biotechnologies, Genemed systhesis, Zytogene and PlexBio.

Dr. Nancy Chang, CEO and Chairperson of the Board

Nancy Chang, Ph.D is Ansun’s CEO and Chairperson of the Board and has served as a Director of Ansun since 2011. Nancy was the Chairperson and Senior Managing Director of Caduceus Asia Partners at OrbiMed Advisors from 2007 to 2012. From 1987 to 2007, Dr. Chang served as Co-Founder, President and Chairman of Tanox, Inc., which was sold to Genentech in 2007. Prior to founding Tanox, Dr. Chang held several leadership positions at Centocor, now a division of Johnson & Johnson. She was also an Associate Professor at Baylor College of Medicine. She has served on the board of a number of companies, including SciClone Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Charles River Laboratories International, Inc., Applied Optoelectronics Inc. Nancy received her Doctorate in Biological Chemistry from Harvard University.

Dr. James J. Zhu, Ph.D., JD, MBA, Partner at Jun He Law Offices

James J. Zhu, Ph.D., JD, MBA, Partner at Jun He Law Offices

Prior to joining Jun He, James was a partner at Perkins Coie's Los Angeles Office, and the Managing Partner of Perkins Coie's Beijing Office.  James was President & CEO for China United On-line, an internet company in Beijing.  James was a co-founder and General Counsel of GanTech international, a venture capital-backed start-up in Silicon Valley. James worked as a research scientist at Merck & Co. in early 1990s. 

 

Applied StemCell, Shengjiang

Shengjiang Liu, Ph.D., Principal Scientist and Department Head, Bayer HealthCare

Shengjiang is the Head and principle scientist of Pathogen Safety in Bayer Biological Development. He is also an investor of early stage venture in high-tech and biotech innovation.  He was a cofounder and the president of Abmaxis Inc. (acquired by Merck & Co., Inc. in 2006) in antibody engineering and development.  He was the group leader and scientist of Genentech (Roche). He discovered rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV), rabbit calicivirus, in mid 80s. Dr. Liu received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Kansas State University and post-doctoral training with Dr. Arthur Kornberg (1993-1996) in Stanford University.

Grace Tian, Co-founder and CEO, Biochain Institute, Inc.

Grace is a successful Biotechnology entrepreneur with an excellent track record. She co-founded Biochain Research Institute, BioChain (Beijing) Science & Technology. Inc. and Beijing Modern Gaoda Biotechnology Co.

Scientific Advisors

Applied StemCell, Dr. Mark A. Kay, MD, Ph.D., Dennis Farrey Family Professor in Department of Pediatrics, Professor of Genetics, Standford University

Mark A. Kay, MD, Ph.D., Dennis Farrey Family Professor in Department of Pediatrics, Professor of Genetics, Stanford University

Dr. Mark A. Kay, MD, PhD, is the Dennis Farrey Family Professor and the Associate Chair for Basic Research in the Department of Pediatrics, Professor of Genetics and the Head of the Division of Human Gene Therapy at the Stanford University’s School of Medicine. Dr. Kay received his MD, PhD from the Case Western Reserve University, and residency and clinical postdoctoral fellowship from the Baylor College of Medicine. He is a leading expert in translational gene therapy and holds the IND for the first rAAV-vector based human clinical trials for Hemophilia B. His contributions to the field of gene therapy also include developing safer and effective recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors; a novel gene editing approach for enabling single vector administration for the treatment and cure of genetic, congenital, and acquired diseases; and effective gene targeting using non-coding RNA biology and RNA interference (RNAi). He has published over 250 papers in leading journals such as Cell, Nature, Science; has co-founded gene therapy companies and is on their scientific advisory board. Dr. Kay has also organized many national and international conferences related to gene therapy. He is one of the founders of the American Society of Gene Therapy, and served as its president from 2005-2006.

Applied StemCell, Dr. Michele Calos

Michele Calos, Ph.D., Professor of Genetics, Stanford University

Dr. Calos is a Professor in the Department of Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, where she has served as a tenured faculty member since 1987.  She received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the laboratory of Nobel laureate Prof. Walter Gilbert at Harvard University and pursued postdoctoral training at the University of Geneva in Switzerland.  Her research focuses on sequence-specific genetic engineering as a tool for generating transgenic cell lines and organisms and for advancing gene and stem cell therapies for diseases such as muscular dystrophy.  Dr. Calos’ research career encompasses the development and use of several cutting-edge plasmid vector systems for molecular biology applications, such as shuttle vectors, Epstein-Barr virus plasmids, autonomous replication systems for mammalian cells, and integrating vector systems.  Her laboratory pioneered the use of the site-specific FC31 phage integrase to modify mammalian cells and, in collaboration with Applied StemCell’s Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Ruby Yanru Chen-Tsai and Stanford Professor Dr. Liqun Luo, to engineer transgenic mice.  Additionally, Dr. Calos’ experience includes serving as the Vice President of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, as well as service on the Advisory Committee of the US FDA for Cell, Tissue, and Gene Therapy, grant review committees for the NIH, NSF, and various international agencies, and editorial work for numerous scientific journals.

Applied StemCell, Michael Clearly

Michael Cleary, MD, Co-founder / Associate Chair, Department of Pathology, Stanford University

Associate Chair for Experimental Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine and Director of Pediatric Cancer Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Dr. Cleary received his MD from the University of Cincinnati Medicine (1981). His laboratory studies the molecular pathogenesis of cancer. They have discovered several genes that are damaged by chromosomal translocations in human leukemias. His group is currently investigating the normal functions of these genes and their contributions to cancer employing a variety of experimental approaches that include biochemical techniques and in vitro cellular transformation assays as well as genetic analyses using transgenic and knockout mouse models.

Qilong Ying, Ph.D., MD, Associate Professor, University of Southern California

Qi-Long Ying is Associate Professor of Cell and Neurobiology at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC. He obtained his Ph.D in molecular biology in 1995 and completed his postdoctoral training in Austin Smith’s group at the University of Edinburgh in 2006. His current research focuses on understanding embryonic stem cell self-renewal and generating transgenic rat models using the embryonic stem cell-based gene-targeting technology.

Xianmin Zeng, PhD

Xianmin Zeng, Ph.D., President & CEO, RxCell Inc, Visiting Professor Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine National University of Singapore 

Dr. Zeng is a renowned expert in human embryonic stem cells (ESC) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). Her research focuses on neural development in humans, and in using patient-specific and engineered isogenic lines to model neurodegenerative diseases, particularly that of Parkinson's disease. She has also developed scalable processes for deriving functional neuronal cells of various lineages from ESCs/iPSCs for cell therapies and drug screening. Dr. Zeng received her PhD in Molecular Biology from the Technical University of Denmark in 2000. Dr. Zeng has been a recipient of several prestigious grants, including a translational grant to develop clinical grade dopaminergic neurons from pluripotent stem cells for Parkinson's disease therapy.

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