NEW YORK, Jan. 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Susan L. Solomon, CEO of The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF), announced today that three top scientific and business professionals recently joined NYSCF, bolstering its leadership team:
- Melissa J. Nirenberg, MD, PhD, FAAN has joined NYSCF as its inaugural Chief Medical Officer
- Elizabeth Schwarzbach, PhD, will lead NYSCF’s partnering and collaboration efforts as Vice President of Business Development
- Michael Zdanowski will oversee NYSCF’s new GMP cell therapy manufacturing facility and operations as NYSCF Vice President of GMP Operations
With an extensive background in both industry and academia in drug discovery and development, Dr. Schwarzbach will foster new partnerships and grow NYSCF’s role in the scientific and medical community. As NYSCF moves further into clinical and diagnostic stem cell applications, Dr. Schwarzbach will oversee collaborations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and academic research institutions.
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Dr. Nirenberg, a long-time NYSCF collaborator, brings her background as a physician-scientist to NYSCF, working with NYSCF scientists and external partners to translate their research into therapies and facilitate upcoming clinical trials. Dr. Nirenberg, a movement disorders specialist, has interests in many aspects of neurodegenerative diseases, including psychiatric, cognitive, and other non-motor manifestations of Parkinson’s disease.
As the Vice President of Good Manufacturing Practices, or GMP, Operations at the NYSCF Research Institute, Mr. Zdanowski will lead NYSCF’s GMP cell production effort to bring the most advanced and rigorous cell manufacturing capabilities to NYSCF, including process development, quality and regulatory compliance, and manufacturing. NYSCF is currently in the initial stage of two cell therapy clinical trials in collaboration with clinicians in New York City.
“Melissa Nirenberg’s research and world-class clinical knowledge will help NYSCF and our collaborators realize the promise of stem cell research by bridging the gap between bench science and medical practice, ” said Susan L. Solomon, CEO and co-founder of NYSCF. “Liz Schwarzbach brings a wealth of experience to our partnering and business development efforts, which are essential to NYSCF’s next phase of growth, and Mike Zdanowski’s long standing expertise will allow us to reach our goal of bringing new cell therapies to patients. These three key additions to our leadership team will enable us to bring new and better treatments to the clinic.”
“After almost 20 years of patient care, I recognize the challenges faced by people with Parkinson’s disease and related disorders,” said Dr. Nirenberg. “I share the frustration of my patients and their loved ones that we are only able to treat the symptoms, but have been powerless to change the course of the underlying disease. At NYSCF, I will finally have the opportunity to do more than just treat symptoms – I will be helping to facilitate cures.”
“I’m thrilled to join the outstanding team at NYSCF and help enable meaningful collaborations that are critical to provide human disease-relevant tools for effective drug discovery and development and new therapies for patients and their families,” stated Dr. Schwarzbach.
“I am pleased and excited to join a world-leading independent stem cell research institute, and am eager to help advance stem cell therapies into the clinic under the visionary leadership of Susan Solomon,” stated Mr. Zdanowski. “I am grateful for the opportunity to join the remarkable group of talented and accomplished scientists at NYSCF as they expand their research into the clinic to accelerate cures, and make cellular therapies available to all patients in need.”
Background and Biographies
Prior to joining NYSCF, Dr. Nirenberg was an Associate Professor of Neurology, Associate Director of the neurology residency program, and a specialist in movement disorders at NYU Langone Health. She pursued her undergraduate education at Yale University, where she graduated magna cum laude with Distinction in English. She subsequently received an MD and a PhD in neuroscience from Weill Cornell. She completed a neurology residency at the University of California, San Francisco, and a movement disorders fellowship at Columbia University. She has been a speaker at numerous national and international meetings, published extensively in the medical literature, and been recognized with awards for excellence in teaching, research, and patient care. She is also a board certified neurologist, fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, and Adjunct Professor of Neurology at the NYU Langone Health.
Dr. Schwarzbach began her career as a biologist in Merck Research Labs, subsequently lead numerous engagements with pharma, biotech, diagnostics, and financial services clients as a manger with L.E.K. Consulting, then transitioned to GlaxoSmithKline R&D Strategy, and spent a short time as Head, Business Development for Axovant Sciences. Most recently, she served as Vice President, Chief of Staff of Sanford Burnham Prebys, a private research institute with 1,100 employees across two campuses in California and Florida. She received her PhD in Pharmacology, with a specialization in Neuroscience, from University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
Mr. Zdanowski brings over 25 years of experience in FDA-regulated industries to NYSCF, with expertise in GMP manufacturing and CMC development including aseptic processing, small molecule, biotech, blood products and cell therapy. He has international consulting experience in GMP compliance, tech transfer, design, construction, validation, startup, and operations for such firms as Pfizer, Bayer, MedImmune, Regeneron and Biogen. He has spent the last ten years working in cellular therapy as Director of Operations at the New York Blood Center, where he submitted the first approved Biologics License Application (BLA) for an Allogeneic Stem Cell Product, and Vice President of Manufacturing at Mesoblast where he oversaw contract manufacturing for Phase II/III clinical trial materials.
About The New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute
The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute is an independent organization accelerating cures and better treatments for patients through stem cell research. The NYSCF global community includes over 150 researchers at leading institutions worldwide, including the NYSCF – Druckenmiller Fellows, the NYSCF – Robertson Investigators, the NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Prize Recipients, and NYSCF Research Institute scientists and engineers. The NYSCF Research Institute is an acknowledged world leader in stem cell research and in developing pioneering stem cell technologies, including the NYSCF Global Stem Cell ArrayTM and in manufacturing stem cells for scientists around the globe. NYSCF focuses on translational research in a model designed to overcome barriers that slow discovery and replace silos with collaboration. For more information, visit www.nyscf.org.
SOURCE The New York Stem Cell Foundation
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