Guided by Advisors who share our passion to bring hope to patients around the world

Dr. Bennett is a renowned expert in gene therapy, animal models and translational medicine in retinal disease, whose research and technology led to the development of the marketed gene therapy product, Luxturna, for patients with inherited retinal disease (IRD).  She is a Scientific Co-Founder of Spark Therapeutics, serves as scientific founder and on the scientific advisory board of GenSight and is a member of the scientific advisory board at Akouos.  She is active in the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cell and Gene Therapy and has received several awards, including the Alfred W. Bressler Prize in Vision Research, the Antonio Champalimaud Vision Award and the Watanabe prize in Translational Research.

F.M. Kirby Professor of Ophthalmology, University of Pennsylvania
Co-founder and Scientific Advisor

Jean Bennett, MD, PhD

M.G. Finn received a B.Sc. degree in Chemistry from Caltech in 1980, and a Ph.D. degree in 1986 from MIT working with Prof. K.B. Sharpless, followed by an NIH postdoctoral fellowship with Prof. J.P. Collman at Stanford University. He joined the faculty of the University of Virginia in 1988, where his group studied and developed a variety of transition metal-mediated synthetic methods. Prof. Finn moved to the Department of Chemistry and The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at The Scripps Research Institute in 1998, and then to the School of Chemistry & Biochemistry and the School of Biological Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2013. He assumed the chairmanship of the former department in 2014.

Prof. Finn’s current interests include the use of virus particles as molecular and catalytic building blocks for vaccine and functional materials development, the discovery of click reactions for organic and materials synthesis, polyvalent interactions and advanced linker technologies in drug targeting, and the use of evolution for the discovery of chemical function. He is currently the Chief Scientific Officer of the Pediatric Technology Center, a joint effort of Georgia Tech, the Emory University Medical School's Department of Pediatrics, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, to bring new science and engineering to the aid of pediatric medicine. He holds the James A. Carlos Family Chair for Pediatric Technology.  

Graduates from the Finn laboratory can be found in academic departments around the world, as well as in companies in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, chemical, and materials industries. Prof. Finn was the first recipient of the annual Scripps Outstanding Mentor Award, a 2017 Arthur C. Cope Scholar award, and is Editor-in-Chief of the journal ACS Combinatorial Science.

Professor and Chair, School of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology

M.G. Finn, PhD

Dr. Garcia-Blanco received his MD, and PhD in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University and completed a fellowship with Dr. Phillip Sharp at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 1990 to 2014, Dr. Garcia-Blanco was a faculty member at Duke University, where he served as the inaugural Charles D. Watts Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Professor of Medicine, and Director of the Center for RNA Biology. He is also Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases at Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore. 

 

Dr. Garcia-Blanco has made seminal discoveries in the fields of RNA biology and virology.  His studies on mRNA splicing have shed light on the mechanisms of splicing regulation, disease-causing splicing dysregulation and the use of trans-splicing as potential therapy.  Recently, he has focused his expertise on pathogenic RNA viruses and on RNA-centric mechanisms of autoimmune diseases. He has published more than 170 articles, reviews and chapters, and has been continuously funded by NIH since 1991.  Dr. Garcia-Blanco was elected to the Association of American Physicians (2011), fellow of the AAAS (2011), and fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (2013). He has served on editorial boards and NIH panels, including the National Advisory Council for NIGMS, and the Council of Scientific Advisers of the International Centre Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, a unit of the United Nations. Dr. Garcia-Blanco is the Chief Scientific Officer and scientific founder of Autoimmunity Biologic Solutions.

Professor and Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Mildred Hajek Vacek and John Roman Vacek Distinguished Chair in Honor of President Truman G. Blocker, Jr., University of Texas Medical Branch

Mariano A. Garcia-Blanco, MD, PhD

Professor Lahann is currently the Wolfgang Pauli Collegiate Professor of Chemical Engineering and the Director of the Biointerfaces Institute. The Biointerfaces Institute is located on 56,000 square feet of research space in the North Campus Research Complex and is the home to 30 research groups and about 350 researchers. Prior to joining UM, he conducted postgraduate studies under the supervision of Prof. Robert S. Langer at MIT.

Prof. Lahann is a co-author of more than 250 publications including papers in Science, Nature Materials, Nature Biotechnology, or PNAS and has contributed to 55 patents and patent applications. Prof. Lahann has been selected by Technology Review as one of the top 100 young investigators and the recipient of the 2007 Nanoscale Science and Engineering Award, an NSF-CAREER award, and both a single-PI and a team Idea award (2006 & 2011) from the US Department of Defense. In 2011, he was elected as a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. Prof. Lahann has mentored 36 graduate students and 30 postdoctoral students. Prof. Lahann serves on leadership committees for the University of Michigan Forbes Institute for Cancer Discovery, the Rogel Cancer Center, and the UM Biosciences Initiative.

Director of the Biointerfaces Institute Professor, Wolfgang Pauli Collegiate Professor of Chemical Engineering, Biointerfaces Institute, University of Michigan

Joerg Lahann, PhD

Dr. Ben Philpot is a Kenan Distinguished Professor in the Neuroscience Center and Department of Cell Biology & Physiology at the University of North Carolina.  He earned his Ph.D. in psychobiology from Dr. Peter Brunjes at the University of Virginia and performed a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Mark Bear at Brown University and M.I.T., where he made important contributions to our understanding of experience-dependent brain development.  He is currently the Associate Director of the UNC Neuroscience Center and a member of the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities, for which he helps direct a cross-disciplinary postdoctoral training grant for neurodevelopmental disorders.  Dr. Philpot’s current research seeks to understand the pathophysiology underlying monogenic neurodevelopmental disorders, and he uses this information to develop small molecule and gene therapies to treat these disorders. His research focuses on early-stage development of treatments for Pitt-Hopkins, Dup15q, and Angelman syndromes.  Dr. Philpot has made key therapeutic discoveries, including developing an approach to unsilence the epigenetically-repressed paternal UBE3A allele as a novel treatment strategy for Angelman syndrome. Dr. Philpot has >80 peer-reviewed scientific publications.  He has advised prominent biotech and pharmaceutical companies, and serves on the scientific advisory committee for the Angelman Syndrome Foundation.  He has won multiple awards, including the NARSAD Young Investigator Award, a Whitehall Foundation fellowship, and the Dr. Claudia Benton Award for Scientific Research. 

Kenan Distinguished Professor, Associate Director, UNC Neuroscience Center, Department of Cell Biology & Physiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Ben Philpot, PhD

Limelight Bio is a privately held, multi-platform, multi-disease biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Philadelphia, PA and Cambridge, MA. Since 2017, Limelight has been developing proprietary technologies, advanced targets, and leading drug candidates designed to overcome key limitations of current gene therapy and gene editing approaches.

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