Management

Jak Knowles, M.D.

Chief Executive Officer

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Prior to joining CytoSen Therapeutics as CEO, Jak Knowles, M.D. served as managing director of CureDuchenne Ventures and vice president of Medical and Scientific Affairs for CureDuchenne. Previously, Jak has served on the board of directors for the biotech companies Myotherix and RASRx, and for TRiNDS, a neuromuscular focused contract research organization. In 2017 Jak helped found and launch Exonics Therapeutics, serving as president and interim CEO for a gene editing company focused on delivering therapies for neuromuscular diseases. Jak has had a career in healthcare spanning over a decade with the last five years focused in biotech venture capital and finance. Most recently, Jak was as an investment professional in the Boston office of MPM Capital ($2B AUM), where he worked within the BioVentures Asset Management team starting early-stage companies focused on developing curative therapeutics across a wide spectrum of indications. Prior to MPM, Jak worked in New York as a biotechnology equities analyst with JMP Securities, and in the health and life sciences consulting practice of Oliver Wyman. Jak has a M.D. from Stanford University, where he graduated with honors in biomedical research, and a B.S. in biology from Binghamton University. Jak has authored more than a dozen publications from research performed at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Stanford University, and during a NIH post-doctoral surgical research fellowship.

Robert Igarashi, Ph.D.
President and Co-Founder

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Robert Igarashi, Ph.D. is the president and co-founder of CytoSen Therapeutics. Dr. Igarashi has a diverse background in life sciences and has played an instrumental role in the development of the particle based natural killer (NK) cell stimulating technology. He has brought his biochemical and physico-chemical expertise to combine with immunology for developing and refining the nanoparticle based method for NK cell stimulation that could be used for ex vivo expansion as well as in vivo stimulation of therapeutic NK cells.He has been crucial in understanding the biochemical aspects of the plasma membrane particles interacting with NK cells and how they can be further innovated to add novel therapeutic dimensions for adoptive NK cell therapy.

Dr. Igarashi joined the faculty at the University of Central Florida as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry with a joint appointment in the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences. He is now a research scientist developing innovative methods for NK cell therapies. Dr. Igarashi achieved his B.S. and M.S. in biochemistry at California State University Fullerton and Ph.D. in biochemistry at Utah State University and was a postdoctoral scholar at University of California, Berkeley.

Dean Lee, M.D., Ph.D.Dean Lee, M.D., Ph.D.
Vice President, Medical Director, Cofounder, and Chair of SAB

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Dr. Lee has also developed genetic and non-genetic methods for improving tumor targeting and tissue homing of NK cells, leading to over a dozen invention disclosures, patents, and commercial licensing agreements.

In 2016, Dr. Lee joined Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University School of Medicine as professor of Pediatrics and director of the new joint Cellular Therapy and Cancer Immunotherapy Program. He serves as co-chair of the Cellular Therapy Working Group for the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium, and is a member of the Cellular Therapy Steering Committee of the Children’s Oncology Group, the NIH Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee, and the NIH Gene Transfer Safety Assessment Board. Dr. Lee achieved his B.A. in Natural Sciences at Fresno Pacific College, his M.D. at Loma Linda University, and his Ph.D. in immunology at Loma Linda University.