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Gates Institute Taps Leading Biotech Experts for New Advisory Board

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Written by Toni Lapp on June 10, 2024

Five individuals with biotechnology expertise have been recruited by Gates Institute to form a new scientific advisory board.  They will provide strategic and scientific input to guide specific cell and gene therapy programs, with a focus on increasing patient impact, prioritizing near- and long-term goals, and exploring new platforms, said Gates Institute Executive Director Terry Fry, MD. This board will supplement the scientific expertise of the larger Gates Institute Advisory Board, which advises Fry and other members of the executive committee on matters ranging from marketing to intellectual property.  

Members of both boards will serve as ambassadors for the institute in their own professional networks, promoting the Institute's work and helping to identify opportunities for collaboration and partnership, said Fry. 

The scientific advisory board members, who will serve three-year terms, may already be familiar to those in the Gates community. They represent a variety of backgrounds in academia and industry and are recognized for their expertise in cell and gene therapies, rare diseases, clinical research, regulatory, and health policy/advocacy. The inaugural advisory board members are: 

Kristi S. Anseth, PhD​ 
Kristi Anseth is Distinguished Professor, Tisone Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Head of Academic Leadership of the BioFrontiers Institute at the University of Colorado Boulder. ​Her research interests lie in the interface between biology and engineering for design of new biomaterials applied in drug delivery and regenerative medicine​. She is an elected member of the National Academies of Medicine, Engineering, and Science. 

Laurie Goodrich, DVM, PhD​ 
Laurie Goodrich is professor of Orthopedics in the Department of Clinical Sciences and Director of the Orthopedic Research Center at Colorado State University’s C. Wayne McIlwraith Translational Medicine Institute.​ Her research employs new approaches to bone and joint healing in equine athletes using both gene therapy and stem cell therapy. Ongoing studies include using adeno-associated viral vectors to deliver growth factors and anti-inflammatory molecules important in cartilage and bone healing.​ 

Jay Hesselberth, PhD​ 
Jay Hesselberth is professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics and co-director of the CU School of Medicine RNA Bioscience Initiative (RBI). ​His research involves RNA damage and repair, technology development focused on single-cell and spatial transcriptomic measurements, and the collaborative development and application of RNA vaccines and therapies.​ 

Paul Rothman, MD​​ 
Paul Rothman is former dean of Medical Faculty at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and CEO, Johns Hopkins Medicine. A rheumatologist and molecular immunologist, his research interest involves immune system molecules known as cytokines and the role they play in the normal development of blood cells, as well as the abnormal development of these blood cell that leads to leukemia. He is on the boards of Merck and Labcorp. 

Dan Welch, MBA​ 
Dan Welch has over 40 years of experience developing medicines in entrepreneurial biotech and multinational pharmaceutical companies. He has had roles in bringing over a dozen breakthrough new medicines to patients with HIV, multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, infectious disease and several rare diseases. The technologies behind these new medicines include adeno-associated virus vector-based gene therapies, monoclonal antibodies, mRNA and small molecules. Welch currently serves as the board chair or board director of several public and private companies that are developing medicines and gene therapies to treat various forms of cancer, pediatric and adult rare diseases and cardiovascular disease and diabetes/obesity. 

Photo at top: Members of the newly formed Science Advisory Board, clockwise from top left: Paul Rothman, Dan Welch, Jay Hesselberth, Laurie Goodrich and Kristi Anseth.