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DGI Founders —

DGI's technology is based on the work of its founders — four University of Minnesota professors whose inventions form the basis for product development at DGI.

Our Founding Scientists are all affiliated with the Institute of Human Genetics, the Arnold & Mabel Beckman Center for Transposon Research, and the University of Minnesota Cancer Center.



R. Scott McIvor, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer, Chief Science Officer

R. Scott McIvor, Ph.D., Founding Scientist and Chief Executive Officer, is Professor of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development at the University of Minnesota. Dr. McIvor graduated with degrees in Cell and Molecular Biology, and Pathobiology from the University of Washington and obtained his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Minnesota in 1982. He was a postdoctoral fellow first at the University of California, San Francisco, and then at Genentech, Inc., in South San Francisco, California. He has been at the University of Minnesota since 1986, where he initially was a member of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. Dr. McIvor is also Director of the Gene Therapy Program at the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Human Genetics. He served for eight years as a member of the NIH Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) and is currently a member of the NIH Cancer Drug Development and Therapeutics Study Section, the Scientific Advisory Board of the NIH National Gene Vector Laboratories, and the Editorial Boards for Human Gene Therapy, Gene Therapy, and Molecular Therapy. His research has been primarily in the area of human gene therapy, concentrating on vectors for the treatment of genetic diseases and cancer.

His research has been primarily in the area of human gene therapy, concentrating on vectors for the treatment of genetic diseases and cancer.

 

Perry B. Hackett, Ph.D.
Authorized Organizational Representative

Perry Hackett, Ph.D., Founding Scientist and Authorized Organizational Representative, graduated with a degree in Physics from Stanford University, obtained his Ph.D. in Biophysics and Genetics from the University of Colorado, and had postdoctoral training at the Max Planck Institute for Cell Biology in Germany and at the University of California in San Francisco. He has been at the University of Minnesota since 1980, where he initially was a member of the Department of Genetics and Cell Biology. He is a past Director of Graduate Studies in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and Genetics.

Hackett’s research has focused primarily on molecular genetics, functional genomics and transgenic animals, with a concentration on fish and retroviruses. In 1985, Hackett incorporated the zebrafish model into his research to investigate various transgenic technologies and molecular genetic mechanisms regulating gene expression in vertebrates. The Sleeping Beauty Transposon™ System used and patented by DGI, was invented in Hackett’s lab in 1997 as a way of delivering genes to vertebrates and identifying gene functions.

 

Stephen C. Ekker, Ph.D.
Founder

Stephen C. Ekker, Ph.D., Founding Scientist, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development at the University of Minnesota and Director of the Arnold & Mabel Beckman Center for Transposon Research. His research has been primarily in developmental biology using several animal systems including zebrafish. Dr. Ekker is the inventor of DGI's gene discovery technology, Morphant® Technology.

Ekker graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1988 with a B.S. degree in Genetics and Developmental Biology and also a B.S.in Electrical Engineering. In 1993 he earned his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Ekker also continues to be an active member of the University of Minnesota Cancer Center, and a Group Leader in Developmental Biology and Genetics for Minnesota Craniofacial’s Research Training (MinnCResT) Program. His research focus is on the molecular genetics of development, with a strong emphasis on the zebrafish as a model system.

David A. Largaespada, Ph.D.
Founder

David A. Largaespada, Ph.D., Founding Scientist, graduated with a degree in Genetics and Cell Biology from the University of Minnesota and obtained his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1992. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute’s Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center in Maryland. He has been at the University of Minnesota since 1996.

Dr. Largaespada is the director of the Mouse Genetics Laboratory, which creates genetically modified mice for University investigators and is Director of the Genetic Mechanisms of Cancer Program. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development and holds the Margaret and Harvey Schering Land Grant Chair in Cancer Genetics.

His research has been primarily in the area of mouse genetics and cancer.

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