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DGI Scientific Advisory Board for Gene Therapy —

DGI has a distinguished group of scientists serving on our advisory board.


Perry Hackett, Ph.D.
Authorized Organizational Representative, DGI
Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board

Perry Hackett, Ph.D., Founding Scientist and Chairman of the Board, 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. His research has been primarily in molecular genetics and functional genomics, transgenic animals (with a concentration on fish) and retroviruses. The Sleeping Beauty Transposon™ System was invented in Dr. Hackett’s lab.

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

R. Scott McIvor, Ph.D., Founding Scientist, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Science 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.

R. Michael Blaese, M.D.

Dr. Blaese was raised in Minnesota and obtained his M.D. from the University of Minnesota. Most of Dr. Blaese’s career was spent at the National Institutes of Health where in 1980 he and his colleagues engaged in one of the first successful human gene therapy trials for a severe immune deficiency disease known as ADA-deficiency SCID. As Chief of the Clinical Gene Therapy Branch he directed a basic research program and a clinical service. During his NIH career he authored over 330 research reports, articles, chapters and textbook contributions and has received awards and honors from universities, research institutions and professional societies around the world. In 1986 he was one of the founding advisors for the formation of Genetic Therapy Inc. In 1994 he became a member of the scientific advisory board for ARIAD Pharmaceuticals. In 1999 Dr. Blaese joined Kimeragen as the Chief Science Officer and President of their Molecular Pharmaceuticals Division. In 2000 Kimeragen merged to become ValiGen and Dr. Blaese directed the combined company’s therapeutics research and its development of clinical applications and products until 2001. More recently, Dr. Blaese has served as Medical Director of the Institute of the Fund for Inherited Disease Research and is also Founder and President of PreGentis. Dr. Blaese has seven issued patents in the area of gene therapy. He is on several Scientific Advisory Boards including those of MaxCyte (Rockville, MD), Insert Therapeutics (Los Angeles), Nautilus Biotechnology (Paris), and NewLInk Genetics (Ames, IA) as well as the Board of Directors of the American Society of Gene Therapy.

Richard A. King, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Minnesota School of Medicine

Dr. King is a Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Genetics, Cell Biology and Development at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine. He is Director of the Division of Genetics and Metabolism and a Professor in the Institute of Human Genetics. Dr. King is an internationally acclaimed physician/teacher with numerous awards. Dr. King is the head author of the medical textbook The Genetics of Common Diseases and is editor in chief of the journal Genetics in Medicine as well as the author of over 100 journal reports and book chapters. Dr. King serves as chief medical advisor to DGI.

Sean M. Sullivan, Ph.D.
Department of Pharmaceutics, University of Florida

Dr. Sullivan trained at the University of Tennessee and from 1974 through 2000 worked in pharmaceutical and then gene therapy companies before taking a position at the Department of Pharmaceutics at the University of Florida. Dr. Sullivan’s industrial experience is impressive, especially in the gene therapy business. He served as a Project Leader at Vestar (now Gilead, Inc.), a Senior Scientist at United States Biochemical Corp. and then Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals, a Section Manager for synthetic vector development at Somatix Therapy/ Cell Genesis, and Program Manager and Director of Core Technologies at GeneMedicine/Valentis Inc. In many of these positions he went through the evolution of companies as they developed their niches in gene therapy. Dr. Sullivan is an expert in the area of formulations for packaging nucleic acids for gene therapy. Dr. Sullivan has 13 patents in this and related areas. He serves on the editorial boards of Pharmaceutical Research and Human Gene Therapy.

Douglas Jolly, Ph.D.
President & COO, Advantagene, Inc.

Doug Jolly, Ph.D. is currently President and COO of Advantagene Inc., a privately held biotechnology company whose focus is on cancer therapies and pro-drug activation. He is an internationally recognized authority on Gene Therapy and its commercialization. Prior to this, Dr. Jolly helped to found Viagene, Inc in 1988, one of the first US gene therapy companies, where he was Vice President of Research. After Viagene went public and was acquired by Chiron, he became Vice President of Scientific Affairs at Chiron Corporation Center for Gene Therapy, and was subsequently CEO of Biomedica Inc. For the last sixteen years, he was involved in moving gene therapy products from research through clinical development in the biotechnology industry, including running Phase I and Phase II clinical trials in infectious disease and cancer. In addition he has been deeply involved in the management of the biopharmaceutical businesses. Before moving into industry, Dr Jolly had pursued an academic career in biophysics and molecular biology at the Weizmann Institute, Harvard Medical School, the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and INSERM in Paris, France. He cloned the gene for HGPRT that corresponds to the genetic disease, Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome, and has published over 90 refereed scientific articles and book chapters. He is an inventor on over 30 issued patents. Dr. Jolly grew up and was educated in Scotland. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Glasgow.


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