Dr. Victoria Fox is a human pluripotent stem cell biologist and co-founder of Pathways to Stem Cell Science. She is a faculty course instructor Cal State Channel Islands and CEO of the stem cell consultation company PluriCORE.
Formerly, Fox was an Assistant Professor of Research at the University of Southern California and director of the USC Stem Cell Core Facility. She has made major contributions to stem cell research by providing support, training and consultation to academic scientists focusing on a wide range of projects from fundamental stem cell biology to disease modeling and early translational studies. She also has significant expertise in designing and establishing stem cell laboratories for academic, teaching and industry applications.
Dr. Fox is a prominent figure in the field of stem cell education and a seasoned educator with 15 years experience teaching all ages from pre-school to tenured professors. A former faculty course instructor for USC’s accredited degree programs, Fox has provided hands-on training in current stem cell techniques to hundreds of graduate, doctoral and post doctoral students at USC and collaborating institutions. In 2008 she created the USC Stem Cell Core Training Program – an innovative series of extended learning certificate courses offering hands-on training with human stem cells to not only professional scientists, but also high school students. This program was the first of its kind to provide opportunities for pre-college students to derive, differentiate and manipulate human stem cells in a professional industry-style training format. Offered to more than 1000 students world-wide, the USC Stem Cell Core Training Program grew in popularity to become a major provider of stem cell techniques training to students attending the CIRM funded Bridges to Stem Cell Research Program and was recently spun out of USC to form Pathways to Stem Cell Science.
Originally from England, Fox completed PhD training in stem cell biology with internationally recognized scientist Peter Andrews at the UK’s first and leading Center for Stem Cell Biology before joining USC in 2007. In addition to supporting research and education, Fox also served as vice chair of USC’s Embryonic Stem Cell Research Committee, which oversees the scientific and ethical merits of stem cell research on the campus.
Professor Martin Pera is a professor at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. His research focuses on understanding the mechanisms that enable stem cells to self-renew and differentiate into specialized somatic cell types. He has authored over 150 peer reviewed scientific articles during a stem cell research career spanning more than 30 years. He was among a small number of researchers who pioneered the isolation and characterization of pluripotent stem cells from human germ cell tumors of the testis, work that provided an important framework for the development of human embryonic stem cells. His laboratory at Monash University was the second in the world to isolate embryonic stem cells from the human blastocyst, and the first to describe their differentiation into somatic cells in vitro.
Pera has made major contributions to the understanding of human embryonic stem cell biology and assisted many trainees and collaborators to establish themselves in this area of research. He has provided extensive advice to state, national and international regulatory authorities on the scientific background to human embryonic stem cell research, and is a member of the Steering Group of the International Stem Cell Initiative.
Formerly, Pera was founding chair the Eli and Edythe Broad Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the University of Southern California. Before joining USC he served as a research professor and director of the Monash Institute of Medical Research, and as director of embryonic stem cell research at the Australian Stem Cell Centre, where he was also one of the founding scientists. He has also held the position of Chair of Stem Cell Sciences at The University of Melbourne where he was the Program Leader of Stem Cells Australia, a national initiative that links Australia’s leading experts in bioengineering, nanotechnology, stem cell biology and clinical research.
Thomas Zwaka, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Developmental and Regenerative Biology at Mount Sinai, in New York and Interim director of the Black Family Stem Cell Institute. He is the founder of the Huffington Foundation Center for Cell-Based Research in Parkinson’s Disease, which he also directs as a collaborative effort to develop better treatments for neurodegenerative disease.
After earning his MD and PhD degrees from Ulm University in Germany, Zwaka trained as a cardiologist and discovered the link between C-reactive protein and atherosclerotic inflammation, a connection that has had enormous importance for cardiology. Zwaka then went to the University of Wisconsin to complete a postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Jamie Thomson, who derived the first human embryonic stem cell line in 1998.
In Thomson’s lab, Zwaka pioneered methods to genetically manipulate stem cells, resulting in publications that have been cited more than a thousand times. He then joined the faculty of the Baylor College of Medicine, serving in both the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and in the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy. Within a few years, he became Co-Director of the Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine Center. At Baylor, the Zwaka Lab discovered a key regulator of pluripotency that behaved so differently from canonical stem cell factors that it was named Ronin.
Internationally recognized for his work on pluripotent stem cells, Zwaka’s research is currently focused on converting human pluripotent stem cells into medically relevant cell types for tissue repair therapies.
Dr. Jeffrey Gunter MD is a board certified dermatologist licensed to practice in California, Texas and North Dakota. Gunter received his medical degree from the Keck School of Medicine of USC and has been in practice for more than 25 years. He is a successful entrepreneur, passionate philanthropist and supporter of a wide number of medical, educational and political initiatives aimed at improving the lives of others.
Dr. Gunter and the Gunter family are founding donors of the EiHS program which began in 2012 at USC. Through their generosity and support they enabled the EiHS program to garner more than $500K in grants and donations. Formerly, Dr. Gunter was the founder and chair of the Ambassadors to Stem Cell Research at USC, a unique group of leaders and visionaries that work to raise philanthropic funds for USC’s stem cell research program. As a director with Pathways to Stem Cell Science, Dr. Gunter plays a pivotal role in raising awareness for the institute and its training initiatives. Pathways to Stem Cell Science’s training facility – The Johanna. B. Gunter Stem Cell Training Laboratory – is named in honor of the Gunter families continuing support and generosity.
Dr. Pamela Eversole-Cire is the director of the Biotechnology and CIRM Bridges to Stem Cell Research Programs at Pasadena City College (PCC). Through the PCC CIRM Bridges Program, Eversole-Cire has enabled more than 50 students, largely from underprivileged backgrounds to gain high-quality training and mentorship in the field of stem cell research. She is also a program director with the EiHS Caltech CIRM SPARK program, a collaborative grant funded initiative involving Pathways to Stem Cell Science and Caltech which enables inner city youth to participate in cutting edge stem cell research.
Eversole-Cire completed her PhD training at the University of Southern California in 1994. She worked for six years as a Research Fellow at Caltech before joining the faculty of PCC in 2001. She currently holds the position of visiting associate in Biology with the Division of Biology and Biological Engineering at Caltech.
Mark Cervi is a financial advisor with 20 years of diversified business experience. He is an expert in budgeting, financial planning and cash management and a senior director with Zolfo Cooper, a leading international provider of corporate advisory and restructuring services.
Before joining Zolfo Cooper, Mr. Cervi worked at Price Water House Cooper where he provided tax and assurance services. Mr. Cervi is also a Certified Public Accountant in the state of California and a Certified Insolvency and Restructuring Advisor. A co-founder of Pathways to Stem Cell, Mr. Cervi acts as treasurer of the Board of Directors.
Josef Bobek III is the General Counsel & Secretary of Landmark Dividend LLC, one of the nation’s largest ground lease acquisition companies, and the General Partner of Landmark Infrastructure Partners LP, a publicly traded master limited partnership (NASDAQ SYMBOL: LMRK). Mr. Bobek is the head of Landmark’s legal department.
He is responsible for all legal affairs of the company, providing oversight for the company’s international expansion. Mr. Bobek has also sat on the board of directors for numerous 501(c)3 non-profit corporations, many of which he helped to create. He currently holds the position of secretary on the Board of Directors at Pathways to Stem Cell Science.