Our advisory panel

Find out about the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult advisory panel

Our advisory panel consists of academic and industry leaders that have expertise across science, medicine and technologies, and all come from a range of highly respected European academic organisations and the international pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. We hope to expand in the near future to invite members from the investment community due to increased interest from this group.

Outcomes and recommendations from the panel will feed into our strategy, positioning and planning to help ensure the continued growth of our organisation and the success of the cell and gene therapy industry.

Dr Ger Brophy

Life Sciences, GE Healthcare

Ger is Chief Technology Officer of GE Healthcare Life Sciences. He has over twenty years’ experience in the global life sciences and biotechnology industry.

Previously he was Head of New Product Development at GE Healthcare Medical Diagnostics; encompassing the development of in vivo and in vitro diagnostic technologies, with oversight of discovery (research) and clinical development; regulatory and medical affairs; project and portfolio management; product acquisition and licensing; R&D efficiency projects and collaborations across GE. He has also led Strategic Planning and Licensing within the medical diagnostics business and was centrally involved in the expansion of the business into the personalized medicine space.

Ger holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Dublin City University, Ireland. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and holds directorship positions in Omnyx & Drawbridge; and is a member of the UK National Biology Manufacturing Centre’s Industrial Advisory Board.

Dr Jan Thirkettle

Freeline Therapeutics

Jan is Chief Development Officer at Freeline Therapeutics and head of Advanced Therapy Delivery.  Prior to his current role, Jan was VP, Cell & Gene Therapy Platform at GSK. In this role he was responsible for building GSK’s platform for CMC and supply of GSK’s cell and gene therapies, from new technology development through to product commercialization.

Prior to establishing the Advanced Therapy Delivery group in 2011, Jan had responsibility for CMC and commericalisation of a number of biopharmaceutical products, and since joining GSK in 1997, has held a number of roles in both R&D and manufacturing organizations in new technology and new product introduction areas.

Jan holds a Masters in chemistry and Ph.D. in biological chemistry from the University of Oxford.

Michael Hunt


Michael joined ReNeuron in 2001. Between 2005 and 2014 he served as its CEO, leading the business through its early development to its current position as one of the global, clinical-stage leaders in the regenerative medicine field. Prior to ReNeuron, he spent six years at Biocompatibles International plc (sold to BTG plc) where he held a number of senior financial and general management positions.

Michael is a founding member and co-chair of the European Alliance for Advanced Therapies and sits on the BioIndustry Association’s Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine Advisory Committee and its Finance and Tax Advisory Committee. He currently sits as an industry member on the UK Department of Health’s Regenerative Medicine Expert Group. He read economics at University College London and qualified as a chartered accountant with Ernst & Young.

Dr Mark Zimmerman

J&J Innovation

Mark received his bachelors in biology from Syracuse University and his masters and doctorate in biomedical engineering from Rutgers University. 

Mark joined Johnson and Johnson in 1997 as a principal scientist/group leader where he was responsible for managing a tissue-engineering program. Mark transitioned into regenerative medicine projects related to wound healing, vascular biology, and diabetes. Mark was appointed Executive Director of a Lifescan incubator, BetaLogics, in July 2002.

Mark is a fellow in the American Institute of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineers, a member of numerous societies (Tissue Engineering Society, International Society for Stem Cell Research, the International Society for Cell Therapy, the American Diabetes Association, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Biomaterials Society), and he sits on the External Advisory Council of the NIH Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Mark has authored 44 peer-reviewed publications, 10 book chapters, 136 abstracts and is an inventor on 24 patents.

Gregg Sando

Cell Medica

Gregg is the founder and CEO of Cell Medica. After a career in investment banking based both in London and New York, he completed his immunology MSc degree at the medical school of Imperial College.

Recognising the significant progress taking place in the field of cellular immunotherapy, Gregg formed Cell Medica in cooperation with a small group of the leading clinicians and immunologists who were pioneering this new mode of medical treatment.

Dr Edward Hodgkin

Syncona Partners

Edward is a Partner of Syncona Partners LLP. Previously, he was Chief Executive Officer of Biotica Technology Ltd. Prior to joining Biotica in 2007, he spent 12 years in the US, serving as President and Chief Business Officer of BrainCells, Inc. (San Diego, CA) and Vice President, Business Development and Marketing at Tripos Inc. (St. Louis, MO).

Edward has broad deal-making experience, including licensing, strategic alliances, company formation, equity financing and dispute resolution. His early career was spent in scientific and management roles at Wyeth-Ayerst, Inc. (Princeton, NJ) and British Biotech Ltd. (Oxford). Ed holds an MA and DPhil in Chemistry from Oxford University.

Dr Regina Fritsche-Danielson


Regina is Senior Director and Head of Heart Failure Bioscience at AstaZeneca R&D, in Sweden. She has a background in cardiovascular physiology and pharmacology and has over 13 years’ experience in pharma.

Regina is Strategy area lead for cardiac regeneration/heart failure and Project Leader within cardiovascular diseases and in new modalities (modRNA).

Professor Sir Ian Wilmut

OBE FRS FRSE, University of Edinburgh

2006-2011, Founding Director, MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh

2005-2006, Professor of Reproductive Science, University of Edinburgh

2000-2005, Head of Department, Gene Expression and Development, Roslin Institute

1973-2005, Principal Investigator, Roslin Institute

1971-1973, Postdoc, ARC Unit of Reproductive Physiology and Biochemistry, Cambridge. The first methods were developed for the deep freeze storage of mammalian embryos.

1967-1971, PhD Darwin College, Cambridge Deep Freeze Preservation of Boar Semen.

Professor Austin Smith

University of Cambridge

Austin obtained his PhD. from the University of Edinburgh in 1986. Following postdoctoral research at the University of Oxford, he joined the Institute for Stem Cell Research at the University of Edinburgh in 1990 as a group leader.

In 1996, he was appointed Director of the Centre. He was appointed MRC Research Professor in 2003. He took up the post of Director of the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute in the autumn of 2006.

Austin’s expertise is in the field of stem cell biology and he has pioneered key advances in the field of embryonic stem cell research. His research focuses on the molecular and cellular controls of embryonic and somatic stem cells, and on interconversion between pluripotent and tissue-restricted states.

Professor Charles ffrench-Constant

University of Edinburgh

Charles graduated with a MA in physiology from the University of Cambridge and an MB, BChair in medicine from Middlesex Hospital, London. He gained a MRCP in internal medicine from Hammersmith/University College Hospital and received a PhD in neuroscience from University College London.

He worked as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at MIT, Boston from 1987 to 1989 and in zoology, Cambridge from 1989-1991, before being awarded a Junior Group Leader position in the Wellcome/CRC Institute at Cambridge. He became a University Lecturer/Consultant at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge in 1999. During this time, he was funded by a Wellcome Trust Clinical Senior Fellowship and then a Research Leave Fellowship.

Charles took up his present appointment as Chair of Medical Neurology at the University of Edinburgh in 2007. His research focuses on the biology of myelin formation and repair in the brain and the aim of discovering novel therapies in multiple sclerosis.

Professor Paul Fairchild

University of Oxford

Paul is an Associate Professor and Lecturer in pre-clinical medicine within the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology and a Fellow of Trinity College. He began his research career in Oxford, where he studied for a doctorate in the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences.

After spending five years as a Post-doctoral Fellow investigating the aetiology of autoimmune disease in the Department of Pathology, at Cambridge University, Paul returned to Oxford.  In 2008, he founded the Oxford Stem Cell Institute (OSCI), for which he continues to serve as Co-Director. As a highly interdisciplinary research institute, the OSCI focuses on exploiting the properties of stem cells for the treatment of some of most intractable chronic and degenerative diseases. It is within this context that Paul continues to apply his background in transplantation immunology, to investigate the nature of the immune response to tissues differentiated from pluripotent stem cells and to develop approaches to the induction and maintenance of immunological tolerance.

Professor Marc Peschanski

Institute for Stem cell Therapy and Exploration of Monogenic diseases. France

Marc, founder and scientific director of I-Stem, is a medical doctor and PhD in neurosciences. Entered at INSERM in 1982, he first worked on the neurophysiology and anatomy of pain in Paris and San Francisco.

From 1985 his work was oriented towards the study of neuroplasticity and transplantation of foetal neurons, with which his team conducted the first clinical studies in France, starting in 1991 in patients with Parkinson’s disease, and the first world trial in Huntington’s patients from 1996, followed by a European study of Phase II in 50 patients.

Co-founder of the Clinical Investigation Centre at the Henri-Mondor Hospital and to its associated Biotherapy branch, Marc was also a founder of the European neurotransplantation Network (NECTAR) and its first chairman in 1991-92. He has coordinated several European research networks for gene therapy and cell therapy of neurodegenerative diseases, as well in most recent year’s pluripotent stem cells.

Professor Chris Mason

University College London

Chris is Professor of Regenerative Medicine Bioprocessing in the Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering, University College London. He has a multidisciplinary track record spanning discovery, clinical medicine, bioprocessing, regulation, healthcare economics, reimbursement and business.

He holds a clinical sciences degree from Imperial College London, an MD from the United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy’s and St. Thomas’s Hospitals (now King’s College London) and a PhD in tissue-engineering bioprocessing from University College London. Current appointments include; Senior Editor of “Regenerative Medicine” journal, Co-founder and CEO of the London Regenerative Medicine Network, and Co-Chair of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine Cell Therapy Section.

Chris is on many national and international committees, working groups and initiatives related to the academic, clinical and commercial advancement of cell therapy is a general spokesperson for the sector including frequent newspaper, radio and TV interviews.

Professor Adrian Thrasher

University College London

Adrian is Professor of Paediatric Immunology and Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, and Honorary Consultant Paediatric Immunologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust.

He is the Programme Head of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation at UCL GOS ICH and has a long standing research and clinical interest in development and application of gene therapy. He is Director of the Clinical Gene Therapy Programme, and Theme Leader of the Gene Stem and Cellular Therapies theme of the Biomedical Research Centre, at UCL GOS ICH/GOSH.  Adrian is PI on several clinical trials for immunodeficiency and is Director of the clinical gene therapy GMP facility, managing a team of trial coordinators, clinical scientists, and quality systems personnel.

Professor Graham Lord

Kings College London

Graham qualified in medicine from Cambridge University in 1991 and undertook a period of general clinical training as a junior doctor in Cambridge, Hammersmith, Oxford and the Brompton.

Following specialisation in Nephrology, Transplantation and General Medicine at the Hammersmith, he undertook a period of research in Molecular Immunology at Imperial College London that led to a PhD in 2000, funded by an MRC Clinical Training Fellowship.

He was appointed as a Consultant in Nephrology and Transplantation at the Hammersmith in 2003. From 2003-2006, funded by an MRC Clinician Scientist award, he was a visiting scientist at Harvard University and came back to the UK to become the Chair of Medicine at King’s in 2006.

Professor Lord led the successful application for the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Guy's and St Thomas' and was appointed as Director of the Centre in 2012. In this role, he is responsible for the delivery of programmes of translational research with a significant part of the Centres' portfolio focussed on Regenerative Medicine and Cellular Therapy.

Professor Petra Reinke

Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Petra is a Nephrologist and Clinical Scientist within the following scientific topics: transplantation medicine, development of new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches in transplantation.

Petra has wide experience in managing and coordination of international consortia. She is Project coordinator for the EU founded FP7 consortium “BIO-DrIM” collaborative project (2012-2017) and was Steering committee member and workpackage leader of the EU founded FP7 consortium “ONE- Study” (2010-2015), Steering committee member and work-package leader of the EU founded FP6 consortium “RISET”, 2005-2010; Co-PI for a project founded by the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN) (2000-2003) and Co-Investigator ROTF grant (1997-2000).

She is Medical Director Nephrology and Transplantation and Head of the “Kidney Transplant Outpatient Clinic” at the Dept. Nephrology CVK; Head of research area “immune system”, Head of the GMP-Facility developing new Tcell based therapeutic strategies for SOT patients in phase I/IIa and Steering Committee Member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies (BCRT), of the DFG-sponsored Berlin-Brandenburg School for Regenerative Therapies (BSRT) and of the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) Stem Cell Center.

She has published more than 300 articles in different transplant research areas.

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