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Hanadie Yousef, PhD

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Dr. Hanadie Yousef is a leading expert on the biology of aging and mechanisms underlying tissue degeneration with over two decades of experience in biomedical research. In 2018, she launched Juvena Therapeutics, a venture-backed biotechnology company mapping the therapeutic potential of secreted proteins to develop biologics that prevent, reverse and cure chronic and age-related diseases. The company has secured about $60M to date and developed a proprietary pro-regenerative protein library supported by a computationally driven drug discovery and development platform that enables them to characterize human stem cell-secreted proteins for therapeutic potential. Their artificial intelligence-enhanced platform leverages multiple data modalities and technologies, including quantitative proteomics, multi-omics, high-content imaging and machine learning. Juvena’s scaling platform has enabled the identification, extensive preclinical validation, and lead optimization of three novel drug candidates, including a lead recombinant fusion protein headed towards an investigational new drug and anticipated to enter the clinic in 2024 for Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1, as well as multiple discovery candidates with in vivo efficacy across several chronic, age-related and rare metabolic and muscle degenerative disease areas.

Dr. Yousef’s high-impact published research has been supported by fellowships and grants from the National Institute of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation, SPARK, and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and led to multiple issued and pending patents. She has received multiple awards and been named to various shortlists for her entrepreneurship and innovation, including the Biocom Catalyst award in 2022, Emerging Pharma Leader by Pharmaceutical Executive, Business Insider 30 under 40 in Healthcare, and Endpoints 20 under 40 lists in 2023. She earned her B.S., summa cum laude from Carnegie Mellon University and a PhD from UC Berkeley as an NSF graduate research fellow then completed a 5-year postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford School of Medicine as an NIH fellow and SPARK scholar.

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Jeremy O’Connell, PhD

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As Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder of Juvena Therapeutics, Dr. O’Connell oversees research strategy, pre-clinical science and manufacturing, and intellectual property efforts. Dr. O’Connell’s expertise in proteomics and systems biology was accrued during a PhD from UT Austin, a postdoc at Harvard, and his time in industry.

Prior to Juvena Therapeutics, in his postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical school in the lab of Steven Gygi, he leveraged large proteomics datasets to build machine learning classifiers to improve protein-protein interaction predictions within the ubiquitin system.

He has spearheaded research projects in multiple tier-one research institutions, including Harvard and Stanford, employing a combination of mass spectrometry, high throughput imaging, and computational approaches. His work has resulted in numerous peer-reviewed publications, approved and pending patents, millions in award grant funding as the primary PI, fellowships, and awards.

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Priya Handa, PhD

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Priya Handa, PhD has over 20 years of experience in basic, preclinical and translational research spanning multiple disease areas including metabolic, hepatic, renal and ocular, among others. Prior to joining Juvena Therapeutics, Priya was a Principal Scientist and a team leader at Surrozen focused on tissue regeneration using their antibody platform in diseases with an unmet need. There, she championed several early stage discovery programs and was a key contributor to the Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) program which is currently in Phase I clinical trials.
Prior to joining Surrozen, Priya made seminal observations on the pathological underpinnings of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis( NASH) in the Swedish Organ Care Research Program and Benaroya Research Institute at Seattle working closely with world-renowned physician-scientist, Dr. Kris Kowdley. She published her pivotal findings in leading journals such as Hepatology, and presented over 30 posters and gave 7 podium talks in prestigious conferences such as American Association in the Studies on Liver Diseases (AASLD) and Digestive Diseases Week (DDW) among others, on her key work on liver diseases including Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis and Primary Biliary Sclerosis. Prior to that, at the University of Washington’s Diabetes Institute, Priya uncovered a central role for vascular nitric oxide signaling in regulating adipose tissue inflammation and metabolic dysfunction and highlighted an essential role for ApoA1 in regulating inflammation.
She completed her Ph.D in the Indian Institute of Science delineating various DNA repair pathways, and received the best thesis award for her dissertation. She did her postdoctoral work at the University of Washington in Seattle on DNA repair and genomic instability. Priya has authored 38 publications including book chapters and reviews, and has presented her findings in numerous international meetings and is a co-inventor of a patent.

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Thach Mai, PhD

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Dr. Thach Mai joined Juvena Therapeutics as a Stem Cell Biologist and Bioinformatician to lead the validation and discovery of the key rejuvenating protein factors in Juvena Therapeutics’ complex embryonic secretome cocktail and develop and improve Juvena’s HTS platform for protein therapeutic discovery.

Dr. Mai is a trained stem cell biologist and immunologist with a focus on the mechanisms of muscle degeneration and aging. Dr. Mai received his PhD in Molecular Biology and Immunology from UC Irvine and a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University. During his fellowship, Dr. Mai used bioinformatics to accurately quantify high-throughput genomics data from multi-nucleated cells (heterokaryons) consisting of human and mouse gene transcripts to discover a novel transcription factor that drives the reprogramming of fibroblasts to pluripotency. Self-taught in ML with a strong passion for rapid biological discovery, he has generated deep learning models that identify muscle-specific aging genotypes as well as a machine learning classifier for the myogenic differentiation state of a single cell with a heterogeneous population.

Dr. Mai has been awarded multiple fellowships including from the National Institute of Health (F32), has three, 1st author publications including in Nature Journals, and is co-author of thirteen publications with one in review.

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Dan Furlong, DHA, PMP, MBA

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Dr. Dan Furlong serves as the project manager for the CIRM-funded TRAN-12890 project at Juvena Therapeutics. He has over 35 years of project management and leadership experience, serving in the healthcare industry for the past 24 years. In healthcare he and his teams were responsible for projects that included up to 300 staff and were valued at over $80M USD. Beyond project management, Dr. Furlong also brings leadership, business, and strategic planning skills to the team.

Dr. Furlong has served regularly as the Project Management Institute (PMI) subject matter expert for healthcare at the annual PMI Global Congress and has consulted, lectured, and trained thousands of people for dozens of international organizations both at home and abroad. He was a speaker at the HIMSS Annual Conference ten times, including leading several all-day seminars for them. He was awarded the HIMSS Fellow designation for his service to HIMSS and the healthcare community. He was awarded a full scholarship for the 2022 CHIME CIO Bootcamp and was one of 50 people accepted into the 2008 PMI Leadership Institute Masters Class, a full scholarship leadership program.

Dr. Furlong co-authored the textbook Healthcare Project Management along with Dr. Kathy Schwalbe (1st & 2nd editions) as well as the PMP Last Chance Review. Dr. Furlong is a faculty member at the Medical University of South Carolina where he has been teaching in their MHA and MSHI programs since 2009. He currently teaches Healthcare Project Management, Systems Analysis & Design, and Database Concepts courses there, but also holds faculty appointments with the College of Charleston and Walden University.

Dr. Furlong earned his BS in Computer Science from the College of Charleston, his MBA from The Citadel, and his DHA from the Medical University of South Carolina.

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Zhihua Li, PhD

Dr. Li is a biologist with a multidisciplinary background in Biochemistry, Immunology, Cell and Molecular Biology, with 7 years of research experience in academia and 4 years in industry. He joined Juvena Therapeutics as a Protein Engineering Scientist to build protein expression and purification pipelines and to improve Juvena Therapeutics’ pipeline library of rejuvenating proteins for therapeutic purposes.

Following a BS in Biochemistry and Master’s Degree (MS) in genetics from scientific and technical universities in China, and a second MS in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Southern California all during which he conducted research, Dr. Li completed his PhD (2007) and postdoctoral training (2014) in Cell and Molecular Biology from UT Austin, where he studied protein-protein interactions in different ways: first by combining computational predictions with experimental validations to discover 15 new protein factors functioning in the biogenesis of ribosomes; then by combining powerful mass spectrometry with protein fractionation techniques to create protein complex maps for both yeast and human cells. Continuing his exploration of novel protein interactions in his postdoctoral research, Dr. Li elucidated the self-cleavage mechanism of a novel membrane-bound transcription factor that drives oligodendrocyte differentiation. He’s published multiple co-authorships and first authorship studies along the way. 

Before joining Juvena, Dr. Li worked in industry and biotech startups as Lead Scientist, Life Science Consultant, Scientific Advisor and R&D director. As Lead Scientist at BMLogic, Dr. Li developed and optimized the protein secretory production system in Pichia, leading to improved protein secretion efficiency and greatly reduced protein degradation.

Besides his passion for science, he enjoys spending time with his kid and exploring nature.

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Mohammad Hassanipour

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  • Experienced and motivated Scientist with a strong background in stem cell biology, human embryonic stem cell, cell culture, molecular biology, vector construction and analytical techniques, including qPCR, ELISA ,FACS, ICC, and Western blot
  • 25+ years proficiency in human embryonic stem cell culture and directed differentiation 
  • Generating Cardiomyocytes, retinal Hepatocytes and Endothelial Progenitor Cells, from human embryonic stem cells to high purity and success rate.
  • Developing models of end-stage liver disease and liver cirrhosis in primary human hepatocytes (PHH) and primary rodent hepatocytes, including 2D and 3D spheroids and co-cultures with myofibroblasts, stellate cells and Kupffer cells.
  • Design and execution of high-throughput in vitro plasmid-based miRNA screening for acquired liver disease targets.
  • Evaluated the transduction efficiency and long term transgene expression of AAV1 and Adeno virus in endothelial cells 
  • Generation of iPS cells with different methods (e.g. mRNA, lenti virus, sendai virus, siRNA reprogramming)
  • Identified optimal cell condition for Exosome production, purification and characterization 
  • Developed ELISA assay kit for Exosome quantification 
  • Experience with molecular biology techniques and protein isolation  
  • Excellent technical, organizational, and communication skills
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving capabilities
  • Ability to work both independently and in a team environment

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Hee Ju Kim, MS

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Hee Ju joined Juvena Therapeutics as a Research Associate to work on the validation of our pipeline of pro-regenerative lead protein therapeutic candidates in in vivo preclinical models of aging and degenerative diseases caused by aging. 

She is originally from Korea and she received her master’s degree in biochemistry from Korea University. Her master’s degree was supported by Brain Korea 21 (BK21). During her masters, she was trained in basic molecular techniques and in vitro experiments. Her master’s thesis was about double stranded DNA repair in yeast ribosomal protein S3.  

Before joining Juvena Therapeutics, Hee Ju was trained as a research volunteer in the Peter W. Laird lab, Norris Cancer Center at the University of Southern California (USC). She was involved in the epigenomic projects and she designed the reaction oligo for Mouse MetyLight and some of the primers, which she designed, were published in the paper, Urology.

Hee Ju started improving her in vivo skills in the David J. Anderson’s lab as a research assistant for 5 years at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). She was involved in the projects of anxiety and aggression. After she moved to Austin, she worked with Michael R. Drew as a research associate for 4 years at the Center for Learning and Memory, UT Austin. Then she worked at the KPC lab in Korea for 2 years in preclinical models of neurodegeneration, in particular Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease.  

In Hee Ju’s free time, she enjoys traveling with family, playing golf, and spending time with her lovely dog Kelly.

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Stephen Juelsgaard, DVM, JD

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Stephen Juelsgaard is the former executive vice president, secretary and chief compliance officer of Genentech, Inc. His career at Genentech spanned 24 years. In that role, Dr. Juelsgaard reported to Genentech’s CEO, Art Levinson, and was responsible for Genentech’s Corporate Law, Intellectual Property, Government Affairs (Federal and State), Human Resources, and Healthcare Compliance groups, as well as the Business Services group, which included Strategic Facilities Planning, Corporate Security, Business Continuity, and Environment, Health & Safety. He also chaired Genentech’s Capital Governance Committee, which oversaw major capital expenditures at the company, and was a member of Genentech’s executive committee, the most senior management committee at the company. He had oversight responsibility for more than 600 employees and an annual budget of approximately $250 million.

Juelsgaard joined Genentech in 1985 as corporate counsel and became senior corporate counsel in 1989. In 1992 he became vice president, Corporate Law and in 1994 was named general counsel, a role he served in through 2007. Juelsgaard was named secretary to the Board of Directors in 1997 and a senior vice president in 1998. In 2002, he was appointed executive vice president, in 2005 was named chief compliance officer, and in 2007 he became responsible for oversight of the Government Affairs group. Juelsgaard was the company’s representative on the board of directors of the California Healthcare Institute from 2005 until 2009.

Prior to joining Genentech, Juelsgaard was an associate for three years with the law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Palo Alto, California. Prior to attending law school, Juelsgaard was engaged for three years in a private veterinary medical practice.

Juelsgaard currently teaches at the Stanford Law School. He currently serves on the board of directors of Altrubio, an antibody-drug conjugate company targeting a variety of autoimmune and immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. He is a past member of the board of directors of Ivivi Health Sciences LLC, a private medical device company, and of Rio Grande Neurosciences, Inc., a private company engaged in the development of pulsed electromagnetic field technology as well as transcranial electrical stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation technologies.

Juelsgaard received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees from Iowa State University in 1972 and a Masters Degree in Veterinary Clinical Sciences in 1975 from Iowa State University, and in 1982 he received a law degree from Stanford Law School.

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Ashil Koranne

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Ashil joined Juvena Therapeutics as a Research Associate to contribute to pre-clinical in-vivo research, including the functional and behavioral validation of lead protein therapeutics developed by the in-vitro team.

Ashil obtained his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of California, Riverside. Working in the Nabity Lab, he focused on genetics with the aim to parse out an endosymbiont genome from that of its host, the woolly apple aphid, to elucidate the mechanisms the endosymbiont utilized to fortify the amino-acid poor diet of the aphid.

Realizing his aptitude for dissection and surgery, he began a two-year stint at the Oka Lab at Caltech post-graduating. After beginning by managing and genotyping mouse colonies of up to 55 lines and 400+ animals for the lab, he moved towards behavioral testing and survival intracranial surgery. He worked as a co-author on a project to create an opiate-biosensor, validating in-vitro and ex-vivo results in-vivo by both optimizing and executing intracranial viral injections, and optic fiber implantation in the VTA in the brain. This in conjunction with post-op fiber photometry and DeepLabCut analysis allowed visualization of how the brain processes mu opiates such as fentanyl.

In Ashil’s free time, he is a basketball fanatic, both in playing pickup and following the pros!

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