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.
Clay Dunn joined Juvena Therapeutics as a Principal Scientist on the in vitro drug discovery team. Clay received a MPH degree in epidemiology from George Washington University where he worked with Andrew Friedman at the Genetic Epidemiology Branch, NCI, on a study characterizing the clinical features of von Hippel Lindau disease. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington, where he was trained in epithelial cell biology in the lab of William Carter, Ph.D.. He focused on studying the elements of outside→in signaling mechanisms in both activated and quiescent keratinocyte cell populations.
Clay completed his post-doctoral training in the lab of Paul Lampe, Ph.D. at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) in Seattle, WA.. In the Lampe Lab, Clay investigated the biology connecting connexin proteins and Gap Junctional Intercellular Communication (GJIC) to several key cellular functions. His focus was on the kinases and pathways that regulate gap junction function during epidermal wounding and cardiac ischemia.
Clay has spent nearly 10 years in the Bay Area biotech industry developing assays and complex cellular models to support pre-clinical drug development. In five years at Amgen, Clay leveraged high throughput imaging and analysis to conduct IND-enabling studies supporting the development of several assets in Amgen’s pipeline. At Encoded Therapeutics, Clay worked to develop novel bioanalytical assays for the company’s gene therapies, which aim to treat pediatric epileptic seizure syndromes.
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
Yasaman Heidarian joined Juvena Therapeutics as a Scientist working on disease modeling and drug discovery. Yasaman completed her undergraduate and Master’s work on signaling pathways in ovarian cancer at the University of Tehran. She then joined the Cancer Research Center of Iran where she worked on the role of oxytocin signaling pathway in breast cancer. Yasaman did her Ph.D. studies at Indiana University, where she studied metabolic regulations during animal development and disease.
Yasaman has years of experience working on oncology research, stem cell biology and differentiation, genome engineering, and disease modeling. Prior to Juvena Therapeutics, Yasaman worked as Research Co-op at Black Diamond Therapeutics and as a Scientist at Inscripta focusing on drug discovery and genome engineering respectively.
Dr. Ahlawat joined Juvena Therapeutics as an Associate Scientist: Drug Discovery. She holds a Master’s degree in Biotechnology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee (IITR), and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). She is a recipient of Academic and Research Excellence award from the College of Science (UTEP). Her dissertation research involved developing materials and testing them in-vitro to develop therapeutics against the gravest of human diseases such as Alzheimer’s (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD).
Dr. Ahlawat has published more than 18 articles and book chapters in international, peer-reviewed, reputed journals. She is a recipient of the title “Rising Star in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology” at the 10th IEE International Conference on nanomaterials and applications (IEEE-NAP 2020). She has won Best presentation awards at the Equniox (2022), 26th Annual BioEnvironmental Polymer Society (BEPS-2019), Graduate Expo (2018), and 8th International conference on smart materials, structure, and systems (ISSS-2017). In addition, she has won various travel awards (2018-2020), four research awards (2019-2021), and graduate scholarships (2019-2020). She is an Editorial board member of the Journal Future Trends in Nanotechnology and is serving as a Guest Editor for Science Progress (SAGE Journal).
She has served as Vice president of Graduate Student Assembly (2018), and as President of BioChem graduate student chapter (2021). She recently received honorarium from Society for Science for serving as a Science Talent Search Evaluator in 2021. She received Certificate of Appreciation from the Graduate School for her contribution to Undergraduate Learning in 2021. She has served as science judge for the Sun Country Science & Engineering fair (2021), Regeneron International Science & Engineering fair (2021) and at 2nd annual El Paso STEM expo competition (2019). She worked as an intern for eight months with a medical device company where she participated and led international projects which included renewal and registration of ophthalmic lenses in Mexico, Creating Instructions for Use (IFUs) and technical files, and Translation of IFUs into European languages.
Dr. Ahlawat serves as a peer-reviewer for journals such as Cell Biochemistry and Biophysics, Nanotechnology for Environmental Engineering, Environmental Science, Journal for Drug Delivery, and technology, and Phytotherapy. She delivered four invited scientific talks at International Conferences in 2021-2022.
Ben graduated from UC Davis with bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology. While at UC Davis, he worked in Dr. Keith Baar’s lab, and was part of several research projects relating to skeletal muscle metabolism and the effects of nutrition and aging on skeletal muscle, and became responsible for performing transfections of both primary and immortal cell lines for various projects going on in the lab. Additionally, Ben worked as a biochemistry intern at Marrone Bio Innovations in Davis where he gained experience with performing and developing high throughput assays, as well as both small and large scale purification of native and recombinant proteins from several prokaryotic species.