Hanadie Yousef, PhD
Dr. Hanadie Yousef is a scientist, aging biology expert and the co-founder and CEO of Juvena Therapeutics, a biopharma startup developing protein-based therapeutics to promote tissue regeneration and increase healthspan to prevent, reverse, and cure degenerative diseases.
For over 18 years, Dr. Yousef performed biomedical research in both academia and industry. She studied mechanisms that underly brain and muscle aging, including adult stem cell decline, inflammation, and fibrosis associated with aging and multiple degenerative diseases. She elucidated age-associated protein signaling changes systemically and locally in tissues that lead to loss of tissue homeostasis and the onset of degenerative diseases. Dr. Yousef’s discoveries led to several novel drug targets and methods for tissue rejuvenation. Her research was supported by multiple fellowships and grants that include the NIH, NSF, and SPARK and has led to numerous issued and pending patents. Her research has been highlighted in high-profile publications including Nature Medicine, Cell Reports, and others on mechanisms of aging and methods for tissue rejuvenation, particularly in the brain and muscle. Dr. Yousef’s key discoveries laid the foundation of Juvena Therapeutics’ venture-backed, drug discovery and preclinical development platform.
Since Juvena’s launch in mid-2018, Dr. Yousef and her team have translated those key discoveries into a proprietary pro-regenerative protein library and validated their potency on multiple tissue types, with several issued and pending patents. They built a machine learning-enhanced drug discovery and preclinical development platform to enable a pipeline of drug candidates for multiple age-related and rare diseases. The platform has enabled the identification, extensive preclinical validation, and lead optimization of 3 novel drug candidates that enhance muscle regeneration, function, and reduce frailty, with several additional discovery candidates for degenerative diseases.
Dr. Yousef earned her B.S. in Chemistry with a Spanish minor, summa cum laude from Carnegie Mellon University, a PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley as an NSF graduate research fellow, pursued a 5-year postdoctoral fellowship in Neurology at Stanford School of Medicine as an NIH fellow and SPARK scholar, and conducted research and development for Regeneron and Genentech.
PhD Training (2008-2013)
During her graduate studies at UC Berkeley, Dr. Yousef studied protein signaling mechanisms underlying adult stem cell decline with aging and developed methods for tissue rejuvenation in brain and muscle in the world-renowned Schaffer and Conboy labs. Her discoveries that a specific subfraction of human embryonic stem cell-secreted proteins enhance aged muscle regeneration and human myogenesis and enhance the activity and survival of neural stem cells and cortical neurons laid the foundations of Juvena’s proprietary rejuvenating protein library and discovery platform.
Achievements: First author of 4 publications outlining mechanisms underlying stem cell decline with age; developed methods for brain and muscle tissue rejuvenation leading to 3 issued patents, and secured an NSF graduate research fellowship (2009-2013).
Postdoctoral Fellowship (2014-2018)
During her tenure at the Stanford School of Medicine in the world-renowned Wyss-Coray lab, Dr. Yousef elucidated molecular and cellular mechanisms that contribute to both a decline in brain function with aging and the onset of neurodegenerative diseases, with a focus on understanding the interactions between aged blood and the blood-brain barrier. Her first author discoveries on a mechanism underlying inhibition of brain function by aged blood through the blood-brain barrier were published in Nature Medicine (May 2019) and Cell Reports (March 2020). Dr. Yousef won two consecutive SPARK grants to translate her discovery into the clinic for neurodegeneration and vascular dementia and has an issued patent from Stanford. In addition to her research, Dr.Yousef spearheaded collaborations across departments that led to numerous other discoveries, grants, and co-authorship on multiple high-profile publications.
Achievements: Nature Medicine (May 2019), first author; Cell Reports (March 2020), co-first author; multiple co-authorships in top journals including Nature; issued patent No. 10,947,311; NIH F32 postdoctoral fellowship (2015-2018), SPARK scholar and grant recipient (twice).
While at Stanford, 2017, Dr. Yousef co-founded Juvena Therapeutics, Inc., to pursue her dream to build an innovative biopharmaceutical company that develops novel protein-based medicines that promote tissue regeneration and increase healthspan for age-related and rare degenerative diseases.
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