Company - About Us

Our team is comprised of experienced scientists and practical business leaders.


Ronald G. Landes

Chief Executive Officer, Co-Founder

Mr. Landes founded and led Landes Bioscience, publisher of 50 peer-reviewed life science journals, for 20 years. He is president of the nonprofit Solving Organ Shortage and currently serves on the board of directors and scientific advisory boards for several organizations, including Quantitative Insights, Oncoceutics, p53 Therapeutics and the Georgian Telemedicine Association. He has experience in technology commercialization and has invested in 20 early-stage life science companies in the US, Europe and Israel. Mr. Landes earned a BS in biochemistry from the University of Chicago, an MD from the Medical College of Wisconsin and trained in surgery at the University of Minnesota.

Founders and Inventors

Alejandro (Alex) Soto-Gutiérrez, MD, PhD

Principal Investigator, Co-Founder

Dr. Soto-Gutiérrez is a tenured associate professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also an affiliated faculty member of the McGowan Institute, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, and the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute. Prior to joining PITT, he was a surgery research fellow with the Department of Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Boston.  He earned his MD from the University of Guadalajara, Mexico, and completed a surgical fellowship from the Department of Surgery of Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine and Dentistry, Japan, while writing his PhD dissertation on liver tissue engineering. 

Dr. Soto-Gutiérrez has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2008 Clinical Research Award for a Post-Graduate Fellow in Transplantation from the New England Organ Bank, the 2009 Thomas E. Starzl, MD Postdoctoral Research Award from the American Liver Foundation, the 2012 Faculty Development Award from the American Society of Transplantation, and the 2013 Competitive Medical Research Fund Program Award from UPMC Health System. He also received a National Institutes of Health Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00). He is the Editor-in-Chief of the scientific journal, Organogenesis, and Chief Science Coordinator for the Liver Community at Solving Organ Shortage, and chair of the Regenerative Transplant Community of Practice at the American Society of Transplantation. He is author of more than 82 peer-reviewed publications, nine book chapters, and is editor of a book on methods of cell transplantation. 

Dr. Soto-Gutiérrez’s clinical interest is in using regenerative and disruptive approaches in the treatment of liver diseases with the goal of alleviating the critical shortage of livers for transplantation. His research interest is focused on the development of new technologies for organ replacement using regenerative medicine approaches (auxiliary partial liver transplantation, cell transplantation, cell and organ engineering, genetic reprogramming) to generate entire replacement livers. His laboratory is actively working in liver cell differentiation and understanding hepatic maturation of human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells using interactions with liver non-parenchymal liver cells, a 3D liver matrix, and different molecules. While portions of these investigations are carried out in organ culture systems, several ongoing studies are being performed in specially engineered animal models of liver regeneration to better understand the repopulation capacities of hepatic tissue or liver grafts derived from human iPS cells. In addition, Dr. Soto-Gutiérrez’s laboratory is interested in strategies for reprogramming diseased livers and ways to induce super functions in livers (e.g. acute or chronic liver failure, liver steatosis, liver preservation).

Tomoji Mashimo, PhD

Principal Investigator, Co-Founder

Dr. Mashimo is Director of the Genome Editing Research and Development Center at Osaka University. He and his lab are focused on the development of genome editing technologies in mice, rats and rabbits.  Using these technologies he has developed a variety of animal models of human diseases, including a SCID rat and various humanized animals genetically altered to carry functioning human genes, cells, tissues, and/or organs.

Dr. Mashimo earned his PhD from Kyoto University and completed his postdoctoral training at the Pasteur Institute in Paris before returning to Kyoto University as an associate professor. In 2015 he moved to Osaka University's Institute of Experimental Animal Sciences, Graduate School of Medicine and subsequently was named director. He currently serves as vice president of the Japanese Society for Genome Editing. 

Ira Fox, MD

Principal Investigator, Co-Founder

Dr. Fox's major research interests involve the study of experimental therapies for treating patients with liver disease. He has initiated clinical trials involving extracorporeal human and pig liver perfusion to treat patients with acute liver failure, and has demonstrated successful correction of liver-based metabolic deficiencies in newborns and young children by transplantation of isolated liver cells. His work has been continuously supported by grants from the NIH and the DoD for over 20 years.

He is a graduate of Harvard College and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Fox did a research fellowship in Immunology with Baruj Benacerraf at Harvard Medical School and a surgical transplant fellowship with Dr. Thomas Starzl at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to moving back to Pittsburgh in 2008, Dr. Fox was senior associate dean for research and MD-PhD program director at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Alexandra Collin de l’Hortet, MSc, PhD

Scientist, Co-Founder

Dr. Collin de l’Hortet is a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh. She earned a MSc in Genetics from Paris Diderot University in 2010, and a PhD in Molecular Biology and Therapeutics from Paris Descartes University in 2014. She received two doctoral grants from the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research and the French National League Against Cancer to work on the regeneration of fatty livers. She characterized the role of the endocrine system, particularly growth hormone, on fatty liver regeneration by controlling downstream molecular actors in the liver. She also developed a therapeutic approach to treat patients with fatty liver diseases requiring hepatic resections. 

Prior to undertaking her PhD, Dr. Collin de l’Hortet worked as a pre-doc fellow at New York University where she built a genetic editing tool. That experience provided acute insight into molecular and cell biology, and deep expertise in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. This multi-disciplinary training is now used to develop cell and liver tissue engineering techniques for regenerative medicine. Dr. Collin de l’Hortet has created human iPS cell lines carrying a modified inducible gene-editing system, designed hepatic differentiation protocols, and generated mini human livers with iPS-derived human hepatocytes to model human fatty liver tissue. She received a Philippe Foundation Award for this work in 2015 and 2016 and was the sole recipient of the Pathology Postdoctoral Research Training Program Grant from the University of Pittsburgh in 2016. She is the author of 11 peer-reviewed publications and two patent applications. Additionally, she oversees the writing of grant applications, is directly responsible for strategic planning, and manages NIH-funded research projects.

Jorge Guzman-Lepe, MD

Scientist, Co-Founder

Dr. Guzman-Lepe is a research associate in the Pathology Department of University of Pittsburgh. Prior to this, he was a visiting scholar in the Rangos Research Center in the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh where he completed a one-year fellowship in the Division of Pediatric Pathology. He earned his MD from the University of Guadalajara, Mexico, in 2003. After fellowships in emergency medical care at the Health System Services of Guadalajara and general medicine and surgery at Mexico-Americano Hospital, Dr. Guzman-Lepe completed his residency in anatomic pathology at West National Medical Center, Mexico, in 2011. 

His research interests are in bioengineering, cell transplantation and organ engineering, especially cell/matrix interaction and the engraftment and proliferative capacity of different cell populations in metabolic disorders impacting the liver. Dr. Guzman-Lepe’s research interests also include the role of structural connective tissue in organ scaffolds obtained by decellularizing rodent livers. These scaffolds are used to grow new tissue/organs for transplantation and/or in vitro studies. Other fields of interest include analyzing cells and tissues (e.g. cell transplant repopulation, bioengineering grafts) for biomarkers using immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence techniques. Dr. Guzman-Lepe has published 10 papers in the field of experimental and clinical pathology.

Kazuki Takeishi, MD, PhD

Scientist, Co-Founder

Dr. Takeishi is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to this he was an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery and Science at Kyushu University, Japan.  Dr. Takeishi earned his MD and his PhD in Bio-Pathological Carcinogenesis Sciences and Surgery from Kyushu University, Japan. He subsequently completed a surgical residency for liver transplantation and hepatobiliary pancreas surgery. 

After his doctoral studies Dr. Takeishi’s research and clinical work focused on liver carcinogenesis. His inability to offer liver transplantation to patients with unresectable HCC and advanced liver cirrhosis due to chronic organ shortage led to his pursuit of a postdoctoral fellowship in liver regeneration at the University of Pittsburgh, which has one of the world’s largest groups of multidisciplinary scientists dedicated to liver and transplant biology. 

He has focused on understanding hepatic differentiation and maturation of iPS cells, the process of making liver tissue, and the factors that stimulate regeneration of iPS-derived human hepatocytes. He has differentiated iPS cells into immature hepatocytes, conducted cell transplantation, and developed a technique to engineer transplantable mini-livers (tissue) using iPS-derived hepatocytes. His work is progressing toward development of a system for mass production of iPS-derived hepatocytes with an end goal of engineering liver grafts for transplantation. 

Dr. Takeishi has conducted numerous clinical investigations related to liver failure and produced more than 80 peer-reviewed publications. Additionally, he’s published two manuscripts on hepatic differentiation. He has received awards from the Fukuoka Foundation for Sound Health Cancer Research Fund, the Kaibara Morikazu Medical Science Promotion Foundation, and is the 2017 recipient of the Postdoctoral Research Award from American Liver Foundation.

Yang Wang, MD, PhD

Scientist, Co-Founder

Dr. Wang is a hepatobiliary surgeon in Peking University People’s Hospital in Beijing, China. Prior to this he was a research fellow in the Department of Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh, and a PhD candidate in the Center for Transplantation and Research Center for Hepatocellular Carcinoma at Peking University. He received his MD from Nanchang University and finished his surgery master degree at Wenzhou Medical University, where he received funding for liver regeneration research as a co-investigator and accumulated his basic knowledge and skills for stem cell research and liver engineering. While earning his PhD at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Wang focused on mass production of iPS-derived hepatocytes using animal bioreactors and production of iPS cells derived from cholangiocytes.

Dr. Wang's clinical interest is in surgical management of hepatobiliary diseases and liver transplantation. His research interests focus on liver regeneration, stem cell differentiation, hepatocellular carcinoma treatments, and the application of iPS-derived liver grafts to offer a new therapy for end-stage liver disease.

Branimir (Bane) Popovic, DVM


Dr. Popovic is a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh and an affiliated member of Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association. He earned his DVM degree at Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade, Serbia, followed by a premed internship at the Zambelli Laser Eye Institute.  

Dr. Popovic’s research interests are focused on gastrointestinal disease and surgery. He has participated in multiple research projects, including animal models of disease, involving immunological, biochemical, and molecular biological investigations into how immune cells are activated in the progression of chronic inflammatory diseases. His surgical expertise on rodents provides opportunities to explore issues related to hepatocyte cell transplantation and the repopulation of liver cells.  His data collection and analysis have laid a solid foundation for further research. 

Science Advisors

Jane Lebkowski, PhD

Asterias Biotherapeutics

Dr. Lebkowski is Chief Science Officer of Asterias Biotherapeutics, a biotechnology company offering proprietary cell therapy programs. Prior to joining Asterias, she had a distinguished career at Geron where she managed research and development of the company's immunotherapy products for cancer treatment and its hES-based products for regenerative medicine. Over her 13 years at Geron, Dr. Lebkowski progressed from Senior Director, Cell and Gene Therapies to Chief Science Officer. Before that she was with Applied Immune Sciences/Rhone Poulenc Roere, advancing from research scientist to Vice President of Research and Development. Dr. Lebkowski holds a BS in chemistry and biology from Syracuse University and a PhD from Princeton University.

Joseph Rosen, MD

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

Dr. Rosen is Professor of Surgery at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in the Plastic Surgery division and an Adjunct Professor of Engineering at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College. He is also an Attending Surgeon at the VA White River Junction. 

His basic science research interests include nerve gap repair; microsurgery and transplantation of limbs; computer aided surgery; virtual reality simulators and methods of education; telemedicine and informatics; healthcare delivery for medical disasters and counter measures for bio-terrorism. Additionally, Dr. Rosen has been involved with surgical reconstruction internationally for the past 30 years - most recently in Vietnam where he and his team treat children with congenital and traumatic deformities.

For the past 15 years Dr. Rosen has also served as a Medical Advisor/Medical Director to numerous consortiums focused on developing novel regenerative therapies for wounded warriors. These consortiums have covered research topics ranging from transplantation to the development of unique peptides. Participation in these consortiums has led to consulting for the Department of Defense and numerous biotech companies. 

Dr. Rosen graduated Stanford Medical School and completed a residency in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Stanford University Medical Center.

James E. Squires, MD, MS

Pittsburgh Liver Research Center

Dr. Squires is a clinical hepatologist working in the field of pediatric liver disease, including inherited liver diseases. He is a member of the Childhood Liver Disease Research Network, an NIH-funded consortium working to improve the lives of children with rare cholestatic liver diseases. He is also a member of the Studies in Pediatric Liver Transplant, a multifacted organization focused on improving outcomes for children receiving liver transplantation.

Dr. Squires earned his MD from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and did his residency at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Following residency, he completed fellowships in both pediatric gastroenterology and pediatric advanced/transplant hepatology at CCHMC. He completed a Masters in clinical and translational research focused on the diagnostic and predictive value of serum biomarkers in children with hepatobiliary disease. Following completion of his training, Dr. Squires joined the faculty at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC in 2015 where he remains active in both clinical and research pursuits. CCHMC's Liver Clinic attracts a wide-ranging composition of patients in search of second opinions, transplant evaluations, non-operable disease management, and participation in clinical trials.

Stephen Strom, PhD

Karolinska Institutet

Dr. Strom is a Professor in the department of laboratory medicine at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, where he leads translational research programs as the Director of Karolinska Institute's Hepatology Program. Dr. Strom completed his PhD at the University of Kansas Medical Center in the department of pharmacology, and his post-doctoral training in genetic toxicology and carcinogenesis at Duke University Medical Center. 

Prior to joining Karolinska Institute in 2012, Dr. Strom held faculty positions at Duke University, the Medical College of Virginia and the University of Pittsburgh. He is an expert in the isolation and study of human hepatocytes and a pioneer in the field of hepatocyte transplantation, having served as the director for the first FDA-approved laboratory for clinical hepatocyte transplantation. Dr. Strom has authored over 240 peer-reviewed publications and 21 book chapters and is a world-renowned expert in liver and hepatocyte biology. He currently holds the Soderberg Professorship in Regenerative Medicine and serves on the Board of Councilors of the Cell Transplantation Society, for which he was the President from 2010-2013. He is the editor-in-chief of Transplantation Technology and the World Journal of Gastroenterology, and serves on the editorial board of numerous other journals focused on cell biology and transplantation. 

D. Lansing Taylor, PhD

University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Taylor is Director of the University of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute and the Allegheny Foundation Professor of Computational and Systems Biology. He began his academic career at Harvard University, developing and using novel fluorescence-based reagents and imaging technologies to investigate fundamental cellular processes in living cells. He subsequently moved to Carnegie Mellon University to serve as Director of the Center for Fluorescence Research in the Biomedical Sciences continuing to develop and apply novel fluorescence-based technologies in biology and medicine. 

In the early 1990s he co-founded his first company, Biological Detection Systems (now part of General Electric Life Sciences), to commercialize research light microscope imaging systems and the multi-color cyanine dyes used for fluorescence detection in the life sciences. In 1996 Dr. Taylor left Carnegie Mellon and launched a series of companies: Cellomics, high content screening, is now part of ThermoFisher; Cellumen, early safety assessment, is now part of Cyprotex; and Cernostics, a privately held cancer diagnostics company. 

Dr. Taylor returned to academia in 2010 to continue his academic interests which link large-scale cell and tissue profiling with computational and systems biology to optimize drug discovery and diagnostics. He has collaborated with investigators in the UPDDI to develop methods to detect and to quantify biologically relevant heterogeneity in phenotypic assays and in pathology tissue sections. Additionally, he has led a team focused on developing human organs on chips, beginning with the liver, to explore acute and chronic toxicity and to create long-term human models of disease. 

Joseph T. Newsome, D.V.M.

University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Joseph T. Newsome is Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and the Director - Division of Laboratory Animal Resources at the University of Pittsburgh. He also is the Director of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Animal Facility NCI CCSG grant (Ferris). From 2000 - 2012 he was the University of Pittsburgh’s Attending Veterinarian.  

He received a B.Sc. in Microbiology in 1980, Masters in Pathobiology in 1982 working with the research team of Dr. Richard Olson which developed the first vaccine for feline leukemia and obtained a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1986 from the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. For the next ten years he wore multiple hats at Georgetown University in Washington, DC including facility manager, assistant professor of surgery and pathology, and clinical veterinarian overseeing surgery and radiological research support.  He is a diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (1996) He completed a post-doctoral training program in experimental pathobiology (Jenson and Schlegel labs), assisting in the development and validation of the animal models for the team that eventually led to the current Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine.  He is the author or co author of over 65 articles and book chapters.  Recently he coauthored in 2016 discovery of a novel Rat Polyomavirus Rat PyV2. 

During his career, he has been the Principal Investigator (4) or coinvestigator (6) on multiple NCRR/OPIR/NIH funded grants focused on renovations or new construction projects related to vivaria in multiple institutions. He is involved in national and industry level organizations such as ACLAM, APV, AALAS, and AVMA. He currently is a sitting member of the National Academy of Science’ Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources Roundtable Committee. His current focus and expertise are in animal modeling for translational outcomes, microbiome modeling, program management, biosecurity, biocontainment, facility design and operations, and cancer modeling, immunology and viral pathobiology.