Scientific Advisory Board

Scientific Advisory Board:

Randall D. Learish, Ph.D.

Randy LearishDr. Learish received his degree in Biology from Westminster College, his Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and did his postdoctoral work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He worked for Promega Corporation until 2008 when he joined Cellular Dynamics International as a senior scientist. He has led projects that include the creation of human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines,  genetic engineering of iPSC lines with lineage specific promoters, differentiation of iPSCs into cardiomyocytes (CM) or neurons, and development of large scale processes to manufacture cells.  He is currently setting up a facility to manufacture dopaminergic neurons in a GMP environment, with the intention of supporting an investigational new drug (IND) application for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.  He and his wife, Lisa, have two children.  Lisa was diagnosed with mosaic NF2 in 2013.  Randy hopes to use his experience in translational research to advance treatment strategies for NF2, and to find a cure.

Marc Otten M.D.

Marc OttenDr. Marc L. Otten earned his medical degree at Cornell University, where he graduated with honors. He completed a neurological surgery internship, residency, and chief residency at the Columbia University Neurological Institute of New York. In addition, he completed a fellowship at the Minimally Invasive Cranial Base Surgery Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, specializing in endoscopic, microsurgical and nonoperative approaches to brain and spinal disorders.

Dr. Otten’s practice is devoted to tumors of the brain, skull base tumors, gliomas, meningiomas, acoustic neuromas, pituitary tumors, craniopharyngiomas, and microvascular decompression (MVD) for trigeminal neuralgia, and hemifacial spasm. He also treats hydrocephalus and neurotrauma.

He uses endoscopy, laser ablation, awake craniotomy, and other specialized techniques to minimize risk to patients with disorders of the brain. He has been published in leading, peer-reviewed journals about his work on noninvasive methods for mapping brain function in patients with brain tumors, which helps maximize tumor resection while maintaining optimum safety.

Lyndi M. Rice, Ph.D.


Dr. Rice graduated with a degree in Biology and Chemistry from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and received her doctorate degree in Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics from the Drexel University College of Medicine.  She completed her post-doctoral training at the Wistar Institute.

Dr. Rice then joined Genesis Biotechnology Group, LLC , where she directed a team of scientists in multiple cancer drug discovery programs that spanned target identification/validation, ultra-high throughput assay development and validation, hit-to-lead and lead optimization, through preclinical development.  More recently, she has moved into the field of gene therapy and worked at the Gene Therapy Program at the University of Pennsylvania where she served as the Director of Analytics.  In that role, she oversaw potency assay development and qualification, all vector release and characterization assay development and qualification, analytical technical transfer to CMO, CTO, and sponsors, stability programs, compatibility studies, and contributed extensively to CMC sections of regulatory filings.  She has recently joined BioMarin Pharmaceuticals where she will contribute to multiple gene therapy programs. Lyndi lives in San Francisco with her husband and daughter and she is committed to advancing research in gene therapy for rare diseases.

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