Spotlight on Our Speakers!


Dr. Esmon is a member of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation where he holds the Lloyd Noble Chair in Cardiovascular Research and is head of the Coagulation Biology Laboratory. He also holds adjunct faculty positions at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. He was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator from 1988 until 2013, when he retired from the Institute. He has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 2002. Dr. Esmon’s research involves the protein C anticoagulant pathway and the impact of its perturbations on the acute inflammatory response such as occurs in severe sepsis. In 2013 Dr. Esmon received the Robert J. and Claire Pasarow Foundation Award in Cardiovascular Research and the ISTH Robert P Grant Medal, and he is an American Heart Association 2014 Distinguished Scientist. Past honors include the E Donnal Thomas Lectureship & Prize (ASH), Established Investigator Award (AHA), MERIT Award (NHLBI), Distinguished Career Award for Contributions to Hemostasis (ISTH), and Edwin Cohn Lecturer, Harvard. He has served on numerous NHLBI advisory councils and is the inventor of several patents which have been licensed and are in development by U.S. companies for diagnosis and treatment of vascular diseases and blood clots. He is an author of over 400 scientific publications.


Edward Geissler is a basic scientist in Transplantation at the University Hospital Regensburg working in three primary fields of interest: immunology, solid organ transplantation and immunosuppressive therapies. His focus is on the understanding and prevention of immunologic rejection of transplanted organs and on immunosuppressive therapies that are used to prevent transplant rejection, especially the side effects of these drugs. He is particularly interested in post-transplant development of cancer, and has made a strong translational research effort through molecular targeting to reduce the threat of posttransplant malignancy. In another effort to reduce the burden immunosuppressive drugs, he is leading an initiative to introduce cellular therapy in transplant recipients.


Silviu Itescu has served on Mesoblast's Board of Directors since the Company's founding in 2004, was Executive Director from 2007, and became Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director in 2011. Prior to founding Mesoblast in 2004, Dr Itescu established an international reputation as a physician scientist in the fields of stem cell biology, autoimmune diseases, organ transplantation, and heart failure. He has been a faculty member of Columbia University in New York, and of Melbourne and Monash universities in Australia. In 2011, Dr Itescu was named BioSpectrum Asia Person of the Year. In 2013, he received the inaugural Key Innovator Award from the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture for his leadership in translational science and clinical medicine in relation to adult stem cell therapy. Dr Itescu has consulted for various international pharmaceutical companies, has been an adviser to biotechnology and health care investor groups, and has served on the board of directors of several publicly listed life sciences companies.


Dr. Kieffer is a professor in the departments of cellular and physiological sciences and surgery at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Kieffer is also enGene's Vice President of Research and a company co-founder. At UBC, Dr. Kieffer oversees the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Medicine, where his team conducts diabetes and obesity research complementary to that of enGene. He is also the head of the UBC Diabetes Research Group. He is a recognized expert in the field of gut endocrine hormones, and is a frequent lecturer on this topic at numerous international scientific conferences. He serves on the editorial board for Physiological Reviews and the Canadian Journal of Diabetes, and is frequently on review committees for several national and international diabetes funding agencies. His academic research programs are supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Networks of Centres of Excellence, the Canadian Diabetes Association, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.


Maria Koulmanda is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Surgery at Harvard and a senior faculty member of the Transplant Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Koulmanda was trained under Prof. Thomas Mandel at the prestigious Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, Australia, before she was recruited to study under Prof. David White at Cambridge University in Cambridge, UK. In 1998 she was recruited to Harvard to establish research labs on the non-obese diabetic mouse model for Type-1 diabetes and non-human primate preclinical studies. Dr. Koulmanda is a Transplant Immunologist and throughout her career, Dr. Koulmanda’s interests are autoimmunity (T1DM) and islet transplant tolerance in both mice and non-human primates. Dr. Koulmanda have led studies in which self-tolerance to islets was successfully restored in new onset frankly diabetic NOD mice in a number of novel treatments including with IL-2/Fc, IL-15Fc + RPM, alpha 1-antitrypsin (AAT) and anti-TNF-α. These studies have proven interesting as clinical trials for Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus and transplant tolerance.


Professor, Pathology & Lab. Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, John D. Lambris, received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 1979. He is the Dr. Ralph and Sallie Weaver Professor of Research Medicine in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Using complement as a model system, Dr. Lambris applies ideas and methods embodied in engineering, computer science, physics, chemistry, biomedicine, and other fields to study the structure and functions of the complement system.

Dr. Lambris’ laboratory contributed to the development of complement-based anti-inflammatory therapeutics through the discovery of the first small-size complement C3 inhibitor, termed Compstatin, which exhibits consistent efficacy for use in a series of in vivo studies and shows great promise for the use in the clinic. His subsequent efforts to develop more potent compstatin analogues have laid the development of a novel platform for peptide-based drug design, integrating both rational and in silico approaches. Dr. Lambris has also contributed in the field of evolutionary immunology by identifying multiple complement genes in fish and the mechanism by which they expand immune recognition and develop a versatile innate immune system to compensate for their weak adaptive immune repertoire.


Prof. Shinichi Matsumoto, MD, PhD, has worked for over 20 years on islet isolation and transplantation in Japan and the US, and has published more than 250 papers in this area. He is a Scientific Advisor to the National Center for Global Health and Medicine, and a director of the Japan IDDM network. His most recent interest has been in the clinical application of porcine islet xenotransplantation. He is a director of Diatranz Otsuka Ltd (DOL), and will present an overview/update on DOL’s clinical trials of encapsulated pig islets.


Chief, Division of Transplantation
Director, Abdominal Transplant Fellowship
Indiana University School of Med.
Clinical Interests:
Pediatric and Adult Liver Transplantation for:

  • Cholangiocarcinoma
  • Alcoholic cirrhosis
  • Biliary cirrhosis
  • Cryptogenic cirrhosis
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hepatomas (selected cases)
  • Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC)
  • Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC)

Research InterestsXenotransplantation


Prof. Gordon Wallace, PhD, is Director of the Intelligent Polymer Research Institute and a world leader in materials science including biomaterials, with more than 700 papers published. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and Laureate Fellow of the Australian Research Council. His recent interests include the application of 3D bio‑printing (the fabrication of 3D structures containing spatially distributed living cells and bioactive molecules) for biomedical purposes. He will present an overview of the progress and challenges in this rapidly developing area.

TSS 2015 Logo