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Meet the Team

Leadership

Luisa Caetano DaviesLuisa Caetano Davies

Executive Director, UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility​
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Luisa is the Executive Director of the UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility, leading the overall GMP manufacturing operations to support the production of cell-based therapies to be tested for the first time in clinical trials. Her role includes coordination of technology transfer, day-to-day facility operational decision making, the definition of roles and responsibilities for all personnel working in the manufacturing areas as well as the coordination of partner functions, that include Quality Assurance, Facility Operations, Environmental Health and Safety, Finance, UR Flow Core and UR Clinical Microbiology lab. Luisa is responsible for the alignment between product development and manufacturing priorities at the site operations, providing scientific and strategic input for programs with academia and industry, ensuring that the research and development efforts are aligned with the overall manufacturing strategy for clinical trials. Luisa's team building, management, and business development style foster a culture of flexibility, efficiency, effectiveness, and compliance while coaching and leading staff members, promoting collaboration among all team members, partners, and key stakeholders. Luisa provides unique opportunities to train students and leverage their experience by teaching MBI 406: Biomanufacturing course for the Master's program TEAM-BMTD with guest lectures from industry and other cGMP facilities and providing internship opportunities in the GMP Facility.

Stephen DewhurstSteve Dewhurst, PhD
Founding Director and Senior Advisor, UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility​​
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Steve is Vice Dean for Research at the School of Medicine and Dentistry (SMD), and Associate Vice President for Health Sciences Research at the University of Rochester (UR). He co-designed the UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility, and was the PI on the NYSTEM grant which funded its construction. He has over 25 years experience as a molecular virologist, working on both RNA and DNA viruses, with emphasis on HIV and influenza viruses; he also has expertise in viral vector systems. He is a former member of the NIH Recombinant Advisory Committee (RAC), and a current NIH study section member. He connects the UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility with University leadership, and provides input on strategic directions and partnerships involving the facility, including its role in education and training programs at the UR.

cGMP microscopeBrianna Shares, PhD
Biomanufacturing Manager, UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility​​
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Brianna joined the UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility in the summer of 2018 as an intern, became a staff member in April 2019, and in January of 2020 was hired as Manufacturing Manager. In December 2019 she was awarded her PhD in Pathology within the musculoskeletal field deciphering stem cell metabolism in bone. During her time at UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility she has been an invaluable, positive team member in driving forward tech transfers, qualifying methods, developing SOPs, and GMP production. In her new position as Manufacturing Manager she will continue this work and lead the UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility team through GMP training and development of cell-based therapies in Torque Therapeutics' clinical trials

Manufacturing Team

Zack KnowldenZack Knowlden, PhD
Staff Scientist, UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility​
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Zack has an extensive background in immunology having completed his doctorate in the Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology at the University of Rochester. His previous work focused on cellular immune responses in the context of influenza infection and vaccination, as well as in other models of pulmonary inflammation where he developed expertise in tissue culture, flow cytometry and immunological assays. He is currently involved with GMP process development, production, analysis and documentation management of several ongoing immunotherapy projects at the UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility.​

Janice GerloffJanice Gerloff
Tech Associate 2, UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility​​
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Janice joined the UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility in the summer of 2018. Prior to working in the facility, she gained 15 years of experience here at the University of Rochester in the Environmental Medicine and Neuromuscular departments as well as the Cardiovascular Institute. She is adept in culturing and isolating primary cell lines and is proficient in assays such as, ELISA, Flow-cytometry, ICC, IHC, and qPCR. Her current responsibilities at the UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility are, assay qualification and validation, as well as playing a role in the manufacturing of products under GMP environment to be tested for the first time in clinical trials.

Michelle LacagninaMichelle Lacagnina
Tech Associate 2, UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility​
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Michelle previously worked in research here at the University of Rochester for 18 years in the Biomedical Genetics Department. Her skill sets include cell culturing of stem cells, q-PCR, ICC, DNA isolation, western blotting and cloning. At the UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility, Michelle is part of the production team playing a role in the manufacturing of cell-based therapies to be tested in clinical trials in autologous or allogeneic transplants. Michelle work also involves process development, documentation of processes and procedures, analytical characterization and assay qualification.

Brooke BurgessBrooke Burgess
Tech Associate 2, UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility​
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Brooke has been working in research with the University of Rochester since 2016. Prior to being with the cGMP facility, she was working with the University of Rochester in the Neuroscience department where she gained experience in assays such as IHC, Western Blots, Cell culture, siRNA transfection, and adenoviral infection as well as gaining experience in the recordkeeping, and organizational skills necessary to maintain stock and reagents for experiments. Currently, Brooke is responsible for stock management, as well as being part of the production team, playing a role in the production of clinical grade products to be tested in clinical trials.

Wade NarrowWade Narrow
Tech Associate 1, UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility​
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Wade joined the UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility in the Spring of 2019 after gaining 23 years of experience at the University of Rochester. He has developed laboratory experience in the areas of viral vector design and growth, cloning, IHC, Western blotting, primary cell line isolation and tissue culture. His current responsibilities at the UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility involve process development and production of cell-based therapeutics under GMP environmental conditions to be tested in Torque Therapeutics' clinical trials.

Christine MadambaChristine Madamba

Tech Associate 1, UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility​
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Christine joined the UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility in winter of 2019 as part of her TEAM-BMTD practicum and later became a technician in the spring. Prior to being with the cGMP facility, she worked as an assay development intern with Biodesix, Inc. as well as a research assistant at Texas A&M University where she gained experience in DNA isolation and q-PCR. During her internship with UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility, she aided in the qualification of methods. Her current responsibilities involve process development and production of clinical-grade cell-based therapeutics to be tested in Torque Therapeutics’ clinical trials.

Gina Lawyer

Tech Associate 1, UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility​

Mike TiberioMike Tiberio
Technician, UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility​
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Mike has been working in research for more than 16 years. He is an experienced Research Technician in cGMP and GLP environments. At the UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility, he works on tissue culture, producing ESC derived products for pre-clinical trials. Mike’s strengths are problem solving, organization and planning. Previously, he worked at Wyeth Vaccine on vaccine formulation and at Finger Lakes Community College providing technical support for 38 other community colleges for their research projects, where he was involved in all aspects of project management, including supporting student’s research. Mike was honored with Employee Excellence awards and a Distinguished service award at Wyeth Vaccines and Finger Lakes Community College, respectively. Additionally, Mike has extensive experience in genotyping, DNA purification and hybridization assays, protein expression and purification, he is proficient with PCR, ELISA and chromatography, among others.

Quality Management

Carrie BowmanCarrie Bowman
Interim Director, Research Quality and Compliance, UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility​
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Carrie joined the UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility as Quality Associate to provide support in the application of, and commitment to, Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). Carrie has a strong background in cGMP and ISO compliant environments and biomedical/pharmaceutical manufacturing. Her work with corrective and preventive action (CAPA) and internal auditing programs enable her to drive continuous improvement initiatives at the UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility to maintain an effective quality system.

Carrie Bowman

Carrie BowmanChristine Lai-Tsai

Quality Associate, UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility​
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Christine (Quality Christine) joined the UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility in the spring of 2019 as an intern and became Quality Associate in Fall 2019. Christine supports the oversight of quality and ISO compliance regarding US federal regulatory requirements, especially in the areas of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and Good Laboratory Practice (GLP work). Her work with environmental monitoring (EM) and document control programs supports the GMP process system and critical process operations in UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility.  

Finance

Chris BockChris Bock
Finance Liaison, UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility​
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Chris has been working in accounting and finance for over seven years. He has in-depth experience in auditing, financial planning, budgeting and financial advisement. He has been working with the University of Rochester since 2017, in the School of Medicine and Dentistry (SMD) Dean’s Office Finance Department as a Senior Financial Analyst. He holds an Master’s of Business Administration degree in Accounting Management and a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Accounting. His strengths include being an innate problem-solver, analytical skills and being a team player/leader. Chris acts as a financial liaison to the Dean’s office and is in-charge of the major functions of the financial operations of the UofR Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility.