Scientific Advisory Board

Christina Dann

Christina Dann, PhD

Senior Scientist & Team Leader, Cook Regentec

Christina Dann

Christina Dann, PhD

Senior Scientist & Team Leader, Cook Regentec

Christina Dann, PhD, is a Senior Scientist and team leader at Cook Regentec. Regentec is a recently formed company with roots in Cook Medical, sharing with them a desire for helping patients, yet with the vision of developing radically new forms of healing based on harnessing the power of the body’s own cells and tissues. Products and research areas, including human platelet derived stem cell growth supplements and advanced cryopreservation and delivery devices, are aimed at providing research and clinical tools to advance regenerative medicine therapies from the lab to the patient.

Dann began working with Regentec in 2016 and leads a molecular biology research lab at the Brown School campus in Bloomington. The goal of the lab is to probe the cellular and molecular properties of stem cells and to provide mechanistic insights into their biology that will translate to regenerative therapies.

Dr. Dann previously developed an independent research program at Indiana University that used transgenic mouse models, both in vivo and in vitro, to understand the biology of stem cell self-renewal and differentiation in the germ lineage. She completed her post-doctoral work at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and she obtained her PhD in molecular biology and genetics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. She received a BS from the College of William and Mary. A thematic thread that wound through her many research interests over the years was the development and application of novel technologies for manipulating genes and cells to modify organisms. In the future she hopes to take this drive for applied biotechnology development to the next level, applying cell-based biologics to patient needs.

Ruth Gimeno

Ruth Gimeno, PhD

Vice President, Diabetes Research and Clinical Investigation, Eli Lilly and Company

Ruth Gimeno

Ruth Gimeno, PhD

Vice President, Diabetes Research and Clinical Investigation, Eli Lilly and Company

Ruth Gimeno, Ph.D., is Vice President, Diabetes Research and Clinical Investigation, at Eli Lilly and Company, in Indianapolis, Ind. She received undergraduate training in Medicine at the Julius-Maximilians-University in Würzburg, Germany, and obtained a Ph.D. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.

In 1996, Dr. Gimeno joined Millennium Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, initially as a postdoctoral fellow and later as a staff scientist. In 2003, she moved to the metabolic disease group at Wyeth, later Pfizer, before joining Lilly in Indianapolis in 2011. In her current role, Dr. Gimeno is responsible for drug discovery and early clinical development of new therapies for diabetes and diabetic complications at Lilly.

Michael Hiles

Michael Hiles, MSEE, PhD

Vice President for Research & Development, Chief Scientific Officer, Cook Biotech Inc.

Michael Hiles

Michael Hiles, MSEE, PhD

Vice President for Research & Development, Chief Scientific Officer, Cook Biotech Inc.

Michael Hiles is the Vice President for Research & Development and Chief Scientific Officer of Cook Biotech Incorporated, a medical device firm specializing in the development of extracellular matrix technologies for medical purposes. Cook Biotech researches, develops and manufactures surgical implants and topical medical devices from these materials. Hiles was the first employee of Cook Biotech, which now has nearly 200 employees and provided more than 2 million patient treatments worldwide.

Prior to moving to Cook Biotech, Hiles investigated these same materials for vascular grafts, ligaments, and bladder repair as an Associate Research Scholar in the Hillenbrand Biomedical Engineering Center at Purdue University. Before that, he completed his graduate education through the same Biomedical Center. He received his BS and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering from Purdue and his PhD in Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology from the Veterinary Medical School at Purdue. He has published articles on catheter-based medical instrumentation, cardiac fibrillation, pharmacological intervention in acute animal disease, biomaterials, tissue engineering, and biomechanics of soft tissues.

Hiles is an inventor on more than 40 issued or pending patents, serves in an advisory capacity to several industry and academic groups, guest lectures at two academic institutions, and is an Adjunct Professor in both Biomedical Engineering and Veterinary Clinical Sciences at Purdue.

Raghu Mirmira

Raghu Mirmira, MD, PhD

Visiting Research Fellow, Core Laboratories Director

Raghu Mirmira

Raghu Mirmira, MD, PhD

Visiting Research Fellow, Core Laboratories Director

Raghu Mirmira, MD, PhD, was appointed as the first Indiana Research Fellow and interim Scientific Director for IBRI in 2016. Dr. Mirmira also serves as Core Laboratories Director and will oversee the establishment of core facilities or functional areas of research. In these leadership roles, Dr. Mirmira is charged with recruiting additional research scientists, establishing research operations and commencing project work.

Dr. Mirmira also serves as the Director of the IU Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases, one of only 16 NIH funded Centers across the nation. He is the primary investigator for a grant from the NIH Human Islet Research Network (HIRN), the Eli Lilly and Company Chair in Pediatric Diabetes, the Director of the IU School of Medicine’s Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research and the Director of the NIH funded IU Medical Scientist Training Program for combined MD, PhD students. Dr. Mirmira is also the associate editor of several leading top tier journals in the field and a member of the editorial boards for several others, chairs the NIH NIDDK B study section, and has been a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation since 2010.

Dr. Mirmira received his Bachelor's, MD, and PhD degrees from the University of Chicago. Dr. Mirmira served his medical residency and subspecialty training in diabetes and endocrinology at the University of California at San Francisco, where he studied how insulin-producing beta cells form during development in the embryo, and received the Physician Postdoctoral Fellowship Award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a Research Career Award from the National Institutes of Health for his work. Dr. Mirmira was one of only nine medical researchers in the country – and the only diabetes researcher – to receive the Discovery Health Channel Medical Honors Award.

Dr. Mirmira serves as a member of the Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases B Subcommittee of the Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Initial Review Group, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health.

Aaron Schacht

Aaron Schacht

Vice President of Global Research and Development/Regulatory Affairs, Elanco Animal Health, Inc.

Aaron Schacht

Aaron Schacht

Vice President of Global Research and Development/Regulatory Affairs, Elanco Animal Health, Inc.

Aaron Schacht is currently the Vice President of Global Research and Development / Regulatory Affairs at Elanco Animal Health. Previously, he held the role of Global Brand Development Leader-Pain in Eli Lilly and Company Biomedicines.  He was the global leader for product development and commercialization activities for LY2951742 – Lilly’s novel CGRP neutralizing antibody – a new potential treatment for prevention of Migraine and Cluster Headache.  In 2012, Schacht joined Lilly Biomedicines as Senior Advisor – Strategy & Business Development for Lilly BioMedicines.  His responsibilities included oversight of Therapeutic Strategy development, R&D Portfolio Management, and Business Development for Lilly BioMedicines – Lilly’s largest business unit. 

Past roles included serving as Executive Director, Global External R&D, at Lilly, where he was responsible for implementation of strategies which aim to leverage novel approaches to external partnerships to augment Lilly’s access to pharmaceutical innovation as well as Executive Director of LRL (Lilly Research Labs) Strategy, Portfolio Management and Project Management where he was responsible for strategic planning, R&D portfolio and project management.  Prior to these roles, he was Director, Innovation Center in the eLilly organization where he focused on the exploration, incubation and implementation of new business models and capabilities relevant to the strategic evolution of the pharmaceutical industry.  In 2002, during a short leave from Lilly, Mr. Schacht was c-founder, President and CEO of Artesian Therapeutics, a Gaithersburg, Md., cardiovascular drug discovery start-up.

Previously, Mr. Schacht held roles as Managing Director of Lilly University, Director of Knowledge Management, and Manager of Strategy and Productivity for Discovery Research.

Mr. Schacht began his career at Lilly in 1990 as a medicinal chemist, and spent five years in the laboratory working to discover pharmaceuticals to treat cardiovascular disorders.  He studied Organic Chemistry at the University of Illinois, receiving his Bachelors of Science degree in 1990.

Anantha Shekhar

Anantha Shekhar, MD, PhD

Associate Vice President of Research for University Clinical Affairs

Anantha Shekhar

Anantha Shekhar, MD, PhD

Associate Vice President of Research for University Clinical Affairs

Anantha Shekhar, MD, PhD, a nationally recognized researcher at Indiana University School of Medicine and director of Indiana’s largest statewide research organization leads the IU School of Medicine’s research enterprise.

Dr. Shekhar holds several leadership posts at IU and IU Health and was named executive associate dean for research affairs in August 2015, overseeing all research-related activities at the IU School of Medicine. He is one of six executive associate deans who make up the school’s executive leadership team with Dean Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD.

Dr. Shekhar is the founding director of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (Indiana CTSI), a statewide institute within Indiana University School of Medicine, supported by a CTSA grant from the US National Institutes of Health and established in 2008 as a joint partnership of Indiana University, Purdue University, the University of Notre Dame and numerous life sciences businesses and community organizations. The Institute’s mission is to assist in the rapid translation of new discoveries into novel treatments.

In addition to his roles with the Indiana CTSI and IU School of Medicine, Dr. Shekhar is the Associate Vice President for University Affairs, Indiana University; Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs for Clinical Research, IU Health; August M. Watanabe Professor of Medical Research, Professor of Psychiatry, Neurobiology and Pharmacology & Toxicology at IU School of Medicine.

Alan Wright

Alan Wright, MD, MPH

Chief Medical Officer, Roche Diagnostics Corporation

Alan Wright

Alan Wright, MD, MPH

Chief Medical Officer, Roche Diagnostics Corporation

As the Chief Medical Officer for Roche Diagnostics Corporation, Dr. Alan Wright serves as the company’s clinical spokesperson and lead counsel on policy and the practice of diagnostic medicine.

With an extensive background in the managed care, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, Dr. Wright is well-versed in the changing landscape of healthcare, including emerging trends and technologies, regulatory and legislative hurdles, payer challenges and the growing relevance of diagnostics with the advent of outcome-based reimbursement.

Dr. Wright serves as the clinical partner to Roche customers by managing investigator-initiated and Roche-sponsored studies, scientific consulting, advisory boards, PACE and CEU education, and on-site applications lab, Visiting Scientist Program and Fellows Program. By cultivating relationships with other industry thought leaders, Dr. Wright helps align Roche’s diagnostic development with the company’s focus in infectious disease, cardiology, oncology, women’s health, inflammation and blood screening.

Dr. Wright has vast medical and scientific leadership experience from his work at Miraca Life Sciences, Caris Life Sciences, Star Pharmaceuticals, Caremark, Inc. and AdvancePCS. He earned his medical degree from University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Hygiene.