Founders

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  • Shahin Rafii, M.D.

    Scientific Founder

    Dr. Rafii is the Arthur B. Belfer Professor of Genetic Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Rafii, a board certified hematologist-oncologist, is engaged in basic and translational research as well as patient care. He is the director of the Ansary Stem Cell Institute at Weill Cornell and is a Howard Hughes investigator.

    Dr. Rafii was the first to develop the innovative E4-ORF1 technology to generate abundant stable and functional endothelial cells. He received his M.D. degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine followed by a fellowship in Hematology-Oncology at Weill Cornell.

    He carried out his post-doctoral training in vascular and hematopoietic stem cell biology under the supervision of Dr. Ralph Nachman and Malcolm Moore at Weill Cornell. He is the principal inventor in numerous patents on therapeutic uses of vascular cells for stem cell self-renewal and organ regeneration as well as tumor targeting.

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  • C. Geoffrey Davis, Ph.D.

    Dr. Davis was a founder and the Chief Scientific Officer for Abgenix, Inc. in Fremont, California. He led the development of the XenoMouse technology, which provided the basis for Abgenix to grow from a Cell Genesys spinout and be acquired by Amgen. During this time, he advanced three antibody product candidates into clinical trials and was instrumental in identifying, structuring, and managing over 30 corporate partnerships. To date, these partnerships have resulted in 11 antibody product candidates derived from XenoMouse technology entering clinical trials and two being approved for the market.

    Dr. Davis received his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Francisco and completed his postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Nobel Laureates Joseph L. Goldstein and Michael S. Brown at The University of Texas, Southwestern. Prior to founding Abgenix, Dr. Davis was a faculty member at UCSF, an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Director of Immunology at both Repligen Corporation and Cell Genesys, Inc. He also consults for several biotechnology/pharmaceutical companies and serves on the Board of Directors for four companies.

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  • Jeffrey L. Port, M.D.

    Dr. Port is a Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery and an Attending Surgeon in the Division of Thoracic Surgery at New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center within the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery. Dr. Port earned his medical school degree and also finished his general surgery residency at the New York University School of Medicine. He then completed his cardiothoracic surgical training at Weill Cornell Medical Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where he developed an interest in thoracic oncology, specifically in lung and esophageal cancer. As an Attending Thoracic Surgeon at Weill Cornell Medical Center, Dr. Port specializes in lung and esophageal cancers, mediastinal tumors and Barrett’s Esophagus. He also specializes in the area of minimally invasive thorascopic pulmonary surgery and the treatment of emphysema patients who require lung volume reduction. Dr. Port has authored numerous journals and book chapters on immunotherapy for the treatment of lung and esophageal cancer, as well as the development of vaccines. Dr. Port has an ongoing research collaboration with Dr. Rafii in the area of tumor endothelium and lung regeneration. He is a member of the American College of Surgeons, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Association for Cancer Research, American Association of Thoracic Surgery, and Society for Thoracic Surgeons. Dr. Port is Board Certified in Surgery and Thoracic Surgery. He is also the founder of RF Surgical Systems, Inc., a medical device company with headquarters in Bellevue, Washington and engineering R & D facilities in San Diego, California. Today, RF Surgical Systems is the market leader in retained surgical sponge detection.