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Meet Our Faculty

  • Eric D. Adler, MD

    Eric D. Adler, MD

    Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine
    Director, Strauss Center for Cardiomyopathy

    Dr. Adler is a Principal Investigator in clinical trials for all stages of heart failure. He is involved in clinical research examining the use of gene therapy and stem cells for treating heart disease. His lab's focus is on how genetic mutations cause cardiomyopathy. His recent work has been the study of Danon disease, a rare devastating inherited cause of heart failure. 

  • Shyamanga Borooah, MBBS, PhD

    Shyamanga Borooah, MBBS, PhD

    Physician-Scientist, Shiley Eye Institute

    Dr. Borooah has specific expertise in the latest gene therapeutic approaches for ocular disease being the principal investigator on some of the first gene therapy, CRISPR and antisense oligonucleotide clinical trials for eye disease. He has received numerous awards including a Fulbright scholarship for developing translational treatments for eye disease.

  • Stephanie Cherqui, PhD

    Stephanie Cherqui, PhD

    Professor, Department of Pediatrics
    Director, Gene Therapy Initiative

    Dr. Cherqui is recognized for her gene therapy work, specifically in genetic disorders using stem cells. Named as a top academic entrepreneur by BIOS, she's renowned for her contributions to cystinosis research. Currently, she's leading the first stem cell gene therapy clinical trial for cystinosis at UC San Diego.

  • Don Cleveland, PhD

    Don Cleveland, PhD

    Professor, Department of Medicine
    Chair, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
    Dr. Cleveland has made seminal discoveries about cancer genome instability and tau protein involvement in Alzheimer's disease and chronic brain injury. He uncovered mechanisms underlying the major genetic forms of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and developed “designer DNA drugs” for silencing disease-causing genes responsible for diseases of the nervous system, with clinical trials now ongoing in ALS, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s diseases. For his efforts in neurosciences, he has received numerous awards including the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.
  • Chamindra G. Laverty, M.D

    Chamindra G. Laverty, M.D

    Professor, Department of Neurosciences
    Director, Multidisciplinary Neuromuscular Clinics

    Dr. Laverty is a board-certified neurologist specializing in the management and treatment of neuromuscular diseases. She is the Investigator for many clinical trial research studies in various muscular dystrophies at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. Her special interest lies in advancing disease-modifying therapies, such as gene replacement therapy, cell therapy, and anti-sense oligonucleotides for her patients.

  • Marsala Martin, MD

    Marsala Martin, MD

    Professor, Anesthesiology Research Lab


    Dr. Marsala has been the Principal Investigator for numerous NIH-funded projects and has helped develop novel delivery techniques for cell and gene-based therapeutics in treatment of neurological disorders including ALS and FTD. He is renowned for his research in cell-replacement therapy for the treatment of spinal injury, focused on the development and characterization of the potency of spinally-grafted cell grafting.

  • Chris Mason, MD, PhD

    Chris Mason, MD, PhD

    Clinical Professor of Cell and Gene Therapy at University College London

    Dr. Mason is a clinician-scientist with over 30 years of cell and gene therapy experience spanning R&D, clinical medicine, bioprocessing, and business. Dr. Mason was instrumental in founding the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine [ARM] and is a current Board Director. He's also the Senior Editor of ‘Cell and Gene Therapy Insights’ and ‘Regenerative Medicine’ journals.

  • Alysson Muotri, PhD

    Alysson Muotri, PhD

    Professor, Department of Pediatrics
    Co-Director, Gene Therapy Initiative and Stanford Stemcell Institute

    Dr. Muotri leverages stem cells to study the human brain. His achievements include demonstrating the functionality of human stem cell-derived neurons in chimeric mouse brains and creating a global model for neurodevelopmental disorders using stem cells. His work earned him prestigious accolades, such as the NIH Director's New Innovator Award.

  • Farah Sheikh, PhD

    Farah Sheikh, PhD

    Professor, Department of Medicine

     Dr. Sheikh's gene therapy research includes pioneering human-relevant mouse models, uncovering new molecular targets, and designing a gene therapy treatment for arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy, currently in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial with LEXEO Therapeutics Inc. She has launched successful gene therapy start-ups and maintains industry partnerships.

  • Mark H. Tuszynski, MD, PhD

    Mark H. Tuszynski, MD, PhD

    Professor, Department of Medicine
    Director, Center for Neural Repair

    Dr. Tuszynski's research focuses on growth factors & stem cells influencing survival, plasticity, and regeneration in adult central nervous system. In 2001, he led the first clinical trial of gene therapy for a neurological disorder, testing nerve growth factor delivery in Alzheimer's patients. He has won over 20 research awards and authored 300 scientific medical publications.