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Dr. Alan Lewis

Chair Scientific Advisory Board - San Diego Operations

Dr. Alan Lewis is currently CEO and Director of DiaVacs, Inc., a private biotechnology company focused on reversing Type 1 Diabetes. From October 2012 to March 2014, Alan was CEO of Medistem, Inc., a public biotechnology company and developer of stem cell therapies that was acquired by Intrexon Corporation. From July 2010 until November 2011, Dr Lewis was Chairman, President and CEO of cancer drug developer Ambit Biosciences, Inc. which was subsequently acquired by Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited. From January 2009 until June 2010, Dr Lewis was President and CEO of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. From February 2006 until December 2008 he was President and CEO of Novocell ( aka Viacyte) a regenerative disease biotechnology company. Prior to that Dr Lewis served as CEO and Director of Signal Pharmaceuticals until its acquisition by Celgene corporation. He was named President of Celgene's Signal Research  Division in San Diego, where he directed its drug discovery programs in oncology and inflammation. He had previously been Vice President of Research of Wyeth in Princeton, NJ. Dr Lewis holds a BSc. in Physiology and Biochemistry from Southampton University and a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Wales in Cardiff and completed his postdoctoral training at Yale University. He is on the board of directors for Biomarin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where he chairs the science and technology committee, and Assembly Biosciences and Scancell.

Dr. Brent Reynolds

Scientific Advisor

Dr. Brent A. Reynolds graduated from the University of Calgary with a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in 1989 and 1994. Dr. Reynolds’ ground breaking discovery of stem cells in the adult mammalian brain overcame a century old dogma that the mature brain did not have the capacity to repair itself. After graduating, Dr. Reynolds co-founded the first neural stem cell company (NeuroSpheres, Ltd.) where he was a Director and VP-Research. In these roles, he developed a strong portfolio in the neural stem cell field developing and patenting protocols related to the application of stem cell technology in brain repair. Today, these patents and technology have been licensed to numerous biotechnology companies that are testing the efficacy in over half a dozen clinical trials for diseases such as spinal cord injury, stroke, ALS and pediatric disorders.  Dr. Reynolds has more than 70 publications including papers in Science, Nature and Cell with several manuscripts receiving over 1000 citations. In addition, he is an inventor on 18 granted US patents and numerous patent applications.

After a brief hiatus, where Dr. Reynolds studied and practiced Chinese Medicine, he returned to industry and assisted in the development and launching of several products in the stem cell field while working in Vancouver, Canada. In 2004 Reynolds returned to academic science as a Professor at the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland, Australia where he continued to refinine the application of neural stem cells for repairing the damaged brain.

From 2008 until the present, Dr. Reynolds' has been at the Dept. of Neurosurgery at the University of Florida, where he is now an Associate Professor.  Here he has focused his efforts on studying aggressive pediatric and adult brain cancer and developing novel translational approaches to combat this lethal disease. Working with a multidisciplinary group of scientists the team is taking the unique approach that cancer can be managed as a chronic disease by applying the principles that have been used in ecology to manage wildlife and pest populations. Based on the lessons learned over the past 80 years by ecologists, the team is focused on using multimodal low toxicity therapeutics to enforcing a stable tumor population that exists below a threshold that has any harmful effects.  He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, an Honorary Professor at the Queensland Brain Institute, Australia and Program Director for StepAhead, Australia. NIH, NHMRC and numerous foundations have funded his lab. 

Dr. Zaihui Zhang

Scientific Advisor, Medicinal Chemistry & Patent Expert

Dr. Zaihui Zhang has over 20 years of experience in medicinal chemistry, drug discovery and development, protein kinases and cancer research. Dr. Zhang has made major contributions to advancing three small molecules from discovery to clinical trial stage. He is a co-author on more than 30 research papers and is a co-inventor of more than 50 patents and patent applications. Dr. Zhang has managed several programs that have been successfully acquired by or partnered with top tier multinational pharmaceutical companies and biotech companies during his tenures as Director or Associate Director of Medicinal Chemistry of Xenon Pharmaceuticals, Active Pass and Kinetek Pharmaceuticals. He brings his expertise in all stages of drug discovery including hit-to-lead, lead optimization, preclinical development, leadership and intellectual property.

Dr. Anna Stratford Chen

Scientific Advisor

Dr. Anna Stratford Chen obtained her PhD from the University of Birmingham, England in 2006 in the field of cancer research specifically focusing on the regulation of gene transcription.  She joined Dr. Sandra Dunn’s team as a post doctoral fellow in 2006, and shortly after was awarded a prestigious Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship. With this funding, she discovered the essential role for RSK in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).  Her research led to 15 publications in leading peer-reviewed cancer research journals, invited reviews and media coverage.  She was subsequently promoted to a Research Associate Staff position in the laboratory where she led several high level projects in collaboration with Dr. Dunn.  In addition, she was an inventor on a patent that describes RSK as a drug target for TNBC. Her seminal research inspired the foundation of PhoenixMD where she now serves as a scientific consultant.

Dr. Emma S. Tomlinson Guns

Scientific Advisor

Dr. Emma Tomlinson Guns is an Associate Professor in the Department of Urologic Sciences, Faculty of Medicine at UBC. She co-directs the Pharmacology and Drug Design Core at the Vancouver Prostate Centre (VPC) and has completed pharmacokinetic analyses for numerous local clinical trials with conventional therapeutics for the treatment of prostate cancer (PCa). Her research group has received >$4 million in research funding during the past 10 years for research focused on several areas pertaining to the development, treatment and progression of PCa and she has published >50 original articles. In conjunction with her core responsibilities at VPC, Dr Guns’ research group recently helped redefine an important resistance phenomena involved in castration resistant progression, i.e. tumour derived steroid formation. Her lab has also more recently developed an interest in microvesicles as conveyors of treatment resistance and cell survival signaling during cancer progression.

Another significant aspect of her research is orientated around the use of natural health products (NHPs) and dietary supplements by prostate cancer patients and, in addition to her being a current board member for the Society for Integrative Oncology (, she is a co-founder and former President (2011-2013) of the Natural Health Products Research Society of Canada ( The concurrent use of NHPs with conventional chemotherapeutics/treatment strategies have been an important focus and interest of her lab - to help patients and caregivers to discern both beneficial and adverse interactions with NHPs. Dr. Guns has served/sits on a number of grant review panels including the US DoD, CCSRI, PCF/Movember UK, CIHR, PCFRC and MSFHR.




Dr. Aru Narendran

Scientific Advisor, Pre-clinical and Clinical Studies

Dr. Aru Narendran has undergraduate and graduate degrees in Biochemistry and Immunology respectively, a PhD in Neuroimmunology and a postdoctoral fellowship training in cancer biology from the Ontario Cancer Institute (OCI). In addition, he has received medical training from McMaster University (MD), Tufts University, Massachusetts (Pediatrics Residency) and the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto (Pediatric Hematology and Oncology fellowship). He is the recipient of a number of awards including the Odile Schweisguth International Prize for pediatric oncology research and the young investigator award from the Children’s oncology group (COG). Dr. Narendran is currently an associate professor of oncology and pediatrics and holds an appointment in the division of pediatric hematology, oncology and transplant at Alberta Children’s Hospital. Amongst his many responsibilities, he directs a laboratory for preclinical and drug discovery studies and phase I clinical trials for novel therapeutics in pediatric cancer. Dr. Narendran also sits on the Research and Ethics Board (REB) for the Calgary Health Region.