Scientific Advisory Board


Doug Melton, PhD

Doug Melton, PhD, is the Scientific Founder of Semma Therapeutics and a Board Observer. Dr. Melton is the Xander University Professor at Harvard and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. He is Co-Chair of the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. The scientific basis and motivation for Semma was created in Doug’s lab and he teamed up with Robert Millman to found the company. Doug graduated with a B.S. in biology from the University of Illinois then went to Cambridge University as a Marshall Scholar where he earned a B.A. in History and Philosophy of Science and a Ph.D., under Sir John Gurdon, in Molecular Biology at Trinity College, Cambridge University and the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His numerous prizes and awards include the Lounsberry Medal from the National Academy of Sciences and the Joslin Medal. Doug is a founder of Gilead Sciences and Curis. In recognition of his research and advocacy for stem cell research he was chosen as the Scientific American Policy Leader of the Year in 2007 and has twice been named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.



Peter Butler, MD

Dr. Peter Butler's research is focused on abnormal insulin secretion in diabetes, the causes of beta cell death in diabetes and the possibility to foster islet regeneration in humans with diabetes. After obtaining his MD at the University of Birmingham, UK in 1980, Dr. Peter Butler underwent training in internal medicine in Edinburgh and Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK. He then underwent training in Endocrinology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and then at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN where he was also a research fellow. He was then appointed to a clinical faculty position at Mayo Clinic in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. He was also the Associate Director of the General Clinical Research Center and led an NIH funded research program. After six years on the faculty at the Mayo Clinic he was appointed to the Chair of Diabetes at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland where he established the first Clinical Research Center in the UK. He returned to the USA in 1999 when he was appointed to Chief of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension at the University of Southern California moving to the University of California, Los Angeles in 2002. At UCLA, he has established the Larry Hillblom Islet Research Center, a free standing building that houses investigators with a wide range of skills focused on revealing the mechanisms of beta cell loss and potential regeneration in people with type 1 and 2 diabetes. He is director of the LHIRC islet isolation and physiology core. He is also the Chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension. His clinical practice at UCLA focuses on care of patients with diabetes.



Alan Colman, PhD

Dr. Alan Colman, Ph.D. was a Principal Investigator in the A*STAR Institute of Medical Biology and Executive Director of the Singapore Stem Cell Consortium. Dr. Colman's research involve the differentiation of human and mouse embryonic or embryonic-like (induced pluripotential stem cells) stem cells that harbor deleterious mutations known in humans to cause distinctive pathological conditions. From 1987 to March 2002, he served as Research Director of PPL Therapeutics in Edinburgh, UK. From April 2002 to June 1, 2007, he worked for the Singapore-based company, ES Cell International Pte Ltd. (ESI), as its Chief Scientific Officer from April 2002 to February 2005 and Chief Executive Officer from February 1, 2005 to June 1, 2007. He served a series of academic appointments in Oxford and Warwick Universities, where he was a Professor of Biochemistry in the University of Birmingham, UK. The focus of his academic career was the area of eukaryotic protein secretion, with a particular emphasis on the use of frog oocytes and eggs as in vivo test tubes. He has been Chairman and Member of Scientific Advisory Board of VolitionRX Ltd. since October 6, 2011. He has been a Director of VolitionRX Ltd since October 6, 2011. He serves as a Director of Stem-Cell Research at King's College London. He serves as a Member of Scientific Advisory Board at Asterand Bioscience, Inc. Dr. Colman has a BA degree in Biochemistry in Oxford in 1971 and a PhD under John Gurdon, a pioneer of the field of nuclear transfer, at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK in 1974.



Matthias Hebrok, PhD

Matthias Hebrok, Ph.D. is the Hurlbut-Johnson Distinguished Professor in Diabetes Research and the Director of the Diabetes Center at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He received his Diploma degree in Cell Biology from the Albert-Ludwigs University in Freiburg, Germany, performed his PhD thesis at the Max-Planck-Institute for Immunobiology, and conducted his postdoctoral research at HHMI at Harvard University. His laboratory has made seminal contributions to our understanding of how embryonic signals control the fetal development of the pancreas and its insulin-producing beta cells. His recent work has implemented the information gained from these studies to generate functional beta cells from human stem cell populations for cell therapy purposes. In collaboration with colleagues at UCSF, he has also developed differentiation conditions that allow for the generation of functional thymic epithelial cells from human stem cells with the intent of regulating immune responses in autoimmune diseases, including T1D. He is the recipient of several honors and awards, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Scholar Award and the Gerold & Kayla Grodsky Award honoring outstanding scientific contributions to diabetes research. He advises academic Diabetes Centers in the US and previously served on the SAB of several biotech and stem cell companies, including iPierian recently acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb. Dr. Hebrok has served as the Chair of the NIH Cellular Aspects of Diabetes and Obesity (CADO) study section and was a Member of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Diabetes Mellitus Interagency Coordinating Committee (DMICC). He currently is a Member of the Research Advisory Committee for the JDRF.



Allan D. Kirk, MD, PhD, FACS

Allan D. Kirk received his M.D. from Duke University in 1987 and his Ph.D. in Immunology from Duke in 1992. He completed his General Surgery Residency at Duke in 1995 and his multi-organ transplantation fellowship at the University of Wisconsin in 1997. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. From 1997 through 2001 he served as a Commander in the United States Navy and as a Principal Investigator at the Naval Medical Research Center in Bethesda, Maryland. In 1999, he became the inaugural Chief of the NIH intramural Solid Organ Transplant Program. He served as Chief of the Transplantation Surgery Section through 2001 and then joined the NIH faculty as a Senior Investigator and Chief of the NIDDK Transplantation Branch. In 2007 he joined the faculty at Emory University as Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics, and Scientific Director of the Emory Transplant Center. There he also served as Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Surgery. In 2014, he moved to Duke University where he now serves as Chairman of the Department of Surgery, and Surgeon-in-Chief for the Duke University Health System. He has been Principal Investigator on numerous clinical trials including early translational studies with alemtuzumab and costimulation blockade based therapies. He maintains an independently funded laboratory in transplantation immunology and a clinical practice in kidney transplantation. His bibliography contains over 200 scientific manuscripts and book chapters. He serves as Editorial-in-Chief for the American Journal of Transplantation, and is an elected member of the Society of University Surgeons and the American Society of Clinical Investigation.



Camillo Ricordi, MD

Camillo Ricordi is Professor of Surgery and Director of the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI; and the Cell Transplant Program at the University of Miami. Dr. Ricordi and collaborators developed the method for large scale production of human pancreatic islets, and he led the team that performed the first series of successful clinical islet allotransplants to reverse diabetes. The procedure is now used by laboratories performing clinical islet transplants worldwide. Dr. Ricordi was president of the Cell Transplant Society, on the NIH-NIAID Expert Panel on clinical approaches for tolerance induction, on the FDA Biologic Response Modifiers Advisory Committee and on the NIH-NIDDK Strategic Planning Committee. He is currently serving as Chairperson of the NIH funded Clinical Islet Transplantation (CIT) Consortium, which standardized cell manufacturing protocols in North America and Europe and just completed the first multicenter FDA Phase III trial for what could become the first biologically active cell product approved in the US by the FDA. Dr. Ricordi has received numerous honors and awards and was also Knighted by the President of the Republic of Italy. He is currently serving on the editorial boards of CellR4 (Editor-in-Chief; and Cell Transplantation (Co-Editor-in-Chief). In 2013 he was appointed President of the Ri.MED Foundation by the Italian Prime Minister (, one of the largest European investments in Biomedical Research, Biotechnologies and Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Ricordi also served as founding President of The Cure Alliance from 2011-2015, and currently serves as Chairman of the Diabetes Research Institute Federation ( He has authored over 700 scientific publications and 22 awarded patents.



Gordon Weir, MD

Dr. Gordon Weir is the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation Chair at Joslin and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Co-Heads Joslin's Section on Islet Cell and Regenerative Biology. Dr. Weir completed his medical degree at Harvard Medical School and his residency training at University Hospital in Cleveland, OH. Training in endocrinology was obtained at Massachusetts General Hospital. Before coming to Joslin, Dr. Weir was Professor of Medicine at the Medical College of Virginia. When he first came to Joslin, he served as the Center's Medical Director for 9 years, in addition to conducting a broad research program. Dr. Weir is the recipient of numerous honors and serves and has served on the editorial boards of several prestigious journals, including the American Journal of Physiology, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Endocrinology and Transplantation. He served as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Diabetes. He also served as Director of Joslin's NIH-supported Diabetes Endocrinology Research Center and as Head of the Diabetes Program of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. He currently serves as Chairman of the JDRF Encapsulation Consortium.