Integrated personalized cell technologies for improving health outcomes in children and adults


Photo of Jacques Galipeau

Jacques Galipeau, MD

Jacques Galipeau, M.D. FRCP(C) is the Don and Marilyn Anderson Professor of Oncology within the Department of Medicine and UW Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and is the inaugural Associate Dean for Therapeutics Development at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health

Prior to coming to UW Madison, Dr. Galipeau was at the Winship Cancer Center at Emory University, where he founded the Emory Personalized Immunotherapy Center and launched clinical trials of MSC-based treatments for Crohn’s disease and graft versus host disease (GVHD), a life-threatening complication of bone marrow transplant. Prior to this, he was a faculty member at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He is an internationally recognized expert in translational development of cell therapies and the sponsor of a series of FDA-sanctioned clinical trials examining the use of autologous marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells for immune disorders, including Crohn’s disease and graft vs host disease. Dr. Galipeau has also developed the field of fusion engineered cytokines known as fusokines, as a novel pharmaceutical means of treating immune disorders and cancer. Dr. Galipeau is the director of the University of Wisconsin Advanced Cell Therapy Program whose mission is to develop personalized cell therapies for immune and malignant disorders and to promote and deploy first-in-human clinical trials of UW cell therapy innovations to improve outcomes for children and adults.

Photo of Inga Hoffman

Inga Hofmann, MD
Medical Director

Dr. Hofmann is an associate professor of pediatric hematology, oncology and the Director of Pediatric Stem Cell Transplant program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH). She received her MD degree from Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg, Germany and completed her pediatric residency at the University of California in San Francisco. Dr. Hofmann also completed her clinical fellowship in pediatric hematology and oncology at the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorder Center at Harvard Medical School, and her post-doctoral fellowship in hematopathology and pediatric hematopathology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Boston Children’s Hospital. At Boston Children’s Hospital, she discovered her passion for cell therapy. She became devoted to the rare childhood bone marrow failure and myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Dr.Hofmann created a national registry of patients and their blood samples in the hopes of completing research to help develop treatments for these often fatal diseases.As the Medical Director, Dr. Hofmann manages the interaction between patients, SMPH, American Family Children’s Hospital clinical trials office and PACT as the program manufactures a variety of cell types to conduct first-in-human clinical trials.

Ross O. Meyers, PhD
Director of Cellular Manufacturing

Ross O. Meyers, PhD is the Director of Cell Manufacturing for PACT as of June 2019. Dr. Meyers contributes expertise in GMP Biomanufacturing, drug product quality and stability testing oversight and documentation preparation and review to PACT. He led the Waisman Biomanufacturing Quality Control program operations at UW-Madison from June 2011 to June 2019 and a team of analytical method validation scientists at the Madison, WI PPD GMP laboratories from February 2006 to June 2011.

He received his PhD from the University of Arizona Cancer Center, Tucson, AZ where he was engaged in the Experimental Therapeutics Development program. He gained education, training and experience in the development and validation of novel cancer chemotherapeutic and chemopreventative compounds and drug targets. Dr. Meyers’ Oncology-based doctorate training is interdisciplinary in the areas of Nutrition, Pharmacology/Toxicology and Medicinal Chemistry. His early medical research was at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL in the Protein Chemistry of articular arthritis and cartilage wound injury.

Dr. Meyers adds three decades of technical drug development experience to PACT in the performance, education, training, management and supervision of cell and tissue culture, analytical small molecule, protein and nucleic acid Chemistry, vaccine development, Pharmacology, Medicinal Chemistry, drug target validation, molecular interaction analysis and cell and in vivo-based bioassay development.

Andrea Pennati, PhD
Associate Director, Research & Development

Dr. Pennati has been with the University of Wisconsin – Madison since September 2016, when he transferred from Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to coming to UW Madison, he worked in Dr. Galipeau’s laboratory for five years. Dr. Pennati completed a M.Sc. in Molecular Biology and a Ph.D. in Molecular Cell Biology at the University of Milan, Italy. Before joining the Galipeau lab, Dr. Pennati worked as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Giovanni Gadda at Georgia State University, in Atlanta, Georgia, in mechanistic enzymology of flavin-dependent enzymes. His work in Dr. Galipeau’s lab has included investigating the role of novel engineered fusion cytokines as part of cancer vaccine and cellular immunotherapy strategies. Current studies are aimed at defining the expansion and use of regulatory B cells in the treatment of different autoimmune ailments. With more than a decade of laboratory experience, Dr. Pennati leads translating cell-based research projects into clinical investigations by developing, standardized and establishing cellular processing protocols for use in cellular therapies.

Kimberly McDowell, MD, PhD
Director, Regulatory Affairs

Kim McDowell, PhD is the Director of Regulatory Affairs as of July 2019. Dr. McDowell oversees all things regulatory to ensure rigorous administrative FDA compliance for the PACT program, including crafting and managing Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research investigational new drug (IND) and investigational device exemption (IDE) applications for PACT-sponsored clinical trials and regulatory compliance.

Prior to arriving at PACT, McDowell has been an Associate Scientist in the Department of Pediatrics, where she worked with pediatric hematology/oncology physician-scientists to help translate immunotherapy research findings into investigator-initiated clinical trials. Her contributions include clinical protocol development, numerous IND/IDE submissions to the FDA and biological studies assessing the effect of investigational therapies. In addition, she is engaged in clinical investigation educational activities for research staff, students and fellows.

McDowell earned a PhD in Anatomy and Cell Biology from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, a medical degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine, and a master’s degree in clinical investigation from UW-Madison. She has extensive experience in medicine, research and scientific writing.

Crystal Weinberger, MBA
Program Administrator

A native of Wisconsin, Crystal graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2004 with Bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and Political Science. She completed her Master’s in Business Administration in 2013 from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Her professional experience includes over 15 years of administrative service in the fields of healthcare, nonprofit management and academic medicine.