ACell’s Scientific Advisory Board brings industry expertise and unparalleled guidance from a renowned group of surgeons.

Anthony Atala, M.D.


Dr. Atala is a renowned surgeon, researcher and expert on tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, and stem cell biology. His work focuses on growing and expanding new human tissues and organs to repair or replace diseased tissues and organs.

Dr. Atala is the Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the William Boyce Professor and Chair of the Department of Urology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Dr. Atala currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Tissue Engineering Society, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Bladder Foundation, and is the Scientific Founder and Chairman of the Tengion Scientific Advisory Board. He has also led or served several national professional and government committees, including the National Institutes of Health Bioengineering Consortium. Dr. Atala has received numerous awards and honors, including the U.S. Congress funded Christopher Columbus Foundation Award, bestowed on a living American who is currently working on a discovery that will significantly affect society, and the Scientific American, Research Leader Award, for his contributions to tissue and organ regeneration.

Dr. Atala heads a team of 80 physicians and researchers. Ten applications of technologies developed by Dr. Atala have been used clinically. Dr. Atala serves on the Editorial Board of 8 medical journals, and is an Editor-in-Chief or Senior Editor of 6, including the journal Rejuvenation Research. He is the editor of five books, has published more than 250 journal articles or book chapters, and has applied for or received over 100 U.S. and international patents.

Alonzo Cook, Ph.D.


Dr. Cook is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Brigham Young University. He has 15 years of industry experience in research and development of tissue engineering and medical devices, primarily in the fields of cardiovascular and orthopedic products. His current research focuses on strategies to decullularize and recellularize hearts for the treatment of cardiovascular failure.

Dr. Cook graduated from BYU with BS and MS degrees in Chemical Engineering, and later received his PhD from MIT, also in Chemical Engineering. Dr. Cook has held positions at Johnson & Johnson, Semprus BioSciences Corporation, and W.L. Gore & Associates. He is also an author on numerous peer-reviewed publications and an inventor on 4 issued patents.

Jennifer Elisseeff, Ph.D.


Dr. Elisseeff is the Morton Goldberg Professor and Director of the Translational Tissue Engineering Center at Johns Hopkins Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Wilmer Eye Institute, with appointments in Chemical and Biological Engineering, Materials Science and Orthopedic Surgery. She was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, the National Academy of Inventors, and a Young Global Leader by World Economic Forum.

Dr. Elisseeff received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University and a Ph.D. in medical engineering from the Harvard–MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. Later, she was a Fellow at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Pharmacology Research Associate Program, where she worked in the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. She has published over 200 papers, book chapters, and patent applications and received a number of awards including the Carnegie Young Alumni Award. In 2002 she was named by MIT Technology Review as a top innovator under 35.

Dr. Elisseeff’s research focus is the development of biomaterials for regenerative medicine applications in orthopedics, plastic and reconstructive surgery, and ophthalmology. She is also now investigating the role of Biomaterials-directed Regenerative Immunology and the role of the adaptive immune system in tissue repair. She is committed to the translation of regenerative biomaterials, has founded several companies, and has participated in a number of industry advisory boards.

Alejandro Nieponice, M.D., Ph.D.


Dr. Alejandro Nieponice is currently the director of the Esophageal Institute at Hospital Universitario Fundación Favaloro in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is also a faculty member of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and adjunct research assistant professor of the department of surgery at University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Nieponice got his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at University of Buenos Aires. He joined the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine in 2004. Prior to that, he completed a general surgery residency program in Argentina with focus on esophageal surgery.

In collaboration with Dr. Stephen Badylak, Dr. Blair Jobe and Dr. Adolfo Badaloni, Dr. Nieponice is utilizing ECM derived scaffolds to regenerate esophageal tissue with the aim of decreasing the morbidity and mortality of current surgical procedures. He is also conducting research with other biomaterials to improve healing of gastrointestinal tissue with the aim of decreasing surgical complications. Dr. Nieponice has pioneered the treatment of esophageal reflux with electrical stimulation of lower esophageal sphincter, becoming the first surgeon worldwide to successfully treat a patient with reflux after a sleeve gastrectomy. He has also developed a program of interventional endoscopy for the treatment of early esophageal cancer and achalasia.

Dr. Nieponice’s main goal is to foster clinical translation of novel tissue engineering and minimally invasive approaches, by bridging his surgical and research background. His work has been recognized with more than 40 international abstracts, over 30 peer-reviewed publications, and 4 book chapters. He has served as reviewer for several journals of Surgery, Tissue Engineering, and Biomaterials. The technologies he has been working on with his colleagues led to 3 inventions that are under patenting process. He is currently a member of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS) and the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) and the Argentinean Surgical Society (MAAC).

Kent Sasse, M.D.


Dr. Kent Sasse completed his medical education at the University of California San Francisco. He went on to complete residency training in Surgery at the University of California San Francisco, where he focused on gastrointestinal surgery and physiology. He later completed fellowship training at the Lahey Clinic in Boston, Massachusetts, before relocating to northern Nevada to develop his practice.

Dr. Sasse serves as faculty member at the school of medicine at the University of Nevada – Reno, and in the laboratory in the department of physiology and cell biology. Additionally, Dr. Sasse has published a number of animal, preclinical, and clinical studies using Extracellular Matrix and UBM in wounds and surgical applications.