Dennis Clegg PhD

University of California Santa Barbara
Dr. Clegg earned his BS degree in biochemistry at UC Davis and his PhD in biochemistry at UC Berkeley, where he used emerging methods in recombinant DNA to study the sensory transduction systems of bacteria. As a Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Scholar at UCSF, he studied neural development and regeneration. He has continued this avenue of research since joining the UCSB faculty, with studies of extracellular matrix and integrin function in the developing eye. His current emphasis is in stem cell research, with a focus on developing therapies for ocular disease. Dr. Clegg is the recipient of the UCSB Distinguished Teaching Award in the Physical Sciences, the UCSB Community Affairs Board Award, the National Eye Institute Audacious Goals award, and served as Chair of the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from 2004-2009. He has been a Frontiers of Vision Research Lecturer at the National Eye Institute, a Keynote Lecturer at the Stem Cells World Congress, and a TEDx speaker. He is founder and Co-Director of the UCSB Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering, and serves on advisory boards for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the National Institutes of Health Center for Regenerative Medicine. He is a Co-Principal Investigator of The California Project to Cure Blindness, a multi-disciplinary effort to develop a stem cell therapy for Age-Related Macular Degenerations. Please visit: Dennis Clegg for more information

Chunnian Zhao PhD

California State University Channel Islands
Dr. Chunnian Zhao was born in China, where her education began. She earned a B.A. in Biochemistry from Amoy University, followed by a MS in Biochemistry from Peking University Medical College. She pursued a PhD in Biochemistry from Zurich University, Switzerland, obtaining it in 2002. She did her post-doctoral studies on molecular mechanisms of mental disorders at University of Toronto in 2003, and joined Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope as a research fellow in 2006, following her passion for stem cell research. Currently, she is a faculty member at California State University, Channel Islands and has developed five of the six required courses for the Biotechnology and Bioinformatics Master’s program with an Emphasis in Stem Cell Technology and Laboratory Management. Her research encompasses epigenetic regulation of neurogenesis, molecular regulation of neural stem cells and brain tumor stem cells, and cell-based therapy of neurodegenerative diseases using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell technology. Her research results have been published in Nature Molecular and Structural Biology (NMSB), Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and Scientific Reports.

Scott Fraser PhD

University of Southern California
Dr. Fraser has a long-standing commitment to quantitative biology, applying the tools of chemistry, engineering, and physics to problems in biology and medicine. His personal research centers on imaging and molecular analyses of intact biological systems, with an emphasis on early development, organogenesis, and medical diagnostics. After training in physics (BS, Harvey Mudd College, 1976) and biophysics (PhD, Johns Hopkins University, 1979), he joined the faculty at UC Irvine, and rose through the ranks to become Chair of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics. In 1990 he moved to Caltech to serve as the Anna L. Rosen Professor of Biology, and the Director of the Biological Imaging Center. He is deeply committed to interdisciplinary training and translational research, having helped found the Caltech Brain Imaging Center and the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience, as well as serving as the Director of the Rosen Center for Biological Engineering. In Fall 2012, he moved to USC to take a Provost Professorship in the Dornsife College of Letters Arts and Sciences, the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Keck School of Medicine and the Viterbi School of Engineering. He remains active in interdisciplinary research and serves as the Director of Science Initiatives for the USC campuses. Please visit: Scott Fraser for more information

Esther Krook-Magnuson PhD

University of California Irvine
Dr. Krook-Magnuson is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. Ivan Soltesz laboratory at University of California, Irvine. Dr. Soltesz’s lab is interested in how brain cells communicate with each other and how the communication changes after fever-induced seizures in early childhood and after head injury. There general goal is to understand how neuronal networks function and dysfunction, in order to discover new therapies to prevent epilepsy. Dr. Krook-Magnuson’s specific interest is in the diversity of inhibition in neuronal networks, including mechanisms of inhibition, cell type specificity, and interactions between networks. Her current projects use optogenetics to study epilepsy. Please visit: for further information

Nader Pouratian MD PhD

University of California Los Angeles
Dr. Pouratian's primary neurosurgical interest is in surgeries that preserve and restore functional to patients, including movement disorder surgeries, surgeries for psychiatric conditions, and surgeries for peripheral nerve injuries and tumors. In order to do these surgeries, Dr. Pouratian uses advanced neuroimaging and brain and nerve mapping techniques, including functional MRI, cortical stimulation mapping, electrocorticographic (ECoG) mapping, optical imaging of intrinsic signals, and intraoperative EMG and nerve conduction studies.

Dr. Pouratian's research focuses on further developing these mapping tools in order to expand the surgical indications and to develop new therapies for functional preservation and restoration. He is particularly interested in studying brain mapping signals to develop brain-computer interfaces to help patients with severe motor and language disabilities. Please visit Nader Pouratian for further information

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