About Us

Our team is composed of scientists, entrepreneurs, and drug hunters who share a collective vision and passion for profoundly impacting
how we age.

Team

Robin Mansukhani | CEO and Co-Founder

Chan Whiting | CSO

Anil Bhushan | Scientific Founder

Robin Mansukhani is CEO and Co-Founder of Deciduous Therapeutics. Previously, he co-founded and served as President & CEO of Alzeca Biosciences, an Alzheimer’s/CNS diagnostic imaging company which was supported by venture investors and the NIH. He has been an invited speaker both domestically and abroad, including TEDx. Previously Robin has worked in early stage venture capital at The Maple Fund and investment banking at Axiom Capital. In the community, he co-founded BlueStamp Engineering, an intensive, project based engineering program for high school students in NYC, San Francisco, and Palo Alto. He has also served a term in AmeriCorps. Mr. Mansukhani holds a B.S. in Biochemistry from Case Western Reserve University. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, three daughters, and indefatigable dog. He enjoys cooking and exercise, sometimes in that order.

Dr. Anil Bhushan is the scientific founder of Deciduous where his lab was one of the first to show the role of clearing senescent cells in models of Type 1 diabetes. The long-term goal of his research is to understand the role of tissue secretory senescent cells in aging, autoimmunity and metabolic diseases. Recently they showed that pancreatic beta cells acquire a secretome in T1D in both mice and humans and exhibit many non-cell autonomous properties. Subsequently they have identified key immune cells that can selectively eliminate senescent beta cells to halt progression of beta cell destruction to prevent T1D in mouse models. They now utilize immune modulatory targets to identify new drugs that specifically eliminate secretory senescent cells in humans.

Dr. Chan Whiting serves as the Chief Scientific Officer at Deciduous. With a deep background in immunology and drug development, Dr. Whiting brings over twenty years of leadership experience in the biotechnology industry. She has broad therapeutic domain expertise, including aging, infectious diseases, inflammation, autoimmunity, and oncology. She is most adept at building and leading R&D teams, steering them through the all stages of discovery, translational research, IND-enabling to clinical phase of development.

In her previous role as Chief Development Officer and Head of R&D at Actym Therapeutics, Dr. Whiting was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the company’s novel microbial cellular therapy, bringing it closer to clinical trial of patients with highly immunosuppressive cancers. Prior to Actym, she held the position of Senior Vice President and Head of R&D at Tempest Therapeutics (TPST), where she advanced multiple programs from discovery to Phase 1 clinical trials. Before Tempest, Dr. Whiting served as Director at Aduro Biotech. There, she led the Department of Immune Monitoring and Biomarker Development and was the project team leader (PTL) for the personalized medicine program (neo-antigen vaccine). Her efforts in forging strategic partnerships and incorporating cutting-edge technologies greatly enhanced several clinical programs involving small molecules, monoclonal antibodies, and vaccines in oncology. Earlier in her career, she served as scientist and PTL in building novel systems biology computational platforms and appling them toward drug target identification and validation using at Entelos, Inc. and Ingenuity Systems (Qiagen).

Dr. Whiting earned her B.S. in Biochemistry and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Immunology from UCLA. She completed her postdoctoral studies in inflammation and autoimmunity at Tularik and Stanford University.

Tony Desbien | Director, Immunology

Vishal Sharma | Chief of Staff

Nadia Khan | Senior Research Scientist

Immunologist leveraging 14 years of industry experience and basic immunology to evaluate novel immune-based therapies for cancer, autoimmunity, and infectious diseases. Skilled leader and team-contributor delivering mechanistic insights to support clinical translation in early Phase I development of immunotherapy programs. Expertise in bridging innate and adaptive immunity, with broad experience in therapeutics including small molecules, adjuvants, protein, and bacterial-based biologics. Leveraging creativity, tenacity and team leadership for drug discovery and development.

Dr. Vishal Sharma serves as the Chief of Staff at Deciduous. As a strategic scientist, Dr. Sharma brings experience ranging from scientific strategy, portfolio strategy, and R&D optimization. His background including work in autoimmunity, oncology, neurodegeneration, and inflammation.

Outside of his professional role, Dr. Sharma actively engages in community service, volunteering with a non-profit organization to provide tax preparation assistance for low-income families and dedicating his time to support the local humane societies. In his leisure time, he finds enjoyment in playing rugby and is currently preparing for his inaugural bodybuilding competition.

Dr. Sharma earned his B.S. in Molecular Biology from The University of Texas at Arlington and a Ph.D. in Immunology from The University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Nadia Khan is a neuroscientist joining Deciduous Therapeutics to explore the therapeutic potential of clearing senescent cells to treat age-related disorders. She received her PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Avtar Roopra's lab and completed her postdoctoral training in Tristan Shuman's lab at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. Nadia's background and experience primarily comes from studying mechanisms of disease pathology in Epilepsy, using a variety of cell, molecular, animal behavior, animal modeling, in vivo imaging and electrophysiology techniques. Nadia comes to Deciduous Therapeutics after working as a Scientist II at CODA Biotherapeutics. She is looking forward to harnessing the power of the immune system to treat human diseases.

Aritra Bhattacharyya | Scientist

Quinn Lyon | Research Associate II

Philippine Alba | Research Associate II

Aritra Bhattacharyya is an immunologist at Deciduous Therapeutics where his team is focused on activating the immune system for clearance of senescent cells in vivo. He has finished his postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco SABRE center before completing his PhD from Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Germany, funded by Jurgen Manchot Stiftung. Both during his PhD and Postdoctoral training, he studied the roles of the myeloid and mesenchymal compartment during various lung diseases such as bacterial pneumonia, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, asthma, and influenza infection.

Quinn Lyon graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a degree in Pharmacology. As a former research technician at the Monell Chemical Senses Center at the University of Pennsylvania, he worked both with drosophila and murine models to investigate chemosensory pathways in the Zhang Lab. Quinn now supports the Deciduous in vivo pharmacology team.

As a research associate II, Philippine supports the in vivo team in therapeutic efficacy studies. Her passion for science began when she served as a biology tutor and undergraduate researcher at Bard College in New York, where she earned a B.A. in Biology. She brings to Deciduous animal handling and sample prep experience gained as a veterinary assistant or technician at the VCA San Francisco Veterinary Specialists or Explora BioLabs respectively. Philippine was born in France and grew up in California. She has two cats named Hazel and Bagheera.

Kelly Kusche | Research Associate II

Kelly Kusche graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences. After graduating, Kelly worked as a research associate at Gladstone Institutes, where she studied the use of optogenetics to extinguish OCD behaviors in mouse models. She is thrilled to be joining the in vivo research team II at Deciduous to apply and expand her pharmaceutical knowledge and laboratory experience.

Janice Lansita | Toxicology Lead

Matt Duncton | Medicinal Chemistry

Dr. Janice Lansita is a board-certified toxicologist with over 16 years of experience, both in the biopharmaceutical industry and with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As a regulatory toxicologist, she has developed small molecule as well as biologic therapies, including monoclonal antibodies, bispecifics, fusion proteins, cytokines, cell and gene therapies, peptides, enzyme replacement therapies, and DNA/RNA based therapies for a broad range of indications (e.g., rare disease, oncology, neurology, pain, ophthalmology, and immunology). Dr. Lansita has extensive experience in the design, monitoring, and interpretation of nonclinical toxicology studies (GLP and non-GLP) and has authored the nonclinical sections of various regulatory documents, including pre-INDs, INDs/CTAs (>30), Investigator Brochures, annual reports, BLAs/NDAs, and package inserts/product labels for biopharmaceuticals. She has specialized expertise in the nonclinical development of biologic therapeutics, including pharmacologically relevant species selection, immunogenicity, immune-mediated toxicity (e.g., complement activation, anti-drug antibodies, autoimmunity, cytokine-release), surrogate animal models, immunotoxicology endpoints, study design and setting the FIH starting dose (MABEL, HNSTD, NOAEL).

Dr. Matt Duncton has over 20 years of experience in medicinal chemistry with a career working in oncology, immunology, anti-infectives and neuroscience therapeutic areas at companies such as Merck, Vernalis, OSI Pharmaceuticals, ImClone Systems, Renovis, and Rigel Pharmaceuticals. Since 2016, Matt has served as an independent consultant in medicinal chemistry working with small biopharmaceutical organizations, Venture Capital groups and academia. Matt is an author/inventor on more than 90 papers and patents and his work has led to projects advancing in to human clinical trials, such as ARX-1796 (recently licensed to Pfizer), NFX-179 (currently, Phase II), RN-5327 (TRPV1 antagonist; Phase I), and a host of other IND candidates.

Advisors

Laura Deming | Investor & Advisor

Robert Forrester | Board Member

Dylan Morris | Investor & Board Member

When she was 8, Laura Deming realized that we were all going to die of a disease called aging. Ever since, her driving passion has been to slow aging and eliminate age-related disease. She started working in a biogerontology lab when she was 12, and matriculated at MIT when she was 14. At 17, she was one of the youngest 20under20 fellows awarded $100,000 by Peter Thiel to pursue her venture full time. Laura is currently a full-time partner at The Longevity Fund, an early stage venture capital fund backing companies which target the aging process to treat disease, with investments in gene editing, small molecule therapeutics, and novel methods to treat disease.’

Robert Forrester is the co-founder and CXO of EQRx. Robert has over 20 years of experience as the CEO, COO or CFO of both private and public life science companies with Verastem Oncology (NASDAQ: VSTM), Forma Therapeutics (NASDAQ: FMTX), CombinatoRx (NASDAQ: CRXX, now ZLCS) and Coley (NASDAQ: COLY, acquired by Pfizer). Robert was a managing director of the Proprietary Investment Group at MeesPierson, part of the Fortis Group, investing in life science companies. Prior to MeesPierson, Robert worked for the investment banks, Barclays Capital and UBS, in the corporate finance groups undertaking M&A, and public and private finance transactions. Robert started his career as lawyer with Clifford Chance in London and Singapore. Robert has completed approximately $20 billion of transactions and has been involved with five approved products. He holds a LL.B. from Bristol University.

Dylan Morris is a former General Partner in CRV’s Bioengineering practice, and current Managing Partner at Insight Venture Partners. He has led investments in System1 Biosciences, Recursion Pharmaceuticals, 3T Biosciences, and Plexium. He previously invested at Innovation Endeavors, an early-stage venture firm backed by Eric Schmidt, of Google/Alphabet. At IE, Dylan drove investments in several companies operating at the intersection of computing and biology, including Freenome, a CRV portfolio company applying deep learning to liquid biopsy for early cancer detection. Previously, he cofounded Integrated Plasmonics, a venture-backed point-of-care diagnostics startup. Dylan conducted graduate research in Biophysics at Caltech and received an A.B. in Computer Science from Harvard.

Dylan is passionate about accelerating the future of biology. He is excited about opportunities that leverage data to make biological engineering more tractable. He cares deeply about human health and is eager to explore creative ways to stimulate research and hasten the pace of biomedical innovation.

Max Krummel | SAB

Eric Verdin | SAB

Paul Wolters | SAB

For the past 25 years, Max Krummel has used cutting-edge technologies to study the mechanisms that regulate the immune system, making discoveries that have led to numerous critical advances. For instance, while earning his doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley Max Krummel co-invented the first approved immunotherapy for cancer, which has now helped more than a hundred thousand people with cancer. As a graduate student in James Allison's lab, Krummel's work on key checkpoint inhibitors for cancer immunotherapy was instrumental in the 2018 Nobel prize awarded to Allison and Honjo. In 2015 Krummel founded Pionyr Immunotherapeutics, a now clinical-stage company with a diversified pipeline of myeloid targeting therapeutic antibodies. Through a 2020 alliance with Gilead, Pionyr is eligible to receive up to $1.74 billion through the purchase of exclusive options and future milestone payments.

Today, Krummel is an immunologist at the University of California, San Francisco, where he is laying the groundwork for the next generation of research as the co-founder of ImmunoX, an innovative research program that promotes collaboration, communication, and the sharing of data technology and findings across fields, disciplines, and geographies.

Dr. Verdin is the president and chief executive officer of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. A native of Belgium, Dr. Verdin received his Doctorate of Medicine (MD) from the University of Liege and completed additional clinical and research training at Harvard Medical School. He has held faculty positions at the University of Brussels, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Picower Institute for Medical Research. Dr. Verdin is also a professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Verdin studies how metabolism, diet, and small molecules regulate the activity of HDACs and sirtuins, and thereby the aging process and its associated diseases, including Alzheimer’s. He has published more than 210 scientific papers and holds more than 15 patents. He is a highly cited scientist (top 1 percent) and has been recognized for his research with a Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging and a senior scholarship from the Ellison Medical Foundation. He is an elected member of several scientific organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the Association of American Physicians. He also serves on the advisory council of National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Verdin has extensive experience working with biotech companies. He is a founder of Acylin (purchased by Abbvie). He served on the scientific advisory boards of Elixir, Sirtris (purchased by GSK), Calico (Google), and Nokia, and he also served as advisor to Sofinnova Ventures. Dr. Verdin has also worked for several years as a consultant to Novartis, GSK, J&J, Altana, Roche, Pfizer, and other biotech companies.

Dr. Paul J. Wolters specializes in the diagnosis and care of patients with interstitial lung disease, a category of disorders in which scarring of lung tissue affects breathing. Wolters is actively involved in research that aims to better understand the development of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a type of interstitial lung disease. He is director of biological research for the UCSF Interstitial Lung Disease Program. Wolters received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota. He completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of Colorado, and a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at UCSF. He joined UCSF's division of pulmonary and critical care medicine in 1999.

Morris Birnbaum | SAB

Martin Babler | Advisor

Regis Kelly | Advisor

Morris J. Birnbaum, M.D., Ph.D. is a physician-scientist who has led research teams investigating fundamental problems in metabolic regulation and their relevance to chronic disease in both an academic and pharmaceutical setting. Research in his academic laboratory included studies related to understanding insulin signaling and resistance, the regulation of glucose transport and lipid synthesis, and muscle metabolism. Among his scientific contributions, Dr. Birnbaum has credited the cloning of the Glut4 glucose transporter, now recognized as the ultimate target of insulin action in muscle and adipose tissue, demonstrating in vivo that the protein kinase Akt is an obligate intermediate in insulin signaling pathways, and elucidating the control of hepatic lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. In 2014, Dr. Birnbaum accepted a position at Pfizer Inc in Cambridge, MA as Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, initially of the Cardiometabolic and subsequently the Internal Medicine Research Unit, where he was responsible for the discovery and early clinical development of drugs designed to treat metabolic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, heart failure and cachexia. Under his leadership, Pfizer has brought seven novel potential medicines into clinical development.

Dr. Birnbaum earned a Ph.D. and an MD from Brown University and completed an Internal Medicine residency at Barnes Hospital at Washington University in St. Louis followed by postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco and Sloan-Kettering Institute in New York. Dr. Birnbaum has held faculty positions at Harvard Medical School, the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He served as a member of the American Diabetes Association Research Policy Committee and the Board of Directors of Cerevel Therapeutics and currently is on the Editorial Boards of Science Signaling and Cell Metabolism.

Mr. Babler previously served as Principia’s Chief Executive Officer starting in 2011, then as President and Chief Executive Officer between early 2019 and 2020. Principia, founded in 2008, built a portfolio of drugs to treat immune-mediated conditions including multiple sclerosis, pemphigus and immune thrombocytopenia purpura, all currently in Phase 3 trials. Martin Babler joined the company when it started operations in 2011 and led it through several rounds of financing, the IPO, and the acquisition by Sanofi for $3.7 billion.

From 2007 to 2011, Mr. Babler served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Talima Therapeutics. From 1998 to 2007, Mr. Babler held several positions at Genentech, most notably Vice President, Immunology Sales and Marketing. While at Genentech, he also helped build and led the Commercial Development organization and led the Cardiovascular Marketing organization. From 1991 to 1998, Mr. Babler was employed at Eli Lilly and Company in sales management, global marketing, and business development.

Dr. Regis B. Kelly is the Director of one of four California Institutes for Science and Innovation, created by the California Legislature to strengthen the academic foundation of its technology-based industries. QB3 is the only one of the four devoted exclusively to biology and to the life science industries. It is an innovation center made up of over 200 quantitative biologists at three northern California campuses (UCB, UCSC & UCSF) working at the interface of the physical and biological sciences and a team of professionals converting its discoveries into practical benefits for society.

From 2000 to 2004, Dr. Kelly served as Executive Vice Chancellor at the University of California in San Francisco, where his major responsibility was the new Mission Bay campus.

James Peyer | Advisor

Kristen Fortney | Advisor

James Peyer is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Cambrian Bio. He also holds multiple board and executive roles across Cambrian’s pipeline. He has spent his entire life dedicated to the mission of finding ways of preventing people from getting diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s instead of waiting for people to get sick. James was previously Founder and Managing Partner at Apollo Ventures, the first global longevity-focused venture capital firm, investing across the US and Europe. Prior to Apollo, James was a biotech R&D specialist at the New York office of McKinsey & Company, serving major pharmaceutical clients. He earned his PhD in stem cell biology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center as a National Science Foundation Fellow and received his B.A. with special honors from the University of Chicago.

Kristen Fortney is the co-founder and CEO of BioAge, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing a pipeline of treatments to extend healthy lifespan by targeting the molecular causes of aging. The company uses its discovery platform, which combines quantitative analysis of proprietary longitudinal human samples with detailed health records tracking individuals over the lifespan, to map out the key molecular pathways that impact healthy human longevity. By targeting these pathways with a large and mechanistically diverse portfolio of drugs, BioAge is unlocking opportunities to treat and prevent diseases of aging in entirely new ways. Kristen’s scientific background is in aging biology and bioinformatics. She received her PhD in Medical Biophysics from the University of Toronto, followed by postdoctoral training at Stanford University, where she was a fellow of the Ellison Medical Foundation & American Federation for Aging Research.