Our team is composed of scientists, entrepreneurs, and drug hunters who share a collective vision and passion for profoundly impacting
how we age.
Jasmine Denny | Research Associate II
Scott Armstrong | VP of Research
Anil Bhushan | Scientific Founder
Scott Armstrong is an experienced in vivo pharmacologist with a passion for drug discovery and development. He brings over 25 years of research experience across a broad range of therapeutic areas. Most recently, he was the Head of In Vivo Pharmacology at Unity Biotechnology. There, he led the respiratory disease project team while managing a function that was focused on musculoskeletal, ocular and hepatic drug discovery. Prior to Unity, Scott was the founding lab biologist at Theravance Biopharma and spent 19 years in roles of increasing leadership contributing to 10 IND filings and 2 approved drugs (Vibativ®, Yupelri®). In his free time, he enjoys travel, soccer, and Sunday mornings reading the New York Times.
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.
Philippine Alba | Research Associate
Connor Wander | Scientist
Leah Makley | Chief Operating Officer
As a research associate, 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.
Connor Wander, PhD, is a Research Scientist at Deciduous Therapeutics, Inc and a recent graduate from the Pharmacology Department at UNC Chapel Hill. As a co-mentored student between the Cohen and Song Labs at UNC, Connor studied glial biology, adult neurogenesis, and inhibitory neural networks in Alzheimer's Disease. His other scientific interests include the interactions between the environment, genetics, and nutrition in neurodegenerative diseases. Connor also founded Straight from a Scientist, a science education website with podcast episodes and web games on neuroscience, astrophysics, virology, and more. Outside of the sciences, Connor enjoys hobbies such as graphic design, balcony gardening, gaming, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, paintball and caring for his bearded dragons.
Dr. Leah Makley is COO of Deciduous Therapeutics. Previously, she co-founded and served as CSO then CEO of ViewPoint Therapeutics, a venture-backed biotechnology startup developing medical treatments for aging-related protein misfolding diseases of the eye, including cataracts and presbyopia. Leah earned her PhD in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Michigan, where she used biophysical assays to identify, optimize, and characterize small molecule modulators of small heat shock structure and function. In her free time, Leah enjoys baking, painting, and dancing, and prefers to spend as much time outdoors as possible.
Janice Lansita | Toxicology Lead
Rachel Hatano | Chief of Staff
Robin Mansukhani | CEO and Co-Founder
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. Rachel Hatano was one of the first scientists at Deciduous Therapeutics, and established a range of target validation, in vitro screening, and functional characterization bioassay experiments critical to vetting novel immunotherapies. Her current role focuses on enabling the company's operations initiatives. Rachel received her PhD in Bioengineering at University of California, Merced, where she focused on cardiovascular tissue engineering & integrated cellular systems. In addition, Rachel is an advocate/active mentor for minorities in STEM programs in the Bay Area and California central valley.
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.
Jack Galloway | Senior Research Associate
Aritra Bhattacharyya | Scientist
Kelly Kusche | Research Associate
Jack Galloway supports all of Deciduous’ in vivo experiments with his broad range of murine model expertise. As a former research associate at Unity Biotechnology, Jack brings experience in a variety of surgery, tissue collection, and down-stream processing techniques. Prior to his work as a researcher, Jack received a Bachelor of Science in pharmacology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he competed on the varsity track and field team.
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.
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 at Deciduous to apply and expand her pharmaceutical knowledge and laboratory experience.
Matt Duncton | Medicinal Chemistry
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.