Management, Staff & Advisory Board

Management and Staff

Hongwei Yu, PhD

Dr. Yu is Chief Science Officer and a founding member of Progenesis. He is also Professor of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Marshall University. He has an active research program to study the genetic regulation of bacterial biofilms and polysaccharide biosynthesis. Dr. Yu has received funding from NIH, NASA, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and several Biotech companies. Dr. Yu and his former postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Qiu Dongree, have received a U.S. patent and EU patent and have a second pending patent on the use of Pseudomonas to produce alginate. Dr. Yu has authored 21 peer-reviewed papers in research journals. He received his B.Sc. degree in Aquaculture from Ocean University of China in 1983, M.Sc. in Microbiology from University of Alberta in 1990, Ph.D. in Molecular Pathogenesis from University of Calgary in 1994, followed by several years of postdoctoral training in Bacterial Molecular Genetics at the University of Michigan prior to coming to Marshall University.

Brandon Kirby, B.Sc.

Director, Laboratory Operations

Meagan Valentine, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist

Roy Al Ahmar, Ph.D.


Advisory Board

Richard M. Niles, Ph.D.

Dr. Niles is a founding member of Progenesis.  He is also an Emeritus Professor/Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at the Joan C Edwards School of Medicine, Marshall University, Huntington  W, where he also served as Senior Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education.  Dr. Niles has served on and chaired many grant review panels for the NIH, DoD Breast Cancer Research Program and Prostate Cancer Research Program, as well as the American Institute for Cancer Research, a private foundation that funds research on nutrition and cancer.  He is currently the Principal Investigator for Progenesis’ Phase II NIH SBIR awarded grant.  Prior to assuming the Chair of Biochemistry position at Marshall in 1992, he was Professor of Biochemistry at Boston University School of Medicine.  His broad training and experience in Plant Pathology, Microbiology, Biochemistry/Polysaccharide Metabolism, together with his administrative experience, has helped to shape the strategic development plans for Progenesis.

Mary Lake Polan, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Polan received her PhD and MD degrees from Yale University. She was Professor and Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Stanford University School of Medicine until 2005. This was followed by several years as a Visiting Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University School of Medicine. Presently Dr. Polan is Clinical Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Yale University School of Medicine. She has a strong interest in biotechnology and women’s health. Dr. Polan was on the Board of Directors for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals until it was acquired by Pfizer in 2009.  She fostered the development of Quidel Corporation, a California-based diagnostic healthcare manufacturer, and is presently on its Board of Directors.

John Maher, Ph.D.

John is the Vice-President for Research at Marshall University and the Executive Director of the Marshall University Research Corporation. He oversees the operations which provide research and grant development, grant administration, research integrity oversight, compliance services and intellectual property management to Marshall University. Previously, he served as the Executive Director of the Chemical Alliance Zone, a regional economic development coalition, and worked for 21 years in research and development at Union Carbide Corporation, where he served in a broad range of technical and managerial assignments including catalysis research, plant technology support, intellectual property management, capital project execution and new business development. John received his A.B. at Cornell University and his Ph.D. in Organic/Organometallic Chemistry from Harvard University.

Joseph I. Shapiro M.D.

Dr. Joseph I. Shapiro was born in Newark, NJ in 1954. He received a B.A. in Math from the University of Pennsylvania in 1976 and his M.D. from UMDNJ-Rutgers Medical School in 1980. Dr. Shapiro trained in Internal Medicine at Georgetown University Hospital (1980-83) and Nephrology at the University of Colorado (1983-87). He rose through the academic ranks there and moved to the University of Toledo (formerly the Medical College of Ohio) as Professor of Medicine and chief of Nephrology in 1997. He became chairman of Medicine in 1999, serving until 2012 when he became Vice President and Dean of the School of Medicine at Marshall University. Dr. Shapiro has been active as a clinician, teacher and researcher. He has received a number of awards for his scholarship, teaching, research and institutional citizenship including induction into Alpha Omega Alpha, Fellowship in the American College of Physicians, American Society of Nephrology and American Heart Association and the Arnold P. Gold Humanism in Medicine Award.  Dr. Shapiro maintains board certification and has been listed on the various “top doctors” lists including Castle Connelly. During his career, Dr. Shapiro has received more than 40M dollars in funding from the NIH as principal or co-principal investigator and authored more than 250 scientific articles, book chapters and patents. Dr. Shapiro has also been active as an entrepreneur, starting several companies based on his scientific discoveries.

Lake Polan

Mr. Polan was formerly CEO of Allied Logistics a Mid-Atlantic-regional company.  He is presently Chairman of the Board of this company. Mr. Polan is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Huntington Area  Development Council with a special interest in biotechnology.  He provides financial management expertise to Progenesis.

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