Andrew M. Scharenberg, MD
Seattle Children's Research Institute
What is your current professional status?
Professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Adjunct Professor, Department of Immunology, University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Seattle, WA
Chief Scientific Officer, Cellectis Therapeutics, Paris, France
What is your work setting (i.e. academic institution, government organization (i.e. FDA, NIH, etc.), bio-industry/pharmaceutical company, etc.)
In my academic work, I am affiliated with two academic institutions, the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Research Institute. I run a 10 member laboratory and attend at Seattle Children’s Hospital on the Immunodeficiency Service.
In my role as Chief Science Officer at Cellectis Therapeutics, I am charged with setting the overall strategy for therapeutics development. This role presently involves managing a 16 person group involved in projects ranging from technology development to clinical process scale up.
What is your scientific area of research?
Cell engineering with rare cleaving nucleases.
Why do you want to be a mentor?
As a physician who has dedicated his career to developing cell and gene therapies, I am interested in seeing them make an impact on the practice of medicine. In my view, there is no better way to do this than by helping talented people work in the field. Serving as a mentor provides a venue for helping someone entering cell and gene therapy identify the best opportunities available for their particular background and talents. In addition, building a career in an emerging field, such as cell and gene therapy, involves navigating a variety of challenges. My combined background in both academic and commercial realms of cell and gene therapy has required me to navigate a diverse set of such challenges. Thus, I can offer a very broad perspective on how to develop an interesting and rewarding career, while hopefully avoiding some of the frustrations inherent in working at the cutting edge of technology.
As a mentor, what are you hoping to gain from this experience?
Being a mentor is a great opportunity to get to know a talented scientist I might not otherwise have a chance to meet, and to learn something new from them. I find that I never fail to be inspired by discussions with other interested and motivated investigators, who share a mutual interest in science, and a desire to translate their science into an impact on people (patients!) and society.
How important are the following in the selection of a mentee: (1 – 5 scale, 1 = most important, 5 = least important)
- Compatibility of Scientific Specialties (3 – I think some overlap in interests is important, but does not need to be complete).
- Geographic Location (2 – probably helps to be able to meet in person at least semi-regularly)
- Professional Status / Success (2 – I think it would be hard to effectively mentor someone who I did not perceive as highly motivated to succeed).
- Communication Style (3/4 – I think a variety of communication styles can be effective, and part of being a mentor is providing feedback on exactly this type of issue).
Summarized in a brief paragraph (150 words or less), please provide a biography that describes who you are and what you do in the field of gene and/or cell therapy.
I am an attending physician at Seattle Children’s Hospital; Professor, Department of Pediatrics; and Adjunct Professor, Department of Immunology, University of Washington. At Seattle Children’s Hospital, I serve as attending physician in the Immunodeficiency Clinic and on the inpatient Immunodeficiency service, and provide interpretative services on B-cell immunophenotyping for the Immunology Diagnostic Laboratory. My laboratory at Seattle Children’s Research Institute focuses on the development of technology for genome engineering, with a translational focus on hematopoietic stem cells and T-cells. I also serve as co-director of the Northwest Genome Engineering Consortium, a group of interdisciplinary investigators in the Seattle area working on applications of genome engineering technology for the treatment of inherited diseases and cancer. I am a co-founder of Pregenen, for which I presently serve as a member of the Board of Directors. I also presently serve as Chief Scientific Officer for Cellectis Therapeutics, where I provide strategic direction for therapeutic applications of Cellectis nuclease platforms and manage the Ctx therapeutic team.
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