Leadership Team

  • Michael Men, M.D.

    Chairman, ImStem

    Michael co-founded ImStem and has served as the chairman and head of the Board of Directors since our founding. At ImStem, Michael has overseen company operation and is responsible for making major decisions. He worked to form a research team with global talents that led to the development of IMS001 as well as its clearance for clinical trial by the FDA in 2020. IMS001 is believed to be the first human embryonic stem cell derived-mesenchymal stem cell (hES-MSC) based allogeneic cell therapy product accepted for clinical trial by the FDA. Michael has brought his experience and unique vision in clinical medicine and product commercialization into establishing our multi-center research platform that attracted collaborations from numerous universities and clinical centers, with a goal of accelerating the translational process of our product pipelines from research to patients.


    Michael’s involvement with cutting edge medical therapies started when he studied for his medical degree at the Southern Medical University. After graduation, he worked as a physician in Guangdong Provincial People's Hospital. Years of clinical experience has helped build his drive to explore better and more effective therapies to patients in need of help. Michael believes that the best way to achieve more advanced therapies is through investing in innovative scientific research and attracting best talents across science and business. As a founder and angel investor, Michael is a passionate proponent for research and clinical translation of stem cell therapies. Michael is a member of the committee of the 6th China Medicinal Biotech Association and was certified as the Pioneer Fighter of Covid19 Outbreak.

  • Xiaofang Wang, M.D., Ph.D.

    CTO, ImStem

    Dr. Wang is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of ImStem. Dr. Wang is responsible for providing technology strategy, implementing major technical programs and building up company's pipeline. He is in charge of technology development, quality control, and manufacturing development in compliance with all required regulations. 


    Dr. Wang has over 15 years of extensive experience in immunology and stem cell biology. He is a key inventor of the proprietary two-step method in differentiating human embryonic stem cells into mesenchymal stem cells. T-MSCs derived using this method are consistent, well-defined, of preferred biological properties and can also be expanded almost indefinitely, making T-MSCs the ideal off-the-shelf, allogenic stem cell therapy product to treat a wide range of autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases.


    He received his M.D. from Peking University after being admitted into the highly competitive seven-year program in Clinical Medicine. He obtained his PhD degree in Immunology from University of Texas-Houston/MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Wang worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Yale School of Medicine and University of Connecticut’s Stem Cell Institute before he founded ImStem Biotechnology, Inc. and has been awarded multiple stem cell research grants from the State of Connecticut totalling more than 1.3 million dollars.

  • Richard Kim, M.D.

    CMO, ImStem

    Dr. Kim is a clinical trial expert in multiple sclerosis and autoimmune diseases in the United States. He is a board-certified physician who has approximate two decades of executive experience in both clinical development and medical affairs (phase I to IV) with demonstrated accomplishments in a wide range of indications, including multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, restless legs syndrome, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, alcohol use disorder, and post-herpetic neuralgia.


    Before joining ImStem, Dr. Kim was appointed as the CMO and Senior Vice President responsible for Clinical Development and Medical Affairs at XenoPort, where he led the successful relaunch of gabapentin enacarbil (Horizant) for the treatment of Restless Legs Syndrome and Post-herpetic Neuralgia. Additionally, he successfully drove execution of generating positive data with XP23829 in plaque psoriasis, which was later acquired by Dr Reddy's Laboratories. Prior to XenoPort, Dr. Kim served as Vice President for Clinical Development and Head of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Therapeutic Area at Elan Pharmaceuticals. He was a joint program team leader overseeing strategic development and execution of lifecycle management of TYSABRI in multiple sclerosis and Crohn's Disease in the United States. In his previous position at Biogen Idec Inc., he was the Global Medical Director for natalizumab (TYSABRI), responsible for the relaunch of multiple sclerosis (MS) indication in the United States and its global launch in the European Union. Before working for Biogen Idec, Dr. Kim worked as Director for Clinical Development in charge of the cladribine Phase 3 program at EMD Serono, Inc. He began his career as the Medical Director at Purdue Pharma, leading Phase 1 clinical pharmacology studies for buprenorphine transdermal delivery system.


    Dr. Kim earned his M.D. from Tulane University Medical School and a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles. He completed his neurology residency at Stanford University.

  • Ernst Zwikker, CPA

    CFO, ImStem

    Ernst Zwikker is the Chief Financial Officer of ImStem Biotechnology. With more than 25 years of experience in finance and accounting, he is responsible for all aspects of ImStem’s finances, strategic and financial planning, and financial reporting. 


    Before joining ImStem from PureTech Health, Mr. Zwikker served as Vice President, Corporate Controller and was involved in the listing on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Prior to this role, Mr. Zwikker worked as Global Corporate Controller for Candela Medical with responsibility for rebuilding the accounting and financial reporting function. Formerly, Mr. Zwikker had held several roles in external financial reporting, corporate accounting and consolidations for Pfizer, World Fuel Services, and Hitachi.


    In addition, Mr. Zwikker is a CPA who started his career with Arthur Andersen. He holds a master's degree in Accounting from the University of Connecticut.

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    Renhe Xu, M.D., Ph.D.

    Professor Xu is a founder and Scientific Advisor of ImStem. He is currently serving as Associate Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at University of Macau. In the past, he had served as Associate Professor for eight years at the Department of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Director of Stem Cell Institute of University of Connecticut Health Center and senior scientist for seven years at WiCell Research Institute.


    Professor Xu is a world-renowned scientist specializing in stem cell pluripotency and differentiation. He has made several breakthroughs that accelerate the progress in stem cell field. During his time at WiCell institute, Professor Xu established an embryonic stem cell (ES) feeder-free and serum-free culture system, which has become the mainstream cell culture system around the world. He is one of key inventors of ImStem’s T-MSC differentiation technology that is fundamental in making T-MSC into an off the shelf cell therapy product. He has recently developed an advanced method of differentiating pluripotent stem cells into MSCs under 3D spheroid culture conditions and a room temperature storage technology for stem cells. This technology could significantly eliminate restrictions and reduce the cost of stem cell manufacturing, storage and transportation which make stem cell therapy more accessible to patients. Professor Xu has won many awards and prizes, including First Place of Bank of China’s Trophy One Million Dollar Macau Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition; International Research Award of Royan Institute; Connecticut United for Research Excellence (CURE). To date, he has authored over 100 publications and been granted over 10 patents around the globe.


    Professor Xu received his Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo, Japan, followed with postdoctoral trainings at both Bar-Ilan University in Israel and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States. Professor Xu received BM and MA in medical sciences from South China University and Central South University in China, respectively.

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    Young Gie Chung, Ph.D.

    Dr.Chung is the Principle Scientist of ImStem. He is also an assistant professor of the Department of Psychiatry at Yale Medical School. As a world leading scientist and the inventor of somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) technology, he excels in generating genetically matched human embryonic stem cells (hESC) from adult cells. Dr. Chung is the first researcher to successfully create hESC lines via SCNT technology using skin cells from a 35-year-old man and a 75-year-old man in 2004. Until today, Dr. Chung has remained one of very few experts in the world who has high success rates in creating human SCNT cell lines. Recently, Dr. Chung has been exploring the potential clinical benefits of SCNT embryonic stem cells (ESCs) in treating Parkinson’s disease (PD) by injecting ESC differentiated dopamine neurons into the midbrain of monkeys. Dr. Chung holds eight patents for his SCNT technology. His education includes a Ph.D. in Physiology & Cell and Molecular Biology from Colorado State University and a master’s degree in Veterinary Medicine from Chonnam National University in South Korea.

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    David Benjamin Turitz Cox, M.D., Ph.D.

    Dr. Cox is a highly respected physician-scientist with his research focus on genome editing, characterization and mammalian applications of CRISPR systems, as well as exploring genome editing tools at a molecular level. Dr. Cox serves as a Scientific Advisor for his expertise in gene editing technology and its cell therapy applications.


    Dr. Cox received his bachelor’s degree in Biology with honors at Stanford University. Then he was admitted to the Harvard-MIT MD-PhD Program, which is specifically designed for training the next-generation of premier and diverse physician-scientist leaders. He obtained his Ph.D. in Biology from MIT, during which he discovered a gene-editing technology using the CRISPR-Cas 13 system under the supervision of Professor Zhang Feng, a leading figure in the gene-editing. This RNA editing platform allows efficient and precise RNA correction in mammalian cells, which holds great potential in treating genetic diseases. This novel technology was runner-up for Science’s 2017 Breakthrough of the Year and was selected as one of the top technical advances of 2017 by The Scientist. He has filed more than seven patent applications in United States and around the world.


    Dr. Cox received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School and was awarded his research and clinical training fellowship in Hematology/Oncology in the Stanford Translational Investigator Program (TIP). At present, he is a physician at Stanford University.

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    Joel Pachter, Ph.D

    Professor Pachter is an expert in the fields of neuroinflammatory, neurodegenerative and cerebrovascular diseases. His research focuses on the mechanism of homeostasis of the central nervous system (CNS), especially on the blood brain barrier (BBB) of the CNS and alterations and damages in the BBB in neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, AIDS dementia complex and Alzheimer disease. Professor Pachter is a permanent member of the Brain Injuries and Neurovascular Pathologies study section at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and serves as ad hoc reviewer. He is also on the editorial board of Microvascular Research, and currently sits on a study section at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Professor Pachter has been collaborating with ImStem on the mechanism of action of T-MSC in treating multiple sclerosis.


    Professor Pachter received his PhD from the Department of Pharmacology, New York University School of Medicine. Following that, he completed a NIH-sponsored postdoctoral fellowship in the department of Physiological Chemistry at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He serves as Full Professor in the Department of Cell Biology at the University of Connecticut Health Center.

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    Troy Lund M.D., Ph.D

    Dr. Lund is an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics and a faculty member in the Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He also works as a pediatric blood and marrow transplant physician at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital Pediatric Specialty Care Journey Clinic, specializing in treating adrenoleukodystrophy, leukemia and lymphoma.  Dr. Lund’s research interest lies in rare genetic diseases such as the cerebral form of adrenoleukodystrophy (cALD), Hunter syndrome, and Metachromatic Leukodystrophy, the pathophysiological mechanisms of those diseases and the application of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) as a treatment. His particular interest is exploring how an autoimmune reaction may trigger the cALD, the most serious form of adrenoleukodystrophy. He has conducted investigations on one of the largest cohorts of cALD patients who have received HSCT. For his contributions in the medical field, he was recognized as "Top Doctor" in St. Paul Magazine for two consecutive years since 2020. ImStem is currently in collaboration with Dr. Lund on stem cell therapy for cALD.


    Dr. Lund obtained his PhD in Cancer Biology from University of South Florida, Moffitt Cancer Centre. Prior to that, he received his MS in Medical Sciences from School of Medicine at the same university. Dr Lund received his MD and subsequently completed residency in Pediatrics and fellowship in Hematology/Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplantation at University of Minnesota Medical School.

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    Jeffery Cohen M.D.

    Dr. Cohen is an expert in stem cell therapy and one of the top global Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) in multiple sclerosis (MS). He is a certified neurologist and has been working at Cleveland Clinic's Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research for more than 20 years. He is a Director of Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research, a Director of the Clinical Neuroimmunology Fellowship, a Professor at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, and a distinguished member of American Neurological Association. Since joining Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Cohen has designed and conducted a large number of MS clinical trials, such as the Avonex Combination Trial, which is a large multi-center trial to investigate interferon beta-1a in combination with other drugs. Subsequently, he helped design and run one of the Phase 3 trials of the now-approved drug, fingolimod, the first oral treatment approved for MS. Since 2011, Dr. Cohen has been exploring novel cell therapies in treating a more severe form of the disease: progressive MS, completing a Phase I Autologous Mesenchymal Stem Cell (MSC) Transplantation clinical trial in MS. Dr. Cohen has over 180 publications about immunologic, clinical and research aspects of multiple sclerosis.


    Dr. Cohen obtained his bachelor’s degree in Zoology at Connecticut College. He received his M.D. at the Medical School of University of Chicago. Following medical school, he completed his internship, residency, and fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Hongkui Deng Ph.D.

    Professor Deng is a world’s leading cell biologist and is best known for using small chemicals to reprogram adult cells into pluripotent stem cells. Professor Deng was awarded the prestigious Cheung Kong Scholarship and Changjiang Professorship at Peking University in China, and he serves as Director of the Peking University Stem Cell Research Center and a senior investigator at the Center for Life Sciences at Peking University.


    At Peking University, Dr. Deng first worked on the differentiation of human embryonic stem cells into beta cells to treat diabetes. Then he utilized his expertise in infectious diseases during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, conducting research on SARS treatment and vaccine(s). Most recently, Dr. Deng and his collaborator generated CCR5-ablated hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs), which were resistant to the HIV infection, using CRISPR gene-editing technology, and transplanted them into a patient with HIV and leukemia. They have demonstrated, for the first time, the safety of CRISPR-based genome editing in the context of human gene therapy. He won $1.9 million dollars from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges in Global Health for a proposal to use stem cells to create mouse models for testing HIV and hepatitis C vaccines. The journal Nature reported this science breakthrough in its Nature's 10 list of people who mattered in science in 2019.


    Dr. Deng earned his Bachelor’s degree in science from Wuhan University in China. He then received his master’s degree at Shanghai Second Medical College before coming to the United States to enroll in a Ph.D. program in immunology at the University of California, Los Angeles. After graduation, he completed his postdoctoral fellowship at New York University. He had served as the Research Director of the stem cell company ViaCell in Cambridge, Massachusetts and as a Member of Scientific Advisory Board at Stemgent, Inc.