Joshua M. Hare, MD, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Joshua Hare is the Louis Lemberg Professor of Medicine and the founding director of the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute (ISCI) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The Institute has over 60 members, houses 16 independent research groups devoted to basic scientific and translational work in the field of stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine, and operates a FACT accredited cGMP cell production facility. Dr. Hare led the first randomized allogeneic mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) clinical trial for patients with myocardial infarction and is principal investigator of multiple other trials for heart failure and cardiovascular disease. Under his leadership, a large number of investigator-initiated clinical trials of cell-based therapy have been completed and published in top journals.
Dr. Hare has published more than 200 original research articles, editorials, and review articles, and holds five FDA Investigational New Drug applications for cell-based therapy in patients with heart disease and including the first in the United States for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. In June of 2012, Dr. Hare was a founder of Vestion, Inc which was incorporated to commercialize novel cardiac cell therapy formulations.
Dr Hare is the recipient of four active NIH RO1’s and is the PI of the UM National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Cardiac Cell Therapy Trial Network (CCTRN) center; together these awards fund ~$2M in basic and translational research annually. Under his leadership, ISCI has been awarded $10M from the Cornelius Starr Foundation. Dr. Hare recently completed a term as chair of the Cardiac Contractility and Heart Failure study section of the National Institute of Health (NIH), chairs the Stem Cell Working Group of the American Heart Association (AHA), and is Vice Chair of the AHA Basic Cardiovascular Science Council.
Educated at the University of Pennsylvania (1984), Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (1988), The Brigham and Women's Hospital (1994), and Harvard Medical School, he spent 12 years on the faculty at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where he rose to the rank of Professor in 2004 before joining the faculty at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in 2007. Dr. Hare is an elected member of the American Association of Physicians (2011) and the Association of University Cardiologists (2007). Dr. Hare is inventor of eight (two issued) United States patents, and his research discoveries (together with the other founders') underlie the founding of Vestion,Inc.
Alan W. Heldman, MD, Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Heldman graduated from Harvard College (1984) with honors in the History of Science, the University of Alabama School of Medicine (1988), and took training in Internal Medicine (1991), Cardiovascular Disease and Interventional Cardiology (1995) all at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was a faculty member in Interventional Cardiology at Johns Hopkins for another 12 years. In 2007 Dr. Heldman moved to the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine as Professor and Clinical Chief of Cardiology.
Dr. Heldman’s clinical practice specialized in complex and innovative catheter interventions. He performed hundreds of transcatheter valve replacements, hundreds of transendocardial stem cell injection procedures in human clinical trials, and many other structural heart interventions. His research program has centered on transcatheter and minimally invasive approaches to translate biological forces into clinical therapies. He was a member of the first team to produce a drug-coated coronary stent, and he has published extensively on the use of cellular therapeutics to regenerate damaged heart muscle.
Dr. Heldman’s inventions of novel devices for the delivery of therapies to the heart, and inventions in cell therapeutics (together with Dr. Joshua Hare and Dr. Konstantinos Chatzistergos) underlie the founding of Vestion, Inc. in 2012.
Myron L. Weisfeldt, MD, Independent Board Member
Dr. Myron Weisfeldt is the William Osler Professor of Medicine and Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical School. He is also Physician in Chief of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Weisfeldt has broad interests in hemodynamics, cardiovascular aging, and resuscitation from cardiac arrest.
Dr. Weisfeldt received B.A. and M.D. degrees from the Johns Hopkins University. He trained in Cardiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the National Institutes of Health. From 1991 to 2001, he was Chairman of the Department of Medicine and Samuel Bard Professor of Medicine at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Director of the Medical Service at the Columbia Presbyterian Campus of the New York Presbyterian Hospital. From 1975 to 1991, he was Director of the Cardiology Division at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Weisfeldt was Chairman of the Cardiology Advisory Board of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute from 1987 to 1990 and held the position of President of the American Heart Association in 1990.
Dr. Weisfeldt is a member of the Institute of Medicine. His research interests have included heart function, age changes in the heart and circulation, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Nine years ago he was appointed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to be the Study Chair for a large-scale ongoing clinical trials network to conduct randomized definitive trials of devices, drugs and other therapies for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and severe traumatic injury.
Kostas Chatzistergos, PhD , Founding Scientist
Dr. Chatzistergos has been a valuable member of Dr. Joshua Hare’s basic research academic laboratory since 2007. His role has been instrumental for developing the inventions that constitute the basis of Vestion, Inc’s stem cell therapies.
Following his training in Biochemistry, Dr. Chatzistergos obtained his PhD in Anatomic Pathology in 2007 from the University of Ioannina, in Greece. He then moved to United States where, under the supervision of Dr. Hare, he worked in a number of basic research projects for the discovery of novel stem cell therapies for heart regeneration. His work has been presented in numerous scientific conferences in USA and in Europe and is published in more than 16 high-impact peer-reviewed scientific Journals and book chapters (publishes as Hatzistergos, K.E).
Dr. Chatzistergos’s scientific work related to Vestion’s cardiac stem cell therapies has received numerous honors by the American Heart Association. In 2008 AHA Scientific Sessions, he presented in the Melvin Marcus Young Investigator Awards. In 2010, his work was included in the AHA’s Top Ten Research Reports of the Year and, in the same year, it was ranked as the AHA’s 2010 Top Basic Cardiovascular Science Advance. In 2011, Dr Chatzistergos co-authored the winning study of the 2011 AHA Vivien Thomas Young Investigator Award.
Dr. Chatzistergos’s basic research discoveries have helped to formulate the backbone of many of ISCI’s funded research grants and Vestion, Inc.’s product portfolio.