Finding cures for children's genetic diseases

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Our Team

 
Leszek.jpg Leszek Lisowski PhD, MBA, Manager, Vector and Genome Engineering Facility (VGEF)
Leszek [pronounced: Leshek] is a vectorology expert with over 15 years of experience in developing and manufacturing viral vectors for human gene therapy applications. He was born in a small town in Western Poland.  After high school, he received a prestigious Academic Excellence and Leadership Scholarship and enrolled at the University of Bridgeport, Bridgeport, CT, USA where he earned his B.S. in Biology. He subsequently joined a doctorate program at Cornell University in New York, NY. He earned his PhD in Molecular Biology and Genetics from the laboratory of Prof. Michel Sadelain, MD PhD at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), for his work on lentiviral vectors for the treatment of β-thalassemia and assessment of vector toxicity and the risk of insertional oncogenesis.
 
He then joined the laboratory of Prof. Mark A. Kay, MD PhD at the Stanford University School of Medicine, where he performed his postdoctoral training, studying AAV vectors’ evolution via multispecies interbreeding and retargeting of rAAV. He was subsequently recruited by the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, CA where he ran the Gene Transfer, Targeting and Therapeutics Facility (GT3). While in La Jolla, he earned an MBA degree from UC San Diego Rady School of Management and co-founded LogicBio Therapeutics (NASDAQ: LOGC), a gene therapy company. 
 
In October 2015, Leszek was recruited by CMRI to establish and run the Vector and Genome Engineering Facility (VGEF) and to establish his independent research program, the Translational Vectorology Group (TVG). In addition to being Group Leader at CMRI, Leszek is a conjoint Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney and holds the title of Honorary Faculty at University College London (UCL), London, UK. In December 2016, Leszek was awarded the prestigious grant “Kosciuszko” from the Polish Department of Defence and was appointed the title of Visiting Professor at the Military Institute of Hygiene & Epidemiology (MIHE), Biological Threats Identification and Countermeasure Centre in Pulawy, Poland, where he established and heads the Department of Translational Vectorology.

d: +61 2 8865 2818 | Skype: CMRI_VGEF
f: +61 2 8865 2801  | e: llisowski@cmri.org.au
 

Current Members
 

Predrag Kalajdzic, PhD, Research Officer
Predrag received a PhD degree in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from University of Crete in Greece, where he studied insecticide resistance molecular mechanisms using transposon (Minos) based tools for genome insertional mutagenesis. Following his PhD, he worked at the University of Belgrade (Serbia) before moving to Germany in 2013 for postdoctoral studies. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology (Ploen), he started utilizing state of the art CRISPR/Cas technique for genome editing of mammalian cell lines. In 2015, Predrag moved to the Justus Liebig University, Giessen, where he worked on genetic modification of insects for pest control strategy (specifically focusing on Drosophila suzukii and Aedes aegypti), continuing to utilize cutting-edge genome engineering technologies. Starting March 2017, Predrag joined CMRI’s Vector and Genome Engineering Facility (VGEF).

e: pkalajdzic@cmri.org.au
 

Razvan Albu, PhD, Research Officer
Razvan (Raz for short) received his PhD in Biochemistry in 2012 from Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany, where he studied the target sequence recognition mechamism of bacterial the bacterial DNA methyltransferase CcrM, a critical component of the cell division cycle in alpha-proteobacteria. As a postdoctoral researcher at the University of British Columbia (Canada), he used mass spectrometry-based proteomics to study protein aggregates associated with neurodegenerative diseases. In September 2015, Razvan transitioned to the private sector, taking on a Research and Development role in the Department of Molecular Biology Applications at Applied Biological Materials, a biotech startup located in Vancouver, Canada. There he coordinated cloning efforts, designed new expression plasmids and helped design and establish a brand new lab facility for the department. It was here that Razvan attained in-depth knowledge of the cutting edge CRISPR/Cas9 technology, for which he established experimental pipelines for in-house services, oversaw QC of in-house produced Cas9 enzymes and added multiple new products and services. Razvan joined the Vector and Genome Editing Core facility in April 2019.

e:RAlbu@cmri.org.au
 



Maddison Knight, MS, Research Assistant
Maddison earned her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Western Sydney University in 2015. She then went on to complete a Master of Research in protein biochemistry where she investigated the molecular mechanisms of proteins involved in homologous recombination. After completing her studies, Maddison joined VGEF as a Research Assistant in 2018 where she utilises CRISPR gene editing technology to aid in the completion of genome engineering projects.

e: mknight@cmri.org.au


 



Boaz Ng, BS, Research Assistant
Boaz graduated from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) with a Bachelor of Advanced Science majoring in Genetics in 2017. He was awarded a First-Class Honours for his research into the self-assembly mechanisms of the bacterial flagellar motor proteins. He joined VGEF in 2018 bringing his chromatography expertise to support viral vector production workflows. 
 
e: bng@cmri.org.au



 


Deborah Nazareth, MS, Research Assistant
Deborah earned her master’s degree in Molecular Biology from The University of Queensland (UQ) in 2018. She completed her master’s project at the Smiling for Smiddy Cell Cycle Group within Mater Research at the Translational Research Institute (Brisbane), and after graduating continued her work with the same group as a research assistant. During this time Deborah worked on the preclinical development of CHK1 inhibitors against cancers with high level of endogenous replication stress, which was recently published in Molecular Oncology. Deborah joined the Vector and Genome Engineering Facility (VGEF) in 2019, bringing her cellular and molecular biology skills to vector production.
 
e: DNazareth@cmri.org.au


 



Holly Walker, Research Assistant 
Holly graduated with an honours degree in Medical Biotechnology from the University of Wollongong (UOW) in 2018. She completed her honour’s project within the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI) (Wollongong), focussing on the stress-induced release of endoplasmic reticulum chaperones to the cytosol. Holly joined the Vector and Genome Engineering Facility (VGEF) in 2019, bringing her cellular and molecular biology skills to the team.
 
e: HWalker@cmri.org.au


 


Former Team Member:
Kimberley Dilworth, BS, Research Assistant
Grober Baltazar Torres, BS, Research Assistant
Matthieu Drouyer, PhD, Research Officer
Arek Rybicki, MS, Research Assistant
Martin Pagac, PhD, Research Officer