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
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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).

Grober Baltazar Torres, BS, Research Assistant
Grober, born in Lima, Peru, relocated to San Francisco, California, where he attended City College of San Francisco. Subsequently he attended UC San Diego in La Jolla, California, where he became a member of the MARC and AMGEN Scholar Program, which led to an internship at UC Berkeley. Grober also did laboratory training in the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine in La Jolla. After receiving bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Cell Biology he returned to the San Francisco Bay Area and worked as a Research Assistant for Anacor Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Palo Alto. There he assisted in the evaluation of the effect of the company’s lead discovery compounds on cytokine induction in murine skin to treat skin inflammation associated with skin diseases such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. In 2016, he relocated to Sydney and joined CMRI as a Research Assistant in the Vector and Genome Engineering Facility (VGEF), where he is directly involved in VGEF’s genome engineering projects and development of novel gene editing technologies.

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.

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. 
Matthieu Drouyer, PhD, Research Assistant
Matthieu completed a master’s degree in Vectorology, Gene therapy and Vaccinology at Toulouse, France, in 2014. He earned his PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology with a speciality in Neuroscience from University of Lille, France in 2018, where he worked on the identification of phosphatases regulating Parkinson’s disease related LRRK2 protein. He joined Vector and Genome Engineering Facility (VGEF) at CMRI at the end of 2018.