Meet Pheast

The foundational research that became Pheast Therapeutics took place in the Weissman Lab, the heart of the Stanford University Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, which Dr. Irv Weissman founded and directed.

This is where our cofounders met and trained in pursuit of scientific discovery. Now, at Pheast, we continue the work of shepherding those discoveries through the clinic and into patient therapies.

Our Leadership

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About Irv Weissman

Dr. Weissman is a Professor of Clinical Investigation in Cancer Research and Professor of Developmental Biology at the Stanford School of Medicine, and previously served as the Director of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. As the first scientist to identify and isolate mammalian blood-forming stem cells in mice, Dr. Weissman is considered the father of hematopoiesis, and is an expert in stem cell biology, cancer stem cells, and macrophage immune checkpoints. Dr. Weissman's lab was also the first to identify, prospectively isolate, and transplant human and murine HSCs. Dr. Weissman has helped found multiple companies, including Forty Seven Inc., which was acquired by Gilead Sciences in March 2020.

Irv Weissman

Cofounder, Scientific Advisor, Board Director
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About Ravi Majeti

Dr. Majeti is the Director of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and is the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology at Stanford Medical School. Dr. Majeti directs a research laboratory that focuses on the molecular characterization and therapeutic targeting of leukemia stem cells in human hematologic disorders, particularly AML, and has published over 120 peer-reviewed articles. Previously, he helped co-found Forty Seven Inc. with Dr. Weissman, and helped develop a humanized anti-CD47 antibody and initiated first-in-human clinical trials. He is a recipient of the Burroughs Wellcome Career Award for Medical Scientists, the New York Stem Cell Foundation Robertson Investigator Award, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Scholar Award.

Ravi Majeti

Cofounder, Scientific Advisor, Board Observer
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About Roy Maute

Dr. Maute is a scientist and biotechnology entrepreneur, and is a co-founder of Pheast Therapeutics. He leads the company as Chief Executive Officer. Prior to Pheast, he led the Translational Science and Biomarker team at Forty Seven Inc. and following acquisition by Gilead Sciences in 2020, continued to support the anti-CD47 magrolimab and anti-SIRPA programs as Biomarker lead. Dr. Maute was also a co-founder of Ab Initio Biotherapeutics, and led the research team as Head of Biology from founding in 2015 until acquisition by Ligand Pharmaceuticals in 2019. He trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Irving Weissman at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Maute received his Ph.D. in genetics from Columbia University and a B.A. in molecular and cell biology from UC Berkeley.

Roy Maute

Cofounder & Chief Executive Officer
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About Amira Barkal

Dr. Barkal is an innovator, entrepreneur, and leader in the field of immuno-oncology, specifically, in the studies of macrophage regulation and function. At Pheast, she advises on research and development strategy for potential therapies. Dr. Barkal is currently a hematology and medical oncology fellow at University of California, San Francisco. She completed a residency in internal medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard Medical School. Prior to starting Pheast, she completed her doctoral thesis in the laboratory of Professor Irving Weissman, studying immune regulatory checkpoints in the setting of cancer. She is a recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein Fellowship of the National Cancer Institute, the Harold M. Weintraub Award, and the Society of Immunotherapy of Cancer Young Investigator Award. Dr. Barkal received an M.D. and Ph.D. in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine from Stanford University School of Medicine.

Amira Barkal

Principal Founder, Chief Development Officer, Board Director
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About Steve Gillis

Dr. Gillis joined ARCH Venture Partners as a Venture Partner in 2005 and became a Managing Director in 2006. He is focused on the evaluation of new life science technologies and on the development and growth of ARCH’s biotechnology portfolio companies. He serves as a Director and/or Chairman of multiple companies within the ARCH ecosystem.

Dr. Gillis was a founder and director of Corixa Corporation and served as CEO from its inception and as its Chairman from 1999 until its acquisition in 2005 by GlaxoSmithKline. Prior to Corixa, Dr. Gillis was a founder and director of Immunex Corporation. From 1981 until his departure in 1994, he served as Immunex’s Director of Research and Development, Chief Scientific Officer, and as CEO of Immunex’s R&D subsidiary. Dr. Gillis was interim CEO of Immunex Corp. following its majority purchase by American Cyanamid Co. and remained a member of the board until 1997. Amgen, Inc. acquired Immunex in 2002.

Dr. Gillis is an immunologist by training with over 300 peer-reviewed publications in the areas of molecular and tumor immunology. He is credited as being a pioneer in the field of cytokines and cytokine receptors, directing the development of multiple marketed products including Leukine, (GM-CSF), Prokine (IL-2) and Enbrel (soluble TNF receptor-Fc fusion protein) as well as the regulatory approval of Bexxar (radiolabeled anti-CD20). Dr. Gillis received a B.A. from Williams College and a Ph.D. from Dartmouth College.

Steve Gillis

Board Director
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About Jacob Vogelstein

Jacob Vogelstein is the Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Catalio Capital Management, LP. He is primarily responsible for managing the firm and for making investments in private breakthrough biomedical technology companies. He serves on the Investment Committee of Catalio’s flagship Nexus strategy and on the firmwide Management Committee.

Jacob currently serves on the Boards of Boost Neuroscience, Blackrock Neurotech, Cage Pharmaceuticals, Iambic Therapeutics, ManaT Bio, Nextpoint and Pheast Therapeutics.

Prior to founding Catalio, he was a General Partner at Camden Partners Holdings, LLC, a private equity firm that spun-out of T. Rowe Price, where he focused on making biomedical technology investments. Earlier in his career, Jacob served on the faculty at Johns Hopkins University, at both the Applied Physics Laboratory and the Whiting School of Engineering.

Jacob has received widespread recognition for his innovative work in biomedical engineering including the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering, which is the highest honor bestowed by the US Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their careers.

Jacob earned his BSc. degree in Bio-Electrical Engineering from Brown University and his Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Jacob Vogelstein

Board Director

Our Investors

Meet the Team

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About Amira Barkal

Amira Barkal is a Clinical Fellow in Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School. She earned her MD and PhD degrees from Stanford University School of Medicine in 2021 as part of the Medical Scientist Training Program, where she led the discovery of CD24 as a novel innate immune checkpoint in cancer. Dr. Barkal is an expert in cancer immune evasion pathways as well as regulators of macrophage function. She is a recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein Fellowship of the National Cancer Institute, the Harold M. Weintraub Award, and the Society of Immunotherapy of Cancer Young Investigator Award.

Amira Barkal

Principal Founder, Chief Development Officer, Board Director
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About Cornelio Balmaceda

Cornelio Balmaceda has more than 25 years of experience handling animals in the biotechnology industry. At Pheast, Cornelio is responsible for the care and observation of animals involved in research studies. Additionally, he assures adherence to industry standards. Prior to Pheast, Cornelio held animal technician positions at Ambys Medicines, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Mousera, and SRI International. As an experienced animal technician, Cornelio is motivated by the promise of helping patients live healthier and longer lives.

Cornelio Balmaceda

Animal Technician
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About Madeleine Beans

Madeleine specializes in the expression, production, and characterization of proteins, with a focus on antibody development. She brings to Pheast a natural sense of curiosity and motivation to solve problems, especially when it comes to protein science and molecules in the laboratory. Madeleine received a bachelor's degree in genetics from the University of California, Davis.

Madeleine Beans

Senior Research Associate, Protein Sciences
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About Grace Blacker

At Pheast, Grace Blacker is a research associate studying the innate immune checkpoints. Prior to joining Pheast, Grace was a California Institute for Regenerative Medicine scholar at Stanford, where she studied in the lab of Dr. Irving Weissman. She researched host-pathogen immune system interactions. Grace received her B.S. in cellular and molecular biology from Humboldt State University.

Grace Blacker

Research Associate II, Biology
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About Rachel Brewer

Rachel Brewer has nearly 10 years of research experience
spanning the fields of stem cell biology and immuno-oncology. At Pheast, Rachel is a senior associate scientist where she studies potential immunotherapy targets. Prior to joining Pheast, Rachel was a life science research professional at Stanford University School of Medicine under the direction of Dr. Weissman. Prior to that, Rachel was a California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) scholar at Stanford University School of Medicine under the direction of Dr. Longaker and Dr. Chan. Rachel has been published in Nature for her work on innate immune checkpoint inhibitors and Cell for her work on the identification and characterization of the human skeletal stem cell. Additionally, she has published protocols on mouse skeletal stem cell isolation. Rachel received a master’s degree in stem cell biology and a bachelor’s in cell and molecular biology from Humboldt State University.

Rachel Brewer

Senior Associate Scientist, Biology
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About John Burg

John has more than a decade of experience in protein biochemistry, structural biology and antibody discovery. At Pheast, John oversees research, data analysis, and project direction for the Protein Sciences team. Prior to joining Pheast, John led a team at Ligand Pharmaceuticals supporting antibody discovery, with a focus on antigen production and validation. Prior to Ligand, he served as Director of Biochemistry at Ab Initio Biotherapeutics, where he led protein biochemistry and molecular pharmacology efforts. John received his postdoctoral training at the Stanford University School of Medicine and his Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

John Burg

Senior Director, Protein Sciences
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About Jen Cao

Jen has over 15 years of experience in cancer research working with small and large molecules. At Pheast, Jen leads the Translational Science team that develops the biomarker strategies to drive the preclinical and clinical development of our investigational cancer therapeutics through all phases of the portfolio. Previously, Jen served as a biomarker scientist at Forty Seven Inc. and Gilead, where she led translational efforts for CD47 and SIRPA clinical programs. Prior to those roles, she worked at Pharmacyclics (AbbVie-Sunnyvale) developing novel therapeutics in the hematology/oncology space. Jen completed her postdoctoral training at Stanford University and received a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Toronto.

Jen Cao

Director, Translational Science
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About Mimi Enea

Mimi Enea has 14 years of office management and executive assistant experience, with eight of those years in the bioscience industry. At Pheast, Mimi is the senior executive assistant to the Chief Executive Officer and the Chief Scientific Officer. Prior to joining Pheast, Mimi was an Executive Assistant and Director of People and Performance at Lagunita Biosciences. She also has experience in public relations and marketing. Mimi Enea received a B.A. in communications from St. Mary’s College of California.

Mimi Enea

Senior Executive Assistant
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About Douglas Faget

Douglas has a background in cancer biology and immuno-oncology and brings an innovative approach to the biology team to advance new immunotherapies. At Pheast, Douglas studies cellular mechanisms and functions in the setting of immuno-oncology. During his postdoctoral training at Washington University in St. Louis, he worked with various mouse models of metastatic and primary breast cancer to investigate the role of stress-induced pathways in the tumor immune microenvironment. Specifically, this study identified a new immunotherapy combination that was effective to treat metastatic breast cancer in mouse models. Douglas received a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Oncology from the Brazilian National Cancer Institute and a bachelor’s degree in Medical Biology from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Douglas Faget

Scientist II, Biology
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About Giovanni Forcina

Giovanni is a glycobiologist with nearly 10 years of experience in cancer cell biology and cell death. At Pheast, Giovanni works on understanding target mechanisms of action and developing strategies to evaluate targets in clinical studies on the translational science team. Prior to joining Pheast, he leveraged rare disease biology to develop new cancer therapeutics at Grace Science. As a postdoctoral fellow and graduate student, Giovanni developed a new method of measuring cell death in populations of cancer cells and uncovered novel signaling pathways that regulate cell death. Giovanni received a Ph.D. in biology from Stanford University and a B.Sc. in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University.

Giovanni Forcina

Scientist II, Translational Science
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About Kartik Gupta

Kartik has more than 10 years of research experience in cell and molecular approaches toward cancer and a passion for mechanism of action studies in oncology. At Pheast, Kartik applies his expertise within the biology team, performing in vitro and in vivo experiments toward the development of macrophage targeted therapies for cancer. Prior to Pheast, he researched common oncology targets using targeted protein activation. Kartik received a Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During this time, Kartik worked on a novel form of cell-death called necroptosis, as well as a form of somatic cell-selection called cell-competition. Kartik also received a M.S. in biotechnology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology from Amity University Noida, India.

Kartik Gupta

Scientist II, Biology
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About Justin Hansen

Justin Hansen has eight years of experience in immune regulatory pathways. At Pheast, he is responsible for screening cellular phagocytosis signals, validating potential therapeutic targets, and exploring new systems to identify cell surface phagocytosis inhibitors. Prior to joining Pheast, Justin was a part of the assay automation team at Vir Biotechnology, where he studied host-pathogen interactions. Prior to Vir, he worked on several initiatives at General Proximity. Specifically, Justin led molecular biology, cell-line engineering, and platform development to solidify screening systems to identify bifunctional molecules that can reactivate mutated transcription factors. Prior to General Proximity, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at Merck where he studied inflammatory proteins in the setting of metabolic diseases. Justin’s research has been published in Cell for his work characterizing host-pathogen interactions in the innate immune system. Justin received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and his B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Notre Dame.

Justin Hansen

Scientist II, Discovery
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About Sheri Haynes

Sheri Haynes has more than 25 years of experience analyzing and implementing financial strategies to improve organizational performance of biotechnology and medical device start-ups. At Pheast, she is responsible for the controllership, financial reporting, and budgeting activities. Prior to joining Pheast, Sheri was a consulting controller at Simplify Medical Inc., where she helped lead the company through an acquisition by NuVasive Inc. Prior to Simplify Medical Inc., she was the consulting controller at PMV Pharmaceuticals Inc., where she developed accounting processes and controls from inception to the initial public offering. Sheri received bachelor’s degrees in accounting and finance from the University of Arizona.

Sheri Haynes

Controller
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About Suzana Kahn

Suzana has 14 years of experience in immuno-oncology research and preclinical drug discovery and development. At Pheast, Suzana manages research initiatives studying immuno-oncology therapeutics. Prior to joining Pheast, Suzana was a senior scientist at Genentech, where she oversaw development, implementation, and execution of clinical biomarker strategies for compounds in the clinical stage. Prior to Genentech, Suzana was at Bristol Myers Squibb, where she led immuno-oncology programs focused on tumor-associated myeloid cells. She completed her postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Irving Weissman at Stanford University. Suzana received a Ph.D. in cancer biology from Sorbonne University in France and B.S. in biomedical sciences from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Suzana Kahn

Senior Director, Biology
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About Pin-Joe Ko

Pin-Joe has more than 10 years of experience in the field of cancer cell biology. At Pheast, Pin-Joe leads the Discovery department to uncover new immuno-oncology targets. Prior to joining Pheast, he worked at SyntheX Inc., where he developed therapeutics for hard-to-drug cancer targets. Pin-Joe received his Ph.D. from Stanford University and his dissertation research characterized a role for protein lipidation in regulating non-apoptotic cell death. He received his B.A. in biology from Columbia University.

Pin-Joe Ko

Senior Scientist II, Discovery
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About Roy Maute

Roy is a scientist and biotechnology entrepreneur, and is a co-founder of Pheast Therapeutics. He leads the company as Chief Executive Officer. Prior to Pheast, he led the Translational Science and Biomarker team at Forty Seven Inc. and following acquisition by Gilead Sciences in 2020, continued to support the anti-CD47 magrolimab and anti-SIRPA programs as Biomarker lead. Roy was also a co-founder of Ab Initio Biotherapeutics, and led the research team as Head of Biology from founding in 2015 until acquisition by Ligand Pharmaceuticals in 2019. He trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Irving Weissman at Stanford University School of Medicine. Roy received his Ph.D. in genetics from Columbia University and a B.A. in molecular and cell biology from UC Berkeley.

Roy Maute

Cofounder & Chief Executive Officer
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About Ivy Nguyen

Ivy brings with her more than 15 years of experience in human resources. At Pheast, Ivy is the Head of Human Resources, where she is a thought partner to leadership, focused on building working relationships, supporting culture and cultivating a growth mindset among the team. Prior to joining Pheast, she led Human Resources activities at Forty Seven Inc., from Series B through IPO and its eventual acquisition by Gilead Sciences. In addition she has supported several life sciences organizations from inception through IPO. Ivy received a B.S. in Business Administration with a focus on Human Resources Management.

Ivy Nguyen

Senior Director, Human Resources
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About Karmen Pantoja

Karmen is a business operations professional with experience in auditing and developing efficient operations. At Pheast, Karmen supports the goal of operational excellence and providing the team with best-in-class tools. Prior to joining Pheast, Karmen has worked with 5+ start-ups, from a dozen to more than 100 employees. She began her operations career in digital marketing supporting the operational growth and scaling of a remote company where she oversaw processes streamlining and creation; alongside executing team culture initiatives. Karmen received bachelors degrees in Political Science and Peace Studies from Chapman University.

Karmen Pantoja

Associate, Operations
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About Shefah Qazi

Shefah has over 14 years of experience in biomedical research, specializing in protein biochemistry and engineering. At Pheast, Shefah leads multiple programs that support the development and validation of our drug candidates. Before Pheast, she was a scientist at Gritstone Bio overseeing peptide-MHC I/II complex production for antibody and vaccine development in the onco-immunology space. Shefah received her post-doctoral training in molecular and cellular biology from Indiana University, a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Montana State University and a B.S. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.

Shefah Qazi

Scientist II, Protein Sciences
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About Moises Rivera

Moises has more than 30 years of experience working in the biotech field including academia and industry. At Pheast, Moises oversees the function, safety, and quality of laboratory equipment and operations. He has worked in the vivarium for over 10 years, then as lab manager in wet lab and operations for more than 20 years. Moises is familiar with laboratory operations, equipment, purchasing, and set up. He has specialized his knowledge in laboratory management at the collegiate level by taking courses in construction technology and is familiar with electrical and building codes and needs.

Moises Rivera

Lab Manager
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About Joseane Sampaio

Joseane has experience in molecular biology, toxicology, and pharmacology. At Pheast, Joseane works with the in vivo studies, researching and developing in vivo models for efficacy and toxicology to be used on drug candidates. In addition to her lab expertise, Joseane practiced as a pharmacist in Brazil with more than eight years of experience in the community setting, management, and compounding. Joseane received a master’s degree in toxicology from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil and a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from URI Erechim in Brazil.

Joseane Sampaio

Senior Research Associate, Biology
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About Tiffany van Londen

Tiffany’s background spans over a decade in healthcare innovation, business development, and user experience design. At Pheast, she orchestrates the company’s operational framework to support strategic development and leads the operations team. Prior to Pheast, Tiffany played pivotal roles at several startups, utilizing her skills in project management, design research, and information architecture across a variety of applications. Her diverse background encompasses roles at Stanford and NYU-X Lab, where her work focused on patient-centered design, specifically focused on the patient journey through radiation oncology. Tiffany holds an M.A. in digital media design for learning from New York University and a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Tiffany van Londen

Senior Manager, Operations
Aditi Bapat

Scientist I, Discovery

Juliet Masumi

Senior Research Associate II, Discovery

Juliet has more than 10 years of research experience spanning the fields of cell and molecular biology and therapeutics. At Pheast, Juliet performs in vitro and in vivo experiments to study novel immuno-oncology targets. Prior to joining Pheast, she worked at Alkahest Inc., where she was helping to develop therapeutics against aging-related diseases. Juliet received a B.S. in Cell and Developmental Biology from California State University, Fullerton.
Ken Dinyarian

IT Manager

Kaleana Plares

Research Associate II, Protein Sciences

Payal Gala

Manager, Drug Product and Formulation

Sarah Fernandes

Director, Project Management

Sarah Fernandes has more than 15 years of experience in scientific research and project management in the biotech industry and academia. At Pheast, Sarah is the director of project management, overseeing multiple initiatives in several departments. Prior to joining Pheast, she held project management positions at MyoKardia, Bristol Myers Squibb and Circle Pharma. In these roles, Sarah supported IND filing and initial drug development of therapies in several therapeutic areas, including cardiovascular, neurology, and oncology. Prior to her roles in project management, she was a research scientist at Gilead Sciences and MyoKardia (acquired by Bristol Myers Squibb). Sarah completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Cardiac Cell Therapy at the University of Washington and received a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Pays de Loire University and a Pharm.D. from Burgundy University, both in France.
Thomas Lopez

Senior Scientist I, Protein Sciences

Seth Ludwig

Scientist II, Protein Sciences

Seth Ludwig has experience in protein engineering and molecular biology. At Pheast, he leads antibody discovery and affinity maturation programs for drug candidate selection. Prior to joining Pheast, Seth studied how multi-specific antibodies alter cell surface receptor trafficking and the pharmacokinetics of atypically glycosylated antibodies. Seth received a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Johns Hopkins University and a B.S. in chemical engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Laura Valenzuela

Senior Research Associate, Discovery

Laura has six years of experience in immuno-oncology research. At Pheast, Laura brings their variety of laboratory experiences to study therapeutic targets. Prior to joining Pheast, they interned at several laboratories and gained experience with research in animals. Laura also has training in the industry setting, working as a research assistant in vaccine studies and immuno-oncology research. Laura received a B.S. in biochemistry and cell biology from University of California, San Diego

Careers

We believe in improving lives, and we’re inspired by those in our families and communities impacted by cancer. Our fundamental purpose is to defy cancer and help patients thrive. If you share this aspirational goal and have the courage to be exceptional and take on the challenges that lay ahead, check out our open positions.

Intrigued? Get in touch

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