Editorial Advisory Board

Editorial Advisory Board

John Counsell

Associate Professor, University College London

Dr John Counsell is an Associate Professor at University College London. His research group engineer novel genetic therapies with functionalities not served by existing technologies. He is actively involved in translation and commercialisation of novel therapies internal and external to UCL, helping to progress novel interventions for a range of diseases with unmet clinical needs.

Richard Harbottle

Head of DNA Vector Research, German Cancer Research Centre

Richard is currently the Principle Investigator and Group Leader of the DNA Vector Research Group at the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) in Heidelberg.

Our research focuses on the development of DNA vector technologies for gene therapy with particular focus on the application of minimally sized scaffold/matrix attachment region (S/MAR) vectors. 

We have recently made a breakthrough in our DNA vector design which allows the application of our vector in stem cells and in primary human cells. For the first time we have generated a DNA vector system which can provide persistent transgene expression in primary human T-Cells without the risk of integration-mediated genotoxicity and we are currently developing a range of novel DNA vectors for anti-tumour immunotherapy.This DNA vector can also be used to genetically modify stem cells and we have recently shown for the first time that we can generate stable mouse embryonic cell lines and can generate transgenic mice from these modified cells.

Chris Mason 

Professor of Cell & Gene Therapy, Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering, University College London

Prof. Chris Mason is a clinician-scientist with over 20 years of cell and gene therapy experience including Full Professor of Regenerative Medicine Bioprocessing at University College London. He has a multidisciplinary track record spanning R&D, clinical medicine, bioprocessing, regulation, healthcare economics, reimbursement and commercialization. He is co-founder of the London Regenerative Medicine Network, trustee of the UK Stem Cell Foundation and on the UK-Israel Science Council. Current SAB appointments include; public and private companies, the UK Cell Therapy Catapult and the Canadian Centre for the Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine. Prof. Mason is a general spokesperson for the cell and gene therapy sector including frequent newspaper, radio and TV interviews plus social media including @Prof_ChrisMason on Twitter.

David W. Salzman 

Chief Executive Officer, Gatehouse Bio

David is the CEO of Gatehouse Bio. He is responsible for leading the scientific vision of the company which was founded based on his discovery of algorithms that identify disease-driving small RNAs which are used as therapeutic targets.

David’s work spans over two decades, where he uncovered many of the functional roles small RNA play in biology, as well as seminal discoveries to the field regarding small RNA biogenesis and characterizing RISC activity. Prior to Gatehouse Bio, David pioneered the creation of gold standard R&D tools including the first two anti-DICER mAbs, and a dual-luciferase reporter assay that’s used to measure small RNA, siRNAand ASO function. He has held leadership roles in startups such as MiraDx, where he managed the development of commercial diagnostics for radiation and immunotherapy response and at Biogen where he was the early translational lead supporting the antisense oligo pipeline including Qualsofy (tofersen) for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. 

David is a Business Advisory Board member of the Harvard Medical School’s Institute for RNA Medicine. David earned a PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Connecticut, and completed a postgraduate fellowship in Therapeutic Radiology and Translational Science at the Yale University School of Medicine.


Jan Thirkettle

Chief Executive Officer, Harness Therapeutics

Jan is the CEO of Harness Therapeutics (formerly Transine Therapeutics), a UK based RNA platform company developing protein-upregulation therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases. He has more than 25 years’ experience of pharmaceutical development and has played a leadership role in the commercialisation of therapeutics across all modalities. Jan joined Harness from Freeline Therapeutics where he was start-up CEO and CDO overseeing establishment of a platform for a novel AAV capsid, and programme management. Prior to this Jan held roles at GSK spanning from Discovery to Manufacturing, latterly establishing the cell/gene therapy platform and playing a pivotal role in the commercialisation of Strimvelis. Jan also serves on the Board for a seed-stage epilepsy gene therapy  startup, currently in stealth mode, and also the Regulatory sub-committee for the American Society of Cell and Gene Therapy.  Jan holds an MA in Chemistry and a DPhil in Biological Chemistry from the University of Oxford.