Scientific Advisory Board
Don Cohen, PhD
Dr. Don Cohen (Professor) received his PhD in microbiology and immunology from the University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine and performed a postdoctoral fellowship in cellular and cancer immunology at the Medical College of Virginia. He has been a faculty member in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics at the University of Kentucky and a member of the UK Markey Cancer Center for over 30 years, where he has been awarded numerous grants from the NIH and other scientific agencies to investigate the immune responses against cancer and infectious diseases. Dr. Cohen has published over 115 scientific articles on his immunological research efforts. He is also the scientific director of the UK Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting Facility, which provides university researchers with specialized techniques to characterize and purify cancer cells, normal cells and microbes.
Mike Hutchinson, DVM
A leading practitioner in stem cell regeneration, Mike Hutchinson, D.V.M., “Dr. Mike,” is a highly sought after speaker at national and international veterinary conferences on the uses of animal stem cells. He has performed more than 300 Adipose-Derived Stem Cell transplant procedures on dogs and cats, among his 20,000 surgeries in 24 years of practicing veterinary medicine.
Shortly after the terrorism attacks of 9/11, Dr. Mike was trained in the economic consequences of bioterrorism and agro-terrorism through funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He also has co-authored a study on Serotypes of Bovine Astrovirus, published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.
A veteran of more than 250 media interviews, Dr. Mike is a regular guest veterinarian on KDKA-TV’s “Pittsburgh Today Live,” and co-host of “Animal General with Dr. Mike” on KDKA-AM. In 2009, he was presented with the “Rising Star Award” from the Veterinary News Network.
For volunteering his time and experience, Dr. Mike has received awards from breed clubs, the Cat Fanciers’ Association and Pioneers for Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). He was named to an honorary position on the Board of Directors of the prestigious Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary for his work with wildlife, and received a distinguished service award for 12 years of service as veterinarian for the Nassau County, New York Mounted Police Force in Eisenhower Park.
Dr. Mike graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Animal Bioscience, and earned his D.V.M. degree from the Iowa State University School of Veterinary Medicine. Owner of Animal General of Cranberry, near Pittsburgh, he is married and the father of five children.
Mark Weiss, PhD
Since arriving at K-State in 1991, research by Mark Weiss, a professor of anatomy and physiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health.
In the first phase of his research career, Weiss traced the neural pathways involved in blood pressure and fluid regulation using neurotrophic viruses. In response to the discovery by Weiss and colleagues of a novel and inexhaustible source of mesenchymal stromal cells within the umbilical cord, his research focus shifted to stem cell biotechnology in 2003. His lab is currently working on ways to move these umbilical cord cells into clinical trial for graft versus host disease.
In 2010, Weiss produced embryonic stem cells with the intent of using this technology to advance cellular therapy and regenerative medicine. The Weiss lab is working on the mechanisms of pluripotency in embryonic stem cells and the production of induce pluripotent stem cells from mesenchymal stromal cells. The focus of this work is to efficiently produce new models of human disease. This work will develop novel cells or therapies for neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke and spinal cord injury.
Weiss won a Bausch and Lomb Science Medal in 1977 and was invited to participate in a 1984 NATO conference in Italy titled “Physiology of Thirst and Sodium Appetite.” He also was a keynote speaker at the 2001 meeting of the National Physiological Society of Mexico.
He is a founding fellow of the Midwest Institute for Comparative Stem Cell Biotechnology and serves as associate director of the Terry C. Johnson Center for Basic Cancer Research at K-State. He has served as a scientific consultant to stem cell biotechnology start-up companies and stem cell biotechnology advocate groups. Currently, he is a scientific adviser for the Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation.
A fellow of the American Society for Neural Therapy and Repair, Weiss also is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Physiological Society, American Association of Anatomists, International Society for Stem Cell Research, the Society for Neuroscience and the Foundation for Biomedical Research.
He received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and his doctorate in biology from the University of Pennsylvania. Weiss served a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience at Michigan State University. He spent a sabbatical working in the lab of Dr. Mahendra S. Rao at National Institutes of Health in 2003-2004.
John Yannelli, PhD
Dr. John Yannelli (Associate Professor) received his PhD in anatomy from Virginia Commonwealth University and performed a postdoctoral fellowship in cellular and molecular immunology at the University of Virginia Medical School. He rose to division chief of cellular therapeutics in Biotherapeutics, Inc. before becoming Head of the Cellular Immunotherapy Laboratory at the NIH National Cancer Institute. At the NCI, he was a member of a pioneering research team to develop cell-based cancer immunotherapies including the first gene therapies performed in human cancer. Dr. Yannelli has been a faculty member in the UK College of Medicine and a member of the UK Markey Cancer Center for over 20 years where he has performed a number of successful NIH-funded clinical trials in humans with lung cancer. Dr. Yannelli has published nearly 100 articles and book chapters on the immunotherapy of human cancer and continues research to improve immunotherapeutic approaches to treat cancer.