Dr. Shimasaki is co-founder and CEO of Moleculera Labs, a neuroimmunology precision medicine company focused on diagnosing neurologic, psychiatric, and behavioral disorders triggered by an autoimmune response. The company’s testing panel is based on over 20 years of work from Dr. Madeleine Cunningham’s laboratory at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Dr. Shimasaki has been in the biotechnology industry for over 35 years, starting his career at Genentech. As a scientist, businessperson, and serial entrepreneur his work spans all stages of research and development from bench to bedside. His R&D work included epitope mapping for an HIV vaccine, SNP-based genetic breast cancer risk prediction biomarkers, a rapid influenza diagnostic, and therapeutic and biologic products for infectious diseases, neuropsychiatric disorders and noise induced hearing loss. He co-founded several companies and led multiple products through the FDA approval process and is a co-inventor on several patents.
Dr. Shimasaki received his BS in Biochemistry from University of California at Davis, his PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Tulsa, and his MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Business. He is an Adjunct Professor and Senior Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Oklahoma, Price School of Business and teaches biotechnology entrepreneurship. His passion is to help translate scientific and medical discoveries into acutely needed products so that more patients can live healthier lives.
Dr. Cunningham is Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Moleculera Labs. She is the George Lynn Cross Research Professor and the Presbyterian Health Foundation Presidential Professor and Microbiology and Immunology Director, Immunology Training Program University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Dr. Cunningham’s laboratory has studied molecular mimicry, autoimmunity and infection related to inflammatory heart disease for the past 30 years. She has pioneered the development of human mAbs in understanding the pathogenesis of human diseases. Currently her laboratory is focused on translational studies of human diseases, to improve their diagnosis and treatment and determine how infections play a role in autoimmune diseases of the heart and brain. Dr. Cunningham is the director of an NIAID supported Immunology Training Program at the University of Oklahoma for the past 10 years. She has been the recipient of NHLBI Career Development and MERIT Awards and has been funded by NIH for the past 25 years. She is author of over 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals and speaks internationally on the findings of her research.
Dr. Cunningham’s laboratory studies the role of autoimmunity and infection in the pathogenesis of movement and behavioral disorders associated with streptococci, including Sydenham chorea, the neurologic manifestation of rheumatic fever, and pediatric autoimmune neurologic disorder associated with streptococci (PANDAS). Her laboratory identified antibody mediated neuronal cell signaling as the potential basis for choreic movement disorders. Other related movement and neuropsychiatric disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome and Tics are under investigation to determine the presence and role of autoantibodies which may signal in the brain for these diseases.
View Dr. Cunningham’s lab at the University of Oklahoma which focuses on the investigation of molecular mimicry, autoimmunity, and infection.
Mr. Hiller is the CFO of Moleculera Labs. He brings over 45 years of strategic financial and operations experience to the company. He began his career as a certified public accountant with Touche Ross & Co. from 1962 to 1968. Between 1969 and 1993, he served in various corporate financial capacities at several multinational companies. Mr. Hiller was the corporate controller of Elgin National Industries Inc. and Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. and was chief financial officer of Wilkinson Sword, Inc. Mr. Hiller has been a financial consultant to numerous companies since 1994. Mr. Hiller served as Chief Financial Officer for a publicly traded biotechnology company and a genetic-based CLIA laboratory testing for breast cancer risk assessment.
Dr. B. Robert Mozayeni was trained in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology at Yale and at NIH. He has had pre- and post-doctoral Fellowships in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale, and also at NIH where he was a Howard Hughes Research Scholar at LMB/DCBD/NCI and later, Senior Staff Fellow at LMMB/NHLBI/NIH. Editorial board of Infectious Diseases – Surveillance, Prevention and Treatment. Past President of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS).
He is an expert in Translational Medicine, the science and art of advancing medical science safely and efficiently. He is a Fellow of the non-profit Think Lead Innovate Foundation and is a co-founder of the Foundation for the Study of Inflammatory Diseases. He is a Founder of the Foundation for the Study of Inflammatory Diseases to crowd-source medical solutions for complex conditions using existing knowledge, diagnostic methods, and therapies to meet patient needs immediately. He is the Chief Medical Officer of Galaxy Diagnostics, LLC. He is a Board member of the Human-Kind Alliance. Dr. Mozayeni has held admitting privileges (since 1994) on the clinical staff of Suburban Hospital, a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine and an affiliate of the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center.
Dr. Sajo Beqaj is board certified in molecular pathology and genetics and licensed as a Bioanalyst and High Complexity Laboratory Director. He has been practicing as a laboratory director since 2005.
Dr. Beqaj served as a technical director and was part of the initial management team for several well-known laboratories in the clinical lab industry including PathGroup, Nashville, TN; DCL Medical Laboratories, Indianapolis, IN, and Pathology, Inc, Torrance, CA. He is currently serving as off-side CLIA laboratory director for BioCorp Clinical Laboratory, Whittier, CA and Health360 Labs, Garden Grove, CA.
Dr. Beqaj received his Ph.D. in Pathology from Wayne State University Medical School, Detroit, Michigan. He performed his post-doctoral fellowship at Abbott Laboratories from 2001-2003 and with Children’s Hospital and Northwestern University from 2003-2005.
Dr. Beqaj has taught in several academic institutions and has published numerous medical textbook chapters and journal articles. He has served as a principal investigator in clinical trials for several well-known pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies such as Roche HPV Athena, Merck HPV vaccine, BD vaginitis panel, Roche (Vantana) CINtec® Histology clinical trials, and has presented various scientific clinical abstracts and presentations.
He is a member of several medical and scientific associations including the Association of Molecular Pathology, American Association of Clinical Chemistry and the Pan Am Society for Clinical Virology. He has served on a number of clinical laboratory regulatory and scientific committees, and has assisted several laboratories and physicians as a Clinical Laboratory Consultant.